Mari and Bear Reach New Heights

We’ve had wonderful news from DBF Ambassador, Mari Akhurst, a hugely committed and talented Para Dressage rider who is aiming for the top with her ambition to ride for Team GB in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Mari was competing with her young horse, Bear, at the weekend and had the deserved joy of seeing her 4-legged protegé repaying all her hard work and faith in him by reaching new heights. Read on for Mari’s report on a fantastically successful weekend for Bear and Team Mari!

Mari has Cerebral Palsy, hyper mobility and lax ligaments. Her CP affects all four limbs and has left her weaker down her left side than her right. As a result, her coordination, balance and muscle tone are all affected. She has recently suffered a deterioration in her condition and her success is the result of enormous courage, commitment and determination. She is an inspiration and couldn’t deserve her success more.

A new venture for Mari is Motivational Speaking and I can’t think of anyone better qualified to inspire and motivate others. You can find out more via the link below.

What an amazing weekend we had. It was fantastic to be part of the Eastern team and we were made to feel very welcome. The team BBQ was fantastic and we all had so much fun.

First of all a massive congratulations to one of the Eastern Senior Inter Regional teams for taking the winning team spot, a very well deserved result and a fantastic result for the Eastern Region!!
The two Para teams came 7th and 3rd another fantastic result, well done to everyone.

I cannot put into words how proud I am of Bear this weekend ❤. He has been a complete superstar. We finished 1st Gold Grade 1, 2nd highest score on day 1, 2nd overall Grade 1 (B,S and G), highest overall gold rider and highest placed rider on my team on both days. Plus my team finished 3rd, so a podium place for us 😎😁.

We all knew that Bear had the potential and this weekend we showed that. Our hard work has payed off and our partnership has grown. Everyone commented on what an amazing walk he has (stride length and overtrack). Everyone loved him including the judges. Getting a personal best in the team test of 71.34% and one judge giving us 73%. Then on the second day getting 69.38% (they were marking lower on the second day). A lot of people thought that yesterday’s test should have scored much higher! Finishing with an overall score of over 70%!!

What is so exciting is that this is no where near the finished picture!! We had mistakes on the first day in the test and the second day our halts let’s say need some work!! But now we have the walk we can work on the other details. So the future looks very bright and exciting!!

Thank you to my team mates for making it so much fun and the team spirit was fantastic 😀. It was brilliant to be on a team with Sophie who I actually mentor and she did a fantastic job this weekend; I am very proud of her and April. It was great to have the Senior Inter regional alongside the PHI and to have a combined opening and closing ceremony. The support that we had from the whole of the Eastern Inter Regional team was fantastic, so a big thank you to them.

I am one very happy pilot and Bear is one very happy pony. We produced three super tests in a very big atmosphere with so much going on!! Thank you to everyone that helped me and mum on the first day. A big thank you to Greg and Sarah for helping me get on and off.

Finally thank you to mum and dad for being amazing I really couldn’t do this without them and we make such a good team. A massive thank you to all my sponsors and supporters. Thank you to Jo, Lotte, Katherine, Hayley and Mark for all your help and support. A big thank you to the team sponsor CU Phosco for your continued support of the Para riders we all looked fantastic in our numnahs and clothing.
A job well done!
A job well done!

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