It has been a Super June for Para Dressage Rider, Mari Durward Akhurst.
Mari, 28, is a Grade 1 (the most impaired) Para Dressage rider competing at National and International level. She has been National Champion 6 times, is a triple International Champion and European (team) Silver Medalist. After a difficult time last year, when her long time, much loved equine partner, Sky O’Hara with whom Mari had had a wonderfully successful partnership, retired, Mari is going from strength to strength this year and this last month alone has seen so many special moments.
There was an emotional visit to Sky who is apparently thoroughly enjoying being a gentleman of leisure and who was clearly very happy to see his human partner again too! This beautiful photograph so clearly shows the unbreakable bond between them.
Mari’s new, young horse, Damo, is settling down and all Mari’s patience, empathy and hard work with him is clearly paying dividends. He partnered Mari to become Grade 1 Gold Semi Final Winner/Champion ensuring them both a place at the Gold Nationals in September. This is the biggest competition on the British Dressage Calendar and a huge achievement for Mari and a young and inexperienced horse to be selected. It is a testament to the empathy she has always felt to horses that Damo was able to overcome his nerves at being in such a new, scary situation.
Damo you have made me so proud this week in a huge atmospheric arena […] I am so proud of you. Mari Durward Akhurst, Para Dressage Rider
After an amazing performance at Wellington, this exciting new partnership as also been selected to represent GB at Hartpury CPEDI3* (the venue of their first competition together) at the beginning of July and Mari will be sporting her new GB helmet.
Mari was also named as a Sporting Champion, which will give her access to a gym and swimming pool – a great help for her fitness training.
Bear, Mari’s beautiful BFG, is back in action and going really well after a break. We’ll undoubtedly be hearing more from him very shortly…
All of the above is so well deserved. Mari is the most determined, committed, courageous person you could meet. Her philosophy is that whatever happens happens for a reason and she remains positive and focused whatever life throws at her. She is a true inspiration. It is wonderful to see that her indomitable attitude is paying off. We first met Mari when she successfully applied for a Bader Grant and we subsequently invited her to become a DBF Ambassador. We were honoured and delighted when she accepted. We are so proud to be associated with Mari.
Links (will open in new tabs):
- To find out more about Mari’s journey please click on the LINK.
- Check out Mari’s Facebook Page for more news and information