I live in Newton Abbot Devon with my family, and I started doing Para dressage in May 2014 on a pony called Molly. I have just finished studying level three extended diploma in horse care and management at Bicton College, and have moved on to study Level three Agriculture. I am also part of the World Class Podium potential squad 2016-2018 who are a massive part in my journey and support team.
I have two disabilities, Charcot Marie Tooth Disease (CMT) which is a form of muscular dystrophy; this is a muscle wasting degenerative disease and affects me in day to day living such as my balance, strength, co-ordination and some days I need to spend the day in my wheelchair, despite this I remain focused and be the best that I can and not allow my disability to hinder my progress in Dressage. I also have Cherubism where my face is made up of many facial tumours; this means I have to be aware and careful so I do not hit my face because the tumours could become malignant. I have had many operations over the last two years to enable me to have teeth, as my original teeth were reabsorbed by the tumours.
I currently have a 10 year old, 18hh Trakehner bay gelding whose competition name is ‘Dancing for Gold’ or he known to his friends as ‘Dan’ I have owned Dan for just under a year and he had previously show jumped to a high level. He has turned his hoof to dressage and I feel we have made a strong partnership and cannot wait so see what the future brings us. This year with Dan we have gone to a few Para qualifiers, Silver Winter and Summer Championships, SW Inter county Challenge and we also competed for GB in a 2* International. My aims and Goals for next year are to work closely with Nina Venables and Alex Robinson-Barr who are coaching us towards the Gold Championships in both the Winter and Summer Champs and compete Internationally in a 3* both in England and abroad.
Unfortunately this month I lost my older boy priceless or ‘Mr Darcy’ to his friends he was a 16 year old, 17.2 chestnut Hanoverian. I owned Darcy for near on 3 years and he was a horse of a lifetime! He was my best friend, he was so consistent in his scores always hitting above 70% and I will never forget when we got three 10s in one test!! He loved his job and used to run into the lorry when it was time to go away to a pony party. I wouldn’t be half the rider I am today without the help of him. RIP Mr Darcy you were totally Priceless.
Since becoming a Para Dressage rider I have gained a new found confidence in myself which I didn’t realise existed. This confidence makes me want to achieve more and become the best that I can be, not just for myself but also for my team.
In my next blog I will share a day in the life of a Grade 2 Para Dressage rider and let you know where our travels have taken us.