We couldn’t be more proud of DBF Ambassador, Para Dressage rider Mari Durward-Akhurst and her beautiful horse Sky, who together had a fantastic 10 days at the Para European Championships in Rotterdam achieving several personal bests and a Silver Medal for the team. 

For years Mari’s dream has been to win a gold medal for her country at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and she has worked tirelessly to fulfil it. She has just brought that dream a giant step closer!

Read on for Mari’s report about this truly fantastic result, which was gained through sheer grit, total dedication and extremely hard work. 

Huge congratulations to Mari and Team GBR.


PARA EUROPEANS ROTTERDAM 2019!!

Wow how to sum up the last 10 days they have been incredible!! There have been so many special moments and it was awesome to be part of team GB. I think my smile said it all; a dream come true riding down the centre line with my red collar jacket on and representing GB at my first senior championship.

I had a fantastic week scoring personal best scores and all scores over 70% and then a fabulous 75%+ in the freestyle finishing 4th; two judges had me for the bronze medal!!!! 

I helped the team to take Silver in the team competition and considering 3 of us were all at our first championship; a fantastic result!! As my trainer Rob said ”what an achievement for someone that isn’t on any national squad!! We have chipped away, worked hard and pulled in the results making that Silver medal even more satisfying”.

I have learnt so much and have loved every minute the atmosphere has been electric. Sky has proven to everyone that he does not act or look 20. He has been wonderful all week and I couldn’t be prouder of him. He was back to the relaxed Sky during our freestyle and produced some super work shame we couldn’t produce that the whole way through the other tests. But we showed that under a lot of pressure and in challenging situations we can perform. Huge thanks to his owner Glesni for letting me ride this horse who is one in a million!!

The support we have had from the World Class Team during our time in Rotterdam has been super. Huge thanks to everybody.

Everyone dreams of winning a gold medal but to compete against the best riders in Europe/world in Grade 1 and to be placed is a fantastic achievement!! Time to build on what I have done and we will be going for the Gold next time!! To be selected to go was a dream come true to come back as a European medalist is indescribable!! It hasn’t sunk in yet!!!!

With yesterday marking 1 year until the opening ceremony of the Paralympics the future looks very exciting!! My attention now turns to Tokyo and going for gold; Sky will have a break now but he will be back before you know it!! In the meantime I have the Nationals in a few weeks’ time and then Keysoe CPEDI3* in October with Bear.

 


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