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June and July Blog

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

June Blog

Wow what a fantastic month it has been. I cannot wait to update you all.

We started the month off with lots of training sessions on Sky and Bear in preparation for the Gold Semi Finals. They both have been going well; we have got the activity with Bear and the big walk with Sky. Fingers crossed they both have their dancing shoes on.

The first day we took Sky by himself to Wellington to do the Team Test. I am delighted to say he was a superstar and we did a nice test scoring 71.161% and we won by 5%. Job well done!!

The logistics nightmare had started months ago after we found out they had both qualified! Emma let us borrow her lorry so that mum and I took Sky and dad and Katie took Bear, they arrived just before and put him into a stable. We arrived just after them and Sky chilled at the lorry until it was time to get him ready.

Sky did another good test and this time the pilot remembered where the centre line was and we were delighted to get 72.322% and to have won the class and then even more excited to see that Bear had got 70% and had come 2nd behind Sky. This means both boys have qualified for the Gold Nationals at Stoneleigh.

I wore my fantastic Everyrose KASK Helmet that I love and so does everyone else.

There was a fantastic write up on the British Dressage Website https://www.britishdressage.co.uk/news/show/3698-equissage-pulse-para-gold-semi-finals?fbclid=IwAR2og6-Nl2gHpm6aeFqmzmKdhHOXcww5MnCPg7EADhfu2m-dC9NTfHjH1Wo and we also got a nice mention in Horse and Hound with a picture.

I now need to work really hard on my accuracy so that we can get even higher marks. This is hard with my lack of spatial awareness but I am sure that Rob and I will come up with some strategies that will work.

I did a Q and A with my super sponsors BETTA Life you can find it here https://bettalife.co.uk/june-latest-news-qa-with-team-bettalife-sponsored-rider-mari-akhurst/?fbclid=IwAR39tM0tSLMfTfMscq8IS_GSeIj42S7Aq5ZOFs1UVSHdgwwojz8m5brs5H0

It was great to see Nick (vet) this month and to catch up; Bear is also now supporting a fantastic purple RVC rug.

I had my first public speaking commitment this month on behalf of Arctic One. I went to a Rotary Club and told them about my story and my links with Arctic One. The talk went well and I had some really positive comments after.

Preparations are well underway for Hartpury and we head off there on Tuesday. I will update you all next month with how we get on. The new techniques have been working and the pilot has found the centre line so let’s hope I can find it every time now!!

July Blog

Wow what an exciting and busy month it has been! I cannot wait to fill you all in!

We headed off to Hartpury to represent team GBR at the Hartpury CPEDI3*; which also happened to be the final selection trials for the Europeans.

Wow; how do I sum up the last week? I had an amazing time at Hartpury CPEDI3* with my team and my superstar Sky. I think those of you who saw my tests will have seen my big smile!! The weather was glorious and Hartpury hosted us fantastically. Thank you to everyone involved and it was great to catch up with lots of my para friends and our Para sponsor Equissage.

Sky was on fire and produced 3 fantastic tests. In the Team test one judge had us to win with 76% and two 9s. In the Individual the 5* judges gave me as high as 72%!! I was the highest place GB Grade 1 finishing behind a Brazilian on the first two days and then beating him in the Freestyle! Hard work really does pay off. We rode the best Individual test that we had ever done. It was fantastic to see the marks that we had from the 4*and 5* judges. The pilot was accurate for all 3 tests and was rewarded.

It was also great to be able to watch my trainer Rob Waine compete and to cheer him on. He had a fantastic show as well! Thank you to Rob for being amazing all week; we make such a good team. Thank you to mum and dad for being top grooms and carers and everything else and for my sister supporting us across the world!

I also got a chance to use the Mobiliser every day after I had competed thanks to Back in Action. The icing on the cake was winning the Freestyle on the last day by 2%. International Champions once again!! A massive thank you to everyone who supports me and enabled me to compete at Hartpury. A big thank you to you all for the messages of encouragement and well done wishes as well.

My Mum and I headed back to Hartpury College; to attend the 50th RDA National Championships, also attended by HRH Princess Anne and Countryfile. It was great to be back where it all started for me.  Being part of the final parade with other para riders was very special. It was great to catch up with lots of people that I haven’t seen in a while and my Chigwell buddies and PHI team members.

It was lovely to finally meet Elan and her mum Ceris. I was honoured to sign an autograph for Elan. I am very excited to say I am now mentoring Elan, she has big dreams and I cannot wait to be part of those and to help her reach them.

I got the absolutely fantastic news that Sky and I were on the list of nominated entries for Team GBR at the Europeans https://www.britishdressage.co.uk/news/show/3747-para-long-list-for-rotterdam-euros-announced.

Wow this month has ended on an absolute high finding out that Sky and I are going to be representing Team GBR at the Europeans in Rotterdam!!!!

I am so excited and cannot wait to compete alongside my teammates.

Sky is delighted and we cannot wait to strut our stuff. This really is a dream come true and it is so nice to be recognised after our hard work. I cannot thank everyone enough who has supported me and my amazing team; thank you is not enough. Without you all I could never have achieved this.

“I am really excited to be competing at my first Senior Championships. It’s so nice to be recognised by the selectors after our hard work over the last couple of years – dreams do come true. Thank you to everyone who has supported me, my amazing home team and my trainer Rob Waine. I also have to thank my wonderful equine partner, Sky O’Hara, who continues to improve with age, and his owner, Glesni Owen, who has given me the opportunity to build such a special partnership with him. I hope that Sky and I will do everyone proud.”

Press release here: https://www.equestrianteamgbr.co.uk/news/three-riders-receive-first-call-up-for-para-equestrian-dressage-european-championships/?fbclid=IwAR3jjQxEkMxja0Hw5yiswiAHttIbLs26cCj7Wo1TyLzGp61c6d6DT8JkQX4

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