MARI DURWARD-AKHURST

PARA DRESSAGE RIDER

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ABOUT MARI

I have Cerebral Palsy and a very rare neurological condition with symptoms including ataxia and dystonia; it affects all four limbs and as a result of  this I use loop reins, two whips that act as my legs and ride without stirrups. My CP affects all four limbs and has left me weaker down my left side than my right.

 

As a result of my CP my coordination, balance and muscle tone are all affected. I am a full time wheelchair user.

My disability has made it hard for me to make friends and I used to get bullied a lot as I was different to other children and much slower than them. But then I found riding and things changed as it was something that I could do which helped me physically, as I started it as a form of therapy, but also mentally as it was something that I was good at and I could excel at. I was able to develop a fantastic partnership with the horses that I ride and after I decided to have a go at competing it has all spiraled on from there.

Living with a changing condition has its challenges but my motto is “everything happens for a reason” and I’m a fighter!! I really enjoy inspiring others to get involved in Para sport in particular Para Dressage; I am a mentor for four up and coming para riders. I also enjoy carrying out my role as an Ambassador for Arctic One and was delighted and honoured to have been asked to be an Ambassador for the Douglas Bader Foundation (DBF).
 

In 2016 I became the Grade 3 Restricted Winter Para Dressage Champion, but had been struggling for some time at that grade and so was re-classified. I am now in the most disabled category for Para Dressage Riders (Grade 1)

I have got my sights firmly set on the 2021 Paralympics.

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Royal Vetinery 
College

Equine Vets

The RVC have been my vets for 10 plus years. I feel completely confident knowing that my horses are in the best possible hands. I am thrilled that RVC Equine is happy to support me and my horses.

look forward to working with them and continuing to promote them.

ACHIEVEMENTS:

5x

National

Champion

2x

International Champion

Gold

Semi- Finals

Winner

Silver

European

Medallist

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Winter Para Dressage Gold Championships

March 2021

Discipline: Grade 1 Para Equestrian Dressage

Waregem 3* International

April 2021

Discipline: Grade 1 Para Equestrian Dressage

Deauville CPEDI3* 

May 2021

Discipline: Grade 1 Para Equestrian Dressage