Mari Akhurst – 2018 Yearly Update

Mari with her parents and David Bickers (right) from the DBF

Wow I wasn’t sure we could better 2017 but we certainly have done! Dreams have come true this year and it really does show that perseverance and hard work pays off.  None of what I have achieved would have been possible without my amazing support team, my family and all my fantastic sponsors and supporters. 

Living with a changing condition has its challenges but my motto is “everything happens for a reason” and I’m a fighter!! I really enjoy inspiring others to get involved in Para sport in particular Para Dressage; this year acting as a mentor for a young para rider. I also enjoyed carrying out my role as an Ambassador for Arctic One and was delighted and honoured to have been asked to be an Ambassador for the Douglas Bader Foundation (DBF).

Sky has been a complete superstar and our results speak for themselves  3rdWinter Para Dressage Gold Championships, Gold Semi Finals 2nd  70%, Hartpury CPEDI3* (1stoverall Grade 1, winner of Individual and Freestyle test) with 71%+ and 73%+ and British Dressage Nationals Para Gold Championships 1stNational Champion 70%+.

Bear has come on leaps and bounds this year and we are so close to that 70%. I am really looking forward to next year and getting more experience under our belts and I am sure that our scores will be on the rise. 

I have had my most successful year to date finishing the year as an International and National champion. I was one of only 12 to achieve the selection criteria for the World Equestrian Games and I beat a Paralympian at my grade for the first time; the first GB rider to do this. I was also awarded a head collar at the British Dressage National convention for winning my class at the Nationals. 

Despite not being selected onto the World Class programme my team and I will still be campaigning for the 2019 Europeans. I am really looking forward to stepping up another level with both horses and aiming for the 73%+ scores with Sky which we are already so close to!! I am also excited about starting public speaking as an inspirational speaker. Bring on 2019. 

Eyes right!
Line up
The competition
Mari and Sky in action
On screen performance
Victorious Team Mari!

We are delighted to kick off our new year posts with this typically positive update from new DBF Ambassador, Mari. As she says, not being selected for the World Class Programme won’t stop her fight to compete at the highest level and with her huge courage and determination we know she’ll succeed. It’s Mari’s positive attitude and her strength in the face of adversity that we know will also make her a wonderful inspirational speaker.