Keysoe CPEDI – Mari Akhurst

Keysoe CPEDI Mari and Bear

A couple of more belated than intended reports from our 2 Para Dressage Riders about their experiences at the Keysoe CPEDI (International Para Equestrian Dressage) Competition held earlier this month.

The first is from our DBF Ambassador, Mari Akhurst, who has also just returned from a very successful competition at the weekend with her horse, Sky.

Mari reports:

Sky was a superstar; we scored 75.536% to take the win and also the highest Para score of the day. That’s him all qualified for the Winter Para Dressage Gold Championships next year!

He was a star and we both enjoyed the test. What’s even more exciting is the judge said there was even more higher marks to come!! Plus we did have a 6 and 6.5 amongst the 7,7.5s and 8’s.

Congratulations to Mari and Sky. To add to Mari’s delight, her younger horse, Bear – featured below, has already qualified so Mari has the accolade of having 2 horses already qualified to compete in the Winter Para Dressage Gold Championships next year.

It’s going to be a busy year for the 4- and 2-legged members of Team Mari alike…!


Finally home after a week away at Keysoe CPEDI3*. I am so proud of Bear; he has been such a superstar⭐️. He has tried his heart out and not put a foot wrong. He was so relaxed; and really showed off his walk which has got so much bigger! We also showed off what a harmonious partnership we have.

Bear and friend relaxing in his stable
I have to say a big thank you to my whole team as without them this would not have been possible. To all my sponsors and supporters. My amazing parents for being with me every step of the way and supporting me this week. Rob for training me and Katie for coming to trot him up and for supporting us. Plus team trout rise for looking after Sky and all my family and friends. Finally thank you to the World Class Programme, National Lottery and UK Sport.
We showed that our hard work during lock down has really paid off. Bear is so much more supple, stronger and his walk has developed. He is now able to sit behind and lift and flick his toes. We also have managed to keep the poll up.

Keysoe CPEDI Mari Akhurst's rosettesUnfortunately due to my condition I struggle with a stable consistent contact; we thought we had found something that worked; not all the international judges agreed and I have been marked down for my wobbliness in my contact and also my position. I need to be more steady.Bear bless him puts up with my naughty limbs and keeps his head relatively still; but the pilot can’t keep still on top.

But on top of everything; gaining two 3rd places and a 4th isn’t bad especially with some pretty good scores to boot especially from the highlevel judges. I am sure our marks will be even higher once we sort out the pilot. (Mari Akhurst)
Keysoe CPEDI Mari Akhurst
Mari and Bear getting used to the arena
Keysoe CPEDI Mari Akhurst
Ring Practice with Bear


For those of you who are mystified by the classification in Para Dressage, I thought this might be helpful: