Our first Lady Bader Grant Recipient of the Month, Mari Akhurst has kindly sent us a link to 2 videos of her riding her beautiful young horse, Mr Bear, at Hartpury; one of them competing in the Team Test and one in the pre-test warm up. I’m sure you’ll agree that Mari looks wonderful on a horse and they make a fabulous team.

Joan Bader & Patience

The Lady Bader Grant scheme was initiated following Joan Bader’s death in 2015, to commemorate her name and memory with grants and special awards for applicants whose goals match her own interests and life-time achievements. She always loved horses and was an accomplished horsewoman, show jumper and eventer. We knew she would be delighted to support Mari in her quest and would undoubtedly have admired Mari’s great seat on a horse and envied her long legs – she was always bemoaning her short ones! 

I have Cerebral Palsy, hyper mobility and lax ligaments. My CP affects all four limbs and has left me weaker down my left side than my right. As a result of my CP my coordination, balance and muscle tone are all affected. I have a permanent limp and walk with a walking stick. I am unable to walk long distances and so use a scooter. Mari Akhurst

Mari puts so much work into her success as a rider. Due to her condition, she needs to work constantly on building and maintaining her core strength which involves an exhausting exercise programme. Recently a deterioration in her condition means she has had to increase an already punishing regime. She shows extraordinary courage and determination in the pursuit of her goal to compete for Team GB in the para dressage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. With her sheer guts and Bader can do spirit in spades, we have no doubt that she will achieve her dream.

Check out her videos here if you need any more convincing! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYuMPYbiCs2JEwkjGmZjc5Q

If you’d like to help this really promising young rider, Mari has a GoFundMe fund-raising page and would be extremely grateful for any donations. 

You can read more about Mari’s challenge and about her partnerships with her two beautiful horses, Sky and Bear, from her wonderfully honest and informative Blog Page. It makes inspiring reading!