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March 2018 | Mari Akhurst Latest News

I promised you some exciting news this month but I am afraid you are going to have to wait a bit longer as I can’t announce it just yet! It will be worth the wait I promise.

It felt absolutely fantastic to be back in the competition arena this month; doing what I love. Perhaps the season hasn’t got off to the best start and the results weren’t quite what we wanted but under exceptional circumstances I have done well and will hopefully build on it throughout the season. I have also shown that I can compete and perform under a lot of pressure and exceptional circumstances.

Training has been going really well and I feel like we are ready for the first competition of the season. Bear has grown up and we have grown in confidence together and the contact is so much better. Sky has come on again and has an even bigger walk; we are just getting used to it and I am hoping we can keep the new walk the whole way round a test.

I don’t know how or why my body always seems to know when I have a big competition coming up and plans a new trick or symptom, which is not helpful! This time it was further deterioration and some serious pain to go with it which meant lots of hospital trips and at one point I wasn’t sure we would even make the Winter Championships as just moving one muscle was agony let alone riding a horse. But my pain meds were upped and even though the pain still wasn’t great I was back on board and ready to compete.

We started the long journey up north which was a bit of a logistical nightmare!! Trying to work out how we could take two Lorries as Sky wouldn’t fit on our lorry with Bear and Quinny. So we hired a lorry and took our lorry. It was a 5 hour trip and by the time we got there we were all very tired. Both boys had travelled well and were ready to come of the lorry.

Sky came off fine and we settled him into his stable. Mum and dad went to take Bear off the lorry and disaster struck we still don’t know what happened. But dad was on the floor and Bear the other side of him, thankfully mum caught Bear who was very shocked and I went to dad’s aid. Dad was lying on the floor with blood pouring out of his head. Dad ended up in A and E having his head glued and his pelvis x-rayed which thankfully wasn’t broken. Not the best start and I really hoped that things would improve. I was stuck in the lorry by myself for four hours but was relieved to have dad home for the night and thankfully he is ok and has nearly made a full recovery. It was very scary and just a freak accident.

The boys were stabled away from the other horses as Bear wouldn’t fit into a temporary stable. Unfortunately no one else was stabled anywhere near us and so when one horse went the other one got left by themselves. The boys couldn’t cope and had some serious separation anxiety, especially Sky. As dad wasn’t feeling 100% he stayed with each horse while the other one competed and we just about managed to cope.

Day two got off to a better start and both boys produced some really nice work in their tests and I was pleased with both of them. Sky finished 3rd with just under 71% and Bear got just over 67% not a bad start to summer qualification and lots of points in the bag.

Day three didn’t go to plan. Dad thankfully was feeling a bit better so mum and dad changed roles dad was back to help me get on board which was great and mum took over child minding! Unfortunately Sky had got himself in a real state and was really on edge in his test making mistakes that he normally wouldn’t and screaming the whole way through his test. We both coped and between the mistakes there was some really nice work. It’s such a shame but just shows you horses are not machines! The selectors were very complementary and said I did really well to persevere and not give up. We finished 3rd behind a Paralympic gold medalist and a European Champion with just under 67%. Not a bad result but very frustrating as without all the mistakes we would have been at the top.

Bear was a really good boy and even though he was slightly on edge he managed to relax and produced a better test than the first day. Unfortunately he got very upset in the warm up due to being ridden at several times and he started calling to Sky. I was really pleased with him as he managed to keep it together and didn’t put a foot wrong. I was very disappointed with the score and the result especially considering he had got 68% on the first day. But I think thinking back he was a bit too much on his toes and so wasn’t showing his nice relaxed walk. But we know what we need to work on and can’t wait to get back in that competition arena and to show everyone how amazing he is.

We thankfully after all the excitement had a good journey home, another 5 hours and we all arrived safely back to the yard. I think I will need at least a week to recover.

I celebrated my birthday this month and had a super day and was thoroughly spoilt. I even managed to ride Sky which was great and met by good friend Julie for lunch. I then went out for a nice meal with mum in the evening as dad was away playing golf.

Before the horrible weather came in we managed one last competition of the month, a summer qualifier! Yes that’s right summer! It was below freezing and we had to compete outside. We arrived safely and beat the snow home just. But the competition arena was very hard; Sky produced two good tests and was back to his normal self. He was a true professional considering that he had not been ridden since our return from Myerscough. We managed to win both tests and now me and Sky only need two more points before we will be qualified for the Gold semi-finals.

As I am writing this I am pleased to be in a nice warm house as outside the weather is awful. It has been snowing all day and with high winds and extreme temperatures it’s not nice out there. The boys are having some enforced duvet days as it’s not safe for them to go outside. Snow has even come into the barn so the boys are quite happy tucked up in their stables eating hay. Only one tap on the whole yard is working and it happens to be the toilet sink so not great to be getting water out of. So we have had to fill up water containers at home and then take them up to the yard and even the boys water buckets are freezing in their stables. The school has been un-rideable since we got back from Myerscough and is not looking like it’s going to defrost any time soon. I have got my fingers and toes crossed that this weather will pass soon and we can get back to training. In the meantime I am still carrying out my exercise programme 6 times a week; which is going well.

So next month we should be off to squad training which I am really looking forward too. I hope you all stay safe and the weather improves for us all soon. Don’t forget to read next month’s blog to find out my exciting news.

By | 2018-03-19T14:45:14+00:00 March 19th, 2018|Events & Shows, Latest News, Sponsored Riders|0 Comments

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