End of the Competitive Year Update from Mari

A very positive update from DBF Ambassador, Mari Akhurst, Para-Dressage Rider par excellence. After what has been a tough year in many respects, Mari has finished on a high as you’ll see from her report below. She should be hugely proud of herself and her equine team for battling through adversity and ending the year in style! Mari epitomises the Bader spirit and we’re very proud to be associated with her. 

Not content with all the hard work involved in looking after, training and preparing 2 horses to Championship level, Mari has recently added another string to her bow with her new venture; Inspirational Speaking. We can’t think of anyone better qualified to inspire others than Mari. If you’d like to contact her about this, please leave a comment for Mari on her Facebook Page. The link can be found at the bottom of this post.

Read on for Mari’s report on her very gratifying results and wait for more news in January!


As Tokyo is fast approaching yesterday marked 300 days to go my aim is to campaign both horses; with selection officially starting next year (still awaiting selection policy).

The last few major competitions with Bear have not gone to plan for one reason or another. He has qualified for the Winter Para Dressage Championships in just two outings. He also has two scores over 73% in the team and Individual test. Bear has shown people his potential and we have had some very positive feedback.

The British Dressage Nationals was Bears first major show there is nowhere else that has the same atmosphere as the Nationals, not even the Europeans. Bear was a really good boy but got a bit tense and a jog cost us the win; we still came 2nd!

Then onto Keysoe CPEDI3* Bear did three super tests and we were all delighted with him and the work we produced; sadly the judges didn’t agree. But that’s dressage for you and the subjective nature!

Due to my Ataxia I find having a stable contact and keeping my hands still extremely hard but we were really marked down on this at Keysoe.  So we have worked really hard and found a way that seems to be able to stabilise my hands and as a result Bear is a lot happier and walking out so much more as he has stable connection to walk into. I just need to get the classifiers to agree the adaption and then we will go out into competition and see what the judges think.

I took Sky to a local competition it was a winter qualifier but he has already qualified as he has a bye from competing at the Europeans. He felt on top form and scored 72.5% to take the win beating a triple Paralympian on both of her horses!! A great way to start our campaign with even more to come.

Mari Akhurst


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