Emma Prinz was taking a stroll with her husband Tyler and their purebred Golden Retriever, Finley, when The Daily News caught up with her. The Prinz family moved to Jacksonville from Tucson, Ariz. in June of 2016. Emma Prinz was born in Yuma and moved to Tucson as a baby. Her husband is a Marine stationed at New River, working with helicopters.
What is a major event in your life?
“There’s been quite a few. Probably when I got diagnosed, (which is) the reason I’m in a wheelchair. I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. There’s quite a few different types. There’s six main types … I have hypermobility type, so my joints partially dislocate and dislocate. My tendons and my ligaments, they aren’t formed properly so it’s like an overstretched rubber band. My body depends on my muscles to hold everything in place. So they just kind of slide out of socket … I got diagnosed actually two years ago, and they’ve been throwing it around for the past couple of years. I started being symptomatic in my teenage years. Some people get diagnosed when they’re kids. Some people get diagnosed in their teenage years … you’re born with it. It’s a collagen defect. My body misproduces collagen. And everybody’s like, ‘You should just take collagen.’ And I’m like, ‘No, no. It doesn’t work that way.’”
What was it like finding that out?
“When they dropped the name I didn’t think that could be a thing with me. I just thought it was arthritis or something. Something we can treat, manage and fix. But when they dropped it, it was like, ‘Oh there’s no cure for this. You just have to manage and deal.’ It was a big shock at first, but finally getting the diagnosis was kind of a relief to know I’m not crazy. After a while you just start to think it’s just all in your head.”
What do you miss about Tucson?
“I miss the mountains. There are lots of mountains. We actually have a ski valley … I used to work for a guest ranch before I got sick. That was fun. I worked with a lot of people from all over the world. I got to work with people from like Europe … I worked as a kids’ camp counselor for a bit, so I got to work with kids. We would ride trails and go all over the dessert and up into the hills. We would do wagon rides and stuff and teach kids how to ride. It was fun. It was a neat experience.”
You’re an avid horse rider?
“I used to be. We’re trying to get back in to it. It’s so expensive out here.”
Is it cheaper in Tucson?
“So much cheaper. A lot more land. Feed is so much cheaper.”
Did you used to own a horse?
“I did when I was in college … I went to college in New Mexico. I went to New Mexico State … I had one horse. I used to lease and ride my friends’ horses and trained a couple throughout high school. That was interesting.”
Prinz said she met her husband, who is also an avid horse rider, in college. She was an animal science major and he was in criminal justice. Her horse in college was mustang named Dakota.
“We actually broke him and trained him.”
So you’re still able to ride?
“I have to talk to my doctors to make sure I’m cleared to ride without screwing anything major up. And (my husband) wants to get back into it.”