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February 2019 & Winter Championships Update | Team BETTALife® 2017 & 2018 National Grade 1 Para Dressage Champion – Mari Akhurst

My update from the Winter Para Dressage Gold Championships.

We arrived back from the Winter Para Dressage Gold Championships late last night; a very long weekend!!

The first day we took the win and topped the class with a 70%+ score; lots of point towards the Gold Semi Finals.

In the championship test the judge at E gave us a score of 70% and had us in the lead by several marks. For me this is a pretty big achievement as being on the side they can pick up on a lot more things that the C judge cannot see. Sadly the C judge had other ideas and only gave us 66% which pulled our score down massively. So I finished 3rd less than .5 behind 2nd; the top 3 were very close!!

I am incredibly proud of my superstar pony who strutted his stuff and had his best dancing shoes on all weekend!! You can see from the videos how good he looked!! I cannot thank everyone enough who has supported me this weekend. I am really looking forward to the year ahead with my superstars ��

Considering we started this month off with a snow day it’s great to have the glorious sunny weather we have had for the past few days. Fingers crossed we do not have any more white stuff!!

I was featured in Hiya Bucks again this month with the title Amersham’s Mari Akhurst is a true inspiration. A fantastic article highlighting last year’s successes.

We have had a real breakthrough in training with Bear. He is going the best he has ever gone, everything is coming together nicely. We have seen glimpses of his talent in the past and now he’s showing this every time we ride him. The improvement in just a couple of weeks is enormous and his potential is shining through; exciting times ahead!! We were meant to be competing Bear this month but sadly it was cancelled. I was really looking forward to getting him out and to see what the judge felt about his way of going now. I am taking Bear to a clinic in March, so watch this space I will update you all in my March blog.

A few people have said that I will be very good at public speaking and so I am going to become an inspirational speaker. I look forward to inspiring others to follow their dreams. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like me to speak at an event. I am also going to be going into schools to talk about me and my journey but also to talk about the work of Arctic One a local charity that supports me.

 

It was great to go back to Performance Hertfordshire and to see Fiona. I am hoping to be able to go once a month thanks to the Douglas Bader Foundation. I took my new chair which was fantastic, still nameless! Even with my deterioration I have managed to keep my core strong which is great! So a few tweaks and I have a new programme to get on with, I love a challenge!

I had a delivery from my sponsors BETTA Life so the boys are all topped up on supplements; only the best for my boys!

We went to Rob’s yard with Sky to have a test practice session before we headed off to Myerscough for the Winter Championships. Considering we hadn’t ridden the test in a while it went really well and we managed to keep the lift the whole way through. We also worked on accuracy something I struggle with due to my spatial awareness. We were feeling ready for Myerscough and looking forward to getting into the competition arena.

We headed off on a very long trip to Lancashire, it took us over 5 hours. Sky travelled really well and settled in straight away. The grade 4’s and 5’s were doing their tests when we got there so we watched them and I managed to watch my friends test before settling in the lorry for dinner. The following day Rob arrived and as part of the warm up he did the arena walk with Sky. I got on Sky and he felt really good but just a tad tense, the sound system was making a very loud screeching noise spooking a lot of the horses! He settled quickly and we went in to do our test, we were all really happy with it. The pilot forgot where X was but I was so pleased that our hard work had paid off and everything came together at the right time. Looking back at the video we looked fantastic and Sky kept the lift the whole way through the test!! My score came up and it was 70%+ we were pleased with this as the judges were being very tough. I was delighted to find out I had won my class what a wonderful birthday present. My birthday was spent with my Para friends and we all enjoyed Colin the cake and then went out for a meal in the evening. Sky was lucky to be treated to a trial session from Equissage UK who were kindly sponsoring the Para championships. He loved it.

I took my new mascot with us to the competition, Hope the Bear who is from Ataxia UK.

In the Championship test the judge at E gave us a score of 70% and had us in the lead by several marks. For me this is a pretty big achievement as being on the side they can pick up on a lot more things that the C judge cannot see. Sadly the C judge had other ideas and only gave us 66% which pulled our score down massively. So I finished 3rd less than 0.5 behind 2nd; the top 3 were very close!! I am incredibly proud of my superstar pony that strutted his stuff and had his best dancing shoes on all weekend!! I cannot thank everyone enough who has supported me this weekend. I am really looking forward to the year ahead with my superstars.

I have to say a massive well done to two friends Natalie South who won the Grade 2 Silver Championships which is fantastic and Sophie Lingfield who won the Grade 1 Bronze championships at her first ever Para championships. I am also mentoring Sophie and she has a very exciting future in our sport. Both ponies they were riding were RDA ponies from Chigwell Riding Trust For Special Needs.

Hopefully next month I will be able to tell you some exciting news. I’ve got two clinics to look forward to and some competitions which will hopefully go ahead.

Many Thanks
Mari Akhurst
Team BETTALife® 2017 – 2019 Sponsored Rider
By | 2019-03-09T15:08:07+00:00 March 5th, 2019|Events & Shows, Latest News, Sponsored Riders|0 Comments

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