We are so delighted for Lady Bader Grant Recipient, Mari Akhurst, who is now the Grade 1 National Para Dressage Champion! This result and the great scores Mari got from the judges to gain it couldn’t be better deserved especially as she experienced a deterioration in her CP prior to the championships. However, with her usual courage and determination, Mari battled through the setback and was rewarded by this fantastic achievement. We couldn’t be more proud of her – she really does have the Bader spirit in spades!

Read Mari’s write up below and then please be sure to check on the links at the bottom of the post where you will be able to hear Mari being interviewed on the radio following her win and also link to her Facebook Page where you will be able to see the full report.


  Friday 15th September 2017: LeMieux National Dressage Championships 2017- Gold Para Dressage Championship

Still not fully recovered and in a lot of pain! But completely worth it as I am now Grade 1 National Champion.

Firstly thank you to everyone that supports me and believes in me. Biggest thanks to Glesni Owen for letting me have the super star on loan. Rob Waine for being a fantastic trainer and so supportive, we make such a good team! Mum and dad for being the most supportive parents ever. Rupert for being a fantastic mascot. All my friends and family. My sister Sian Nefstead for supporting me even when she’s the other side of the world! All my amazing sponsors and supporters.

But as we all know I couldn’t off done it without Mr Sky. He tried his heart out and looked after me. He felt incredible and did an amazing test, nailing his halts!! With two judges giving us over 72%. He is so special and I love him so much. He is my legs and together we excel!

The run up to these champs was not one I would like to repeat. But we have done it and are Grade 1 National Champions. I couldn’t be prouder of Sky. For me it’s also fantastic as I have given something back to everyone who has ever supported me and has believed in me.

Hard work really does pay off. It really is a dream come true; still on cloud 9.

Video Link: Click on the link to see a video of Mari and the wonderful, dancing Sky O’Hara doing the test that won them the Championship. What a lovely, graceful team: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYuMPYbiCs2JEwkjGmZjc5Q

Links: (These will all open in new tabs)

Please click HERE to hear Mari’s radio interview following her success. (Mari is No. 9)

Please click HERE to visit Mari’s Facebook Page

Please click HERE for her Blog Page where you will find more information about her journey to date

Please click on the link to see a short video of Mari and Sky at the Prize Giving for this Championship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak6XFVnkfT0 

And, finally, if you’d like to help to support Mari’s quest to compete with Team GB in the Para Dressage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, you can donate via her Fundraising Page by clicking HERE. With her guts, determination and absolute commitment to both her horses and her goal, we have no doubt that Mari can achieve her dream and are proud and delighted to have been able to support her on her way.