/, Sponsored Riders/June 2018 | Mari Akhurst – National Para Dressage Grade 1 Champion

June 2018 | Mari Akhurst – National Para Dressage Grade 1 Champion

I went to Loughborough University for the ‘Backing The Best Workshop. I am extremely thankful to be on this fantastic programme for a second year running and cannot thank Sports Aid and Sport England enough for this fantastic opportunity. Thank you to my national governing body the BEF for nominating me for a Sports Aid award.

Due to the deterioration in my condition I can no longer work and so without support from Backing The Best (and other charities) I wouldn’t have been able to continue doing the sport I love and live for every day.

Being on the programme last year made a massive impact to my everyday life and meant that I could enjoy every minute of my sport and not have to worry about the financial burden and it also took the pressure of my parents a bit. I rely so heavily on my parents and due to this they cannot even consider retirement. The grant will continue to impact on my life in a positive way and help me to be able to access the extra support that I now need due to a further deterioration in my condition. My results from last year speak for themselves and I cannot wait to build on these and hopefully take the next step up towards future major championship selection.

My favourite session from the day was the session on media content. Due to all the media opportunities and training I have had I am now very confident in speaking in front of the cameras and the media guys said my interview was word perfect and they were very impressed and remembered me from last year. I always used to be the shy one so I am very proud of the athlete/ person I have become.

I met some really inspirational athletes and it was great to hear their stories and the journeys they have been on.

Here is the link to the press release about the day; you may see a familiar face! http://www.sportsaid.org.uk/news-main/news/backing-the-best-helping-to-level-the-playing-field-for-young-talented-athletes/

We took Bear to Sparsholt Equestrian Centre hoping to get the last few points we needed to qualify for the Gold Semi Finals. We went solo so it was just me, mum and dad and Luna the Lorry not forgetting my scooter Quiny. Bear was an absolute superstar and I couldn’t have been prouder of him or my whole team. Our hard work is starting to pay off and our marks and scores are on the rise. Mission accomplished we got the last few points and Bear should have now qualified for the Gold semi- finals alongside Sky. Mum and dad were amazing, dad was super groom and transport manager and mum was superwoman; groom, rider and caller! Really pleased with our marks we got over 70% in the team test and 67% in the individual, loosing quite a few marks for some head shaking as Bear’s plaits were falling out and annoying him.

I had a play with my music with Sky to check it still fitted and to see if we needed to make any changes. A few changes were needed but generally it still fits really well and I am looking forward to showing it off in the competition arena later on in the year.

We have been working on transitions with Bear within the walk. As he has such a big stride trying to halt from his big walk can be quite difficult and messy. So with Alice’s help we have worked on condensing his big walk for a few strides before the halt which has resulted in lots of square halts.

I am convinced that my body knows when I have a major show coming up and decides to throw something at me. The pain has reached new levels again and I am feeling rubbish; most of my days have been spent asleep as that’s all I seem to be able to do at the minute.

I paid a visit to my GP as I had a big relapse and it had affected my speech. She sent me to hospital as I had symptoms of a stroke. I had an ambulance ride to the Stroke Unit at High Wycombe Hospital. It is definitely a 48 hours that I never want to repeat again. Thankfully they don’t think I have had a stroke but have had a major deterioration in my condition which was very quick; we are not sure why yet. I am going to have more tests and hopefully we will get some answers. I was delighted to be home and my main goal was to get back in the saddle as soon as I could. The Physio’s last words to me were ‘you need to take it easy for the next few weeks’ and mum said ‘she’s got a major show on the 7th June!’

I have managed to get back in the saddle I still don’t feel great but am pleased to be back on board. I am only managing 5-6 mins maximum currently but my tests are only 6 minutes so it’s a start.

On bank holiday Monday I attended the Tri and Para Tri festival and Para triathlon World Cup at Dorney Lake. It was a fantastic event and the weather was great. I really enjoyed supporting the super charity Arctic ONE who I am proud to be an Ambassador for and it was great to catch up with David and to meet Robert from The Douglas Bader Foundation. The atmosphere was incredible and the talent amazing; so inspiring.

I am proud to be supported by the GLL Sports Foundation for another year. I had a fantastic evening at the sports awards. It was super to see the talent in the Chilterns and South Bucks.

So as you can imagine from reading this it’s not quite the run up to my next major competition at the beginning of next month that I would have liked. But hopefully my body will behave and we can perform on the day and enjoy every minute. I will update you all how we get on in next month’s blog.

Latest Update:
 
When people tell me I won’t be able to do something I like to prove them wrong. When I was sat in a hospital bed just over 3 weeks ago and the Physio said me you need to take it easy and have sometime out of the saddle and no way will you be able to compete on the 7th. I did everything in my power to make sure that I would be able to compete; mission accomplished!!
 
I competed both horses at the Para Gold Semi Finals on Thursday at Wellington Premier League.
 
Both horses were superstars. I am delighted to say Sky came 2nd with 70% (behind a triple Paralympic gold medalist) and has qualified for the British Dressage Nationals in September at Stoneleigh. At Bear’s third national competition he achieved just over 66% and came 5th. 
 
I have also just been selected to represent GB at Hatpury 3* International with Sky.
 
A big thank you for your continued support. 
Mari Akhurst
Team BETTALife®
By | 2018-06-11T12:51:32+00:00 June 11th, 2018|Latest News, Sponsored Riders|0 Comments

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