It’s been a busy month and wow has it flown by! I have had some really exciting news this month and a very exciting delivery. Sorry that the blog has taken a little longer than normal but from its length you can see why!

I have launched my European campaign plan please have a look at the following link https://www.gofundme.com/para-europeans-2019?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_co_campmgmt_w&fbclid=IwAR1oHN0RUb0hheguLdAZBrOQhkSBe01wtvBo2N4KrsxyreQMQf5TcVPuRs4. Any help however small would be greatly appreciated.

The month started with a visit from De from Devoucoux and to catch up. Bear has muscled up and so his saddle has gone to have some adjustments made to it and meanwhile I have a lovely Devoucoux saddle on loan. It’s much wider than his and the minute we put the saddle on him he felt much freer in his movement.

Then Rob had a clinic at the yard that I am based at; everyone enjoyed their lessons; the weather wasn’t too bad and we were all treated to lovely food by Steve. Mum warmed up both boys for me and I had a lesson with Rob which was great and gave mum some tips that will help when she is working the boys; great team work! Mum really enjoyed herself and the boys looked fab.

It was then off for a lesson with Kim Ratcliffe with Mr Bear in the Eastern Region (horses have moved). It was very very windy and wet, but despite all the elements Bear was a superstar!! I had a really enjoyable lesson; it was good to work with Kim again. It was great to hear her positive comments about Bear and his walk. I am so proud of Bear he has really grown up and today produced some of his best work ever. He stopped holding his breath, relaxed and started to swing through his body, he looked brilliant. There were mirrors in the school and he really did look good!! We practiced the movements of our tests and managed to nail our centre lines with halt, our 8m circles and 3 loop serpentine. Considering we have always struggled with our 8m circles due to his size this is a pretty good achievement and shows that hard work pays off!! With lots of tips taken on board I cannot wait to get back into that competition arena. Bring it on!!

Sky has upped his game again which is very exciting. I have managed to fit in some test riding sessions at Rob’s yard which has given us a chance to work through the tests including our music.

Top of Form

I can announce my exciting news I am delighted to say that me and Sky have been selected to represent GB at Waregem CPEDI3*. So preparations are well underway to get ready for our departure and with the added stress of Brexit!

Thank you to Abbey Farm Dressage and the great Eastern Para rep for letting us put a late entry in after the late cancellation of another show we were planning on going to this weekend! Lovely venue with nice friendly people and as well as the rosette I got a chocolate bunny, we will definitely be back. We took Bear out to the first competition since November last year. I was hoping that mine and my teams hard work had paid off. I am delighted to say it has as Bear and I won the Grade 1 Individual test with 71.1%. Our best ever score and considering that our highest score to date had been 68% a big improvement. Bear did a fantastic test and I was delighted with him; I kept the activity throughout the test, the contact was great and we managed to maintain the suppleness. We now have 6 points in the bag; half qualified for the Gold Semi Finals.

Our next competition with Bear didn’t go to plan we were late due to traffic and so everything was rushed. Bear became very tense in his test and lots of mistakes were made and one very big one which was costly. But we have learnt lots and are looking forward to our next party and have got another 4 points in the bag so only two left to get.

I have had another interview on Wycombe Sound. Here is my link for my radio interview last week. Tuesday 26th March mid morning go to 2:32:54.

https://listenagain.wycombesound.org.uk/…/shows/mid-morning/

The Anders Foundation is a charity that support me and this year their grant is going to help to make my dream of competing abroad happen. I am immensely grateful for their continued support and look forward to seeing Heather at competitions this year.

I was honoured to be featured in Performance Hertfordshire’s feature Friday It’s fantastic to be back at the gym training where it all started and to have the chance to work with the same S and C coach that I had when I was younger.

I also welcomed a new sponsor this month, the Royal Veterinary College have joined the team. The RVC have been vets to my horses for over 10 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. I look forward to working with them and promoting them.

More exciting news you can now book me as a motivational speaker https://www.douglasbaderfoundation.com/dbf-news/you-can-now-book-mari-as-a-motivational-speaker?fbclid=IwAR3X97ZgrTnY_7gMaqjk8knNnoxcgJt2eeRYtTkOMofGYdKRo8psI7QeUOY; have a look at the link to find out more.

I have to mention Wales win in the rugby especially as I’m half Welsh! A fantastic result and very well deserved well done boys and well played!!

My exciting parcel was from my sponsors KASK. My new hat Midnight Amethyst; in love it’s beautiful! I cannot wait to wear it at the International in Belgium next month.

I am delighted to say that I am a 2019 CAF Hero of Sport; I cannot thank them enough for their continued support.

Next month looks to be very busy with a trip to Performance Hertfordshire, a trip away to see my sister and her family, the International in Belgium and then when we get back I need to finish qualifying Bear for the Gold Semi Finals and we have filled in our application for the Para Home International; so will keep you all updated.

Mari Akhurst
Team BETTALife® Sponsored Rider