• Sport: Equestrian Disciplines: Individual championship test Classification: Grade 1B
  • Sport: Equestrian Disciplines: Individual freestyle test Classification: Grade 1B
  • Sport: Equestrian Disciplines: Team test Classification: Grade 1B

Quick Facts

Spinal cord and nerve damage
How acquired
How acquired
Horse accident
Date of Birth
February 19, 1961
Broadford, VIC
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

London 2012


Edward Bell

Career Highlights

Selection for Australia and winning gold at London 2012

Greatest Moment

Winning an interschool trophy in gymnastics; winning on her horses, winning appreciation awards


Growing up dreaming about representing Australia on the world stage, 2012 was the year Joann Formosa realised her dream.

Twenty-five years ago, Joann’s body was pulled in opposite directions when she attempted to open a gate while riding a horse at her home in Victoria. She was crushed against the gate, severely damaging her central nervous system that led to significant spinal cord and nerve damage. Consequently, her limbs become tired quickly and she has had to learn not to push through the pain barrier.

Debuting for Australia at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in England, Joann left the country for her first ever overseas trip. Despite suffering from homesickness, she found that she was quite comfortable competing on any horse, a trait she has carried right through her career. Upon her return from England, however, she suffered another serious horse riding accident when she was forced to jump off her horse after it had bolted.

Not to be deterred, Joann continued to press ahead. She was the 2011 National Champion in her grade and won gold in the freestyle test and individual test at the 2011 Oceania Championships in Werribee, Victoria. Then in London, atop her horse Worldwide PB, Joann was elated to win Australia’s first equestrian gold medal since Sydney 2000. Not only did she win gold in the individual test but she ended the 12 year unbeaten reign of Great Britain’s Lee Pearson, who had won nine gold medals since Sydney. In 2013 she was awarded Equestrian Australia’s International Athlete of the Year following her outstanding London campaign.

Joann is interested in anything related to animals and likes to help out wherever possible at local pony clubs. She happily volunteers much of her time at local schools, believing giving back to the community is the right thing to do. Stemming from her time spent at university studying art, Joann is a talented artist and draws whenever her hands are working properly. She also has a keen interest in carpentry and enjoys building things around the home.