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Mari Akhurst Para Dressage Superstar

Mari Akhurst Para Dressage Superstar

Mari Akhurst Para Dressage Superstar has been sending in some super positive updates culminating in news of great results at both Waregem and Hickstead.

We couldn’t be more proud to be associated with Mari, who is not only the bravest and most determined person you could meet but also a natural equestrian who has always had a wonderful rapport with horses. Mari has cerebral palsy and Ataxia and her condition is constantly throwing challenges at her. She meets these challenges head on and continues to train and concentrate on improving in the sport at which she already excels. When she was at school, Mari experienced bullying and horses started as a solace when she  became aware of her empathy with them, but became a passion when she discovered her natural ability as a rider.

Horses are my legs and together we excel Mari Durward-Akhurst Para Dressage Rider

Much time with much grafting and honing of her skills has passed since then and the results she is achieving now speak for themselves and bear out her statement as well as her total commitment.

The shape of things to come this year showed in the scores Mari and Athene notched up at only their second International – their most successful competition together. Then Mari said

Our partnership is really starting to blossom.

The scores: 77.167% Freestyle; 75.972% Grand Prix B; 73.820% Grand Prix A, boded very well for a successful year and this has so far proved to be justified.

Mari returned from competing with Athene Lindebjerg, kindly loaned by Di Redfern, at the 2024 Waregem CPEDI 3* competition with a fantastic tally of 4 medals! Gold, Silver and 2 Bronzes. And was rewarded with a generous collection of prizes for her efforts! She was delighted and full of praise for the beautiful Athene who had gone like a dream throughout.

(* For those of you who are interested in Para Dressage and would like to learn more about the grades, the competitors both human and equine(!) and get a sense of what it must be like to compete at one of these fantastic events, I recommend checking out the Waregem 2022 webpage. It’s full of fascinating insights and some lovely images. You’ll find the link at the bottom of this post.)

Mari Akhurst Para Dressage Superstar
Mari and a lot of well deserved prizes with trainer Rob and Athene Lindberg who looks as though she’s pondering whether the flowers might be for her!

 

Mari Akhurst Para Dressage Superstar
Mari and Athene Lindebjerg win Gold with the highest score of the day!

Following their success at Waregem, and the very welcome news that she had been accepted onto the Everyone Active Sporting Champions scheme for 1/5/2024 – 30/4/2025, Mari and Athene strutted their stuff at the I.C.E Horseboxes All England Dressage Festival Para Dressage competition at Hickstead and danced away with a Gold Medal and the highest score of the day! Mari reckons there’s even more to come especially when the pilot finds the centre line!

A fantastic result from an event that didn’t start well when torrential rain resulted in Mari and her beloved Quingo Scooter, “Quinny” , having to be rescued when the road to the stables flooded. Sadly it also put paid to her riding that day.

 

In what has been a busy month for Mari, there was also a visit to the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Mari reports

The sun’s not quite shining yet but the Pimms is flowing and lots of beautiful horses!!

Check out the great reel by Soho Equestrian on Mari’s Facebook Page (link below this post) for a feel of the atmosphere at this internationally famous event.

We all send huge congratulations to Mari Akhurst Para Dressage Superstar and her team, both 2- and 4-legged, on such a fantastic year to date. We are sure that it’s just the start of the most successful competition year yet for this indomitable and very talented athlete.


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Feature image. I didn’t want Mari’s horse, Damo, currently in training, to feel left our of all this talk of competition and medals so thought it’d be nice to include him having a peaceful rest in his stable. Well, somebody’s got to do it!