Wow where do I start! Thankfully the weather especially the last week or so has been glorious; let’s hope it’s here to stay! The boys have loved having the sun on their backs.
The 1st March was International Wheelchair Day; my wheelchair equals my independence. Rolling around on wheels is how I roll; it’s how I get around!
Since my last blog post you are all aware that I have lost my funding and my access to Bisham for physiotherapy and strength and conditioning. My body is struggling to cope without the physiotherapy, and it just shows that the only way I can perform to my best each day and pull out new PB’s was thanks to the amazing physiotherapy that I was having. Thankfully I am determined, the hunt to try and find funding has already started and in the meantime I am just going to have to dig even deeper than normal!
At the beginning of the month we headed off to the rearranged Winter Para Dressage Gold Championships at Myerscough College.
We arrived on Friday afternoon and Damo had the chance to do the arena walk; he had his brave pants on! We then settled into the lorry and Damo into his nice comfy warm stable then it was dinner and bed. Damo had a chance to do another arena walk as we were not competing until later in the day. The warm up test went really well; Damo was a complete superstar and won the class, with a good score and points in the bag for qualification for the Gold Semi Finals in June.
Elan and Donna two of my mentees were competing and did amazingly well winning both of their classes. Elan became the Grade 1 Bronze Winter Champion and Donna the Grade 5 Bronze Winter Champion. A huge well done to both Elan and Donna and to all their wonderful support teams; a very well deserved result for two riders who work really hard. It was fantastic to have the support of my other two mentees Chloe and Sophie who were following us all on the live stream and cheering us on. I love being a mentor and am so lucky to have four wonderful athletes to support and mentor.
It was time for the Championship, Damo settled even more in the warm up and was more relaxed and confident going into the test. On the first day we had played it safe and rode a safe test. He was more up for it and so we went for a bigger walk, I was delighted with the test; he was with me throughout so lots of pats and carrots for Damo. The score was over 70% and even better the C judge had given us over 73%, we were delighted and had won the class! Damo’s first National Championships and we were now Grade 1 Gold National Winter Champions. After the prize giving, with a sash and lots of lovely prizes from the class sponsor Equissage UK and Myerscough College it was time to head home. We had a good journey home and Damo was delighted to be back in his nice warm stable ready for a good night’s sleep.
This month we also celebrated International Women’s Day. I have so many wonderful women in my life. I am so proud to be a European Silver Medalist, 6x National Champion and 3x International Champion in Para Dressage and a National Champion/ Gold Medalist in Indoor Rowing. Full time wheelchair user with a degenerative condition; proving with determination that the impossible is possible! Living every day to the full and living my dream each day. Serious hard work and pushing the boundaries every day.
It was an honour to be asked to speak to all the staff at Adidas UK a few years back for International Women’s Day. Don’t forget that I am available to book for public speaking, if you would like to book or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me through my website or social media pages.
Lee Harris came out to give me and Damo a lovely massage. Damo thoroughly enjoyed his; see photo below. It was great to hear how good Damo felt; ready to go and compete at Keysoe CPEDI3*. As I have been struggling Lee was a great help and I felt so much better afterwards.
After one last run through of the tests at Robs which went really well we headed off to Keysoe. It’s always an honour to be selected to represent your country. After last year we were hopeful that after all our hard work, things would be better this year and they certainly were!
Damo flew through the trot up and in the arena familiarisation was a lot less uptight than last year! We were ready for the first day of competition. Damo was an absolute superstar I couldn’t be prouder of him, he went into the arena and produced a really good test. He was a bit unsure going around the outside but Rob was with him and once in the arena he took confidence from me. I left the arena grinning from ear to ear. Whatever the score I was delighted with Damo. We had scored 70%+ one judge had us in 1st; we finished 3rd but the top 3 were all very close. This was a 19% increase from the last international here!
Damo had a lovely chilled evening and had a nice sleep; he was tried after being such a good boy.
The next day we were earlier in the morning and again he was a really good boy, the test was going so well even better than the first day when something caught Damo’s eye and unfortunately he had a spook. It was very costly as we had 2’s from the judges and so the score was not what we would have liked. But he didn’t do anything major and looked after me. Had all gone to plan we would have finished in a similar place to the first day but with a higher score. It’s just one of those things but Damo came back to me and we finished the test. Damo had a nice chilled afternoon having a hand graze.
The last day the weather was awful and Damo had a fright in the warm up arena so we decided to call it a day and play it safe. We cannot wait to dance to our music at the next opportunity.
Keyose was ok; we didn’t get the results we would have liked in all the tests but the improvement shown from last year was huge. Damo was much more relaxed and all the groundwork we have been doing has made a big difference. He still sadly doesn’t feel fully safe in the competition arena but we are getting there. A few tweaks/adjustments needed and the even higher marks will be coming!
This month I got back on Mr Bear, he felt amazing and I couldn’t stop smiling. He really enjoyed himself and was powering around his 8m circles.
I had a great session at Performance Herts with Fiona. Lots of new exercise some of them very challenging and even better I lifted a new PB on the bench press. An exercise I really struggle with so delighted with that.
That’s all for this month……. I hope next month is quieter.