2024 Update from Richard Neumann

In this 2024 Update from Richard Neumann, the Para Dressage Rider shares photos, videos and news and  it is clear how much he and his competition horse, Smartie, have improved. They are now clearly a force to be reckoned with in the Para Dressage world.

Bader Grant Recipient Richard has an extraordinary work ethic and clearly it is paying off. Having been told after a serious injury sustained while playing rugby that he would be confined to a wheelchair, Richard decided to prove the doctors and the prognosis wrong. He did, and, not long after taking his first steps had decided to try riding… Not just riding but dressage! He worked incredibly hard to improve his physical strength and fitness as can be seen in some of the previous posts (to which you’ll find a link at the bottom of this page), and practised determinedly with his horse, Otto. Very sadly Otto who had suffered a leg injury had to be put to sleep last year when an MRI scan revealed that his pain and resulting lameness couldn’t be cured. This was a heartbreaking decision for Richard who had hoped that Otto could live out a peaceful and happy retirement. Richard’s other horse, Smartie, was drafted in to fill Otto’s shoes, and proved to be a star in his own right. Since then the partnership has gone from strength to strength and we were absolutely delighted to learn that Richard and Smartie had won a 1st and that the team are one good result away from representing Great Britain: Richard’s long-standing dream. We know that Richard will give this his absolute best shot. As he says, he keeps trying, has put his papers in for the International this year  and it’s up to the selectors now.

2024 Update from Richard Neumann
The hard work is paying off…
2024 Update from Richard Neumann
Smartie dreaming

We will keep our fingers firmly crossed that Richard gets the result he so deserves. He and Smartie certainly make a good looking team!

In the meantime, Richard has another hot prospect! His young horse, Kisper, is currently having a bit of a holiday but will be back in training in March /April and Richard hopes to get both horses qualified to compete at Hartpury in 2025.

The 2024 Update from Richard Neumann included photos and videos and we’re very grateful as always to him for sharing some of these joyful moments. It’s particularly heartwarming to see young Kisper, clearly full of the joys of spring, albeit early, and kicking up his heels in the paddock. It is wonderful also to see Richard and Smartie looking so much in tune and demonstrating just how far they’ve developed as a team.

We wish Richard all the very best for 2024 and will keep you updated!

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Training the high-tech way!

Para Dressage Rider, Richard Neumann, is going from strength to strength. He has kindly sent us some videos of his new training technique: training the high-tech way!

He reports that the equine members of his team are all well. The beautiful Smartie, who took over as Richard’s competition horse when, very sadly, his beloved Otto had to be put to sleep, is still performing brilliantly and is now part of the British Dressage Para Academy. This was a huge achievement given that Richard has only been riding competitively for a relatively short time and, prior to that, had been told by doctors that he was unlikely to walk unaided again! Richard, who is incredibly dedicated and, as you’ll see from an earlier post linked at the bottom of this one, not afraid to push himself to the limits in pursuit of being the best he can be, is apparently working on his balance. It makes me feel tired just watching him train! I was tickled to see how training methods have changed since the dim and distant past when I was taught to ride. Training the high-tech way is such a wonderful addition to the training methods available to riders now and I can’t help wishing that this amazing electronic horse had been in existence then.

I am working on my balance, we are on track for honours to represent Great Britain 🇬🇧 and being a gold rider Richard Neumann – Para Dressage Rider



Richard is also excited about his young horse, Kisper, who he has been gently bringing on since getting him as a youngster. He has huge potential and now Richard is riding him the pair are building a very promising partnership. You can link to a video showing this lovely boy’s potential at the bottom of this post. I predict that this partnership will go to the top and that Richard will achieve his dream of competing for Team GB in the Para Dressage.

Another new training aid is a device which enables riders to see where their weight is on the saddle, enabling a better understanding of balance and weight distribution. It’s fascinating the part science can play in improving riding skills now.

Training the high-tech way!


The start of his fight to reach the top in a new sport in his own words:

I was boxing when I was offered a full time contract to play rugby. During my career I achieved international honours on several occasions, unfortunately on my last international I injured myself in a way that put me in a wheelchair and was advised I would never walk again, that was on May 17th 2010, on May 11th 2011 I took my first unaided step, I wanted to do something to help me  physically, mentally and emotionally get back to my old life as much as I could. (Richard Neumann – Para Dressage Rider)

We are so proud of what Richard has achieved since he first applied for a Bader Grant to help him on his journey and wish him and his team the very best of luck and success ongoing. He couldn’t deserve it more.

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Grant Recipient Richard Neumann

We’re always delighted to be kept updated by our Bader Grant Recipients but, sadly, some news is not as welcome as others.

Grant Recipient Richard Neumann, Para Dressage Rider, updated us with very mixed news. He reported with great sadness that he’d had to have his beloved horse, Otto, put to sleep after a long but ultimately unsuccessful fight to get him sound. Otto had already been retired from competition because of lameness but the hope was to get him fit enough to return to the field and live out a peaceful, comfortable and happy retirement. Sadly, an MRI scan revealed that this would not be possible.

Otto had played a very special part in Richard’s life, partnering him on his quest to become a successful Para Dressage rider when he’d been told that, following a serious spinal injury playing Rugby, he’d never walk again. Richard was determined to prove this prognosis wrong and not only started to walk again but with his determined fighting spirit kicking in, decided to give riding a go. He found that he had a real aptitude for it and Otto was the horse who helped him start to prove that in competition; his loyal and very beautiful partner as they steadily began to climb up the rankings.

Otto’s stablemate, Smartie, has stepped in to fill Otto’s shoes and he and Richard have formed a good and trusting partnership but Otto will never be forgotten.

On a happier note, and much thanks is due to his early partnership with Otto, we are proud and delighted to hear that Grant Recipient Richard Neumann has just been selected to represent England at the home internationals again. he is hopeful of getting to represent Great Britain by the end of the year. We’re sure you’ll join us in wishing this courageous competitor success in achieving this goal. His determination and talent has got him this far so the sky’s the limit! We’ll keep you updated with his progress so watch this space!

Check out Richard’s Facebook Page via the link below to see his happy and healthy horses living their best lives. Hopefully Otto is kicking his heels up and enjoying pastures new somewhere on the other side…

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Richard Neumann prepares to represent GB

Bader Grant recipient, Para Dressage Rider Richard Neumann, is getting prepared to represent Great Britain on his horse, Smartie.

Richard Neumann prepares to represent GB but Smartie (above right), on the other hand, is blissfully unaware that he soon going to have to work! He’s having a lovely relaxing time grazing with his 2 stable mates, relatively old hand, Otto (2nd left), and precociously talented youngster, Kisper (left).

In the videos below you will see Kisper who likes almost nothing more than a good scratch

Kisper enjoys a good scratch

and Richard and his horse, Smartie, training together.

Richard and Smartie in training

It’s extraordinary to realise that only 12 years ago, following a serious injury playing rugby, Richard was told that he’d never walk again. First he disproved that prognosis, taking his first unaided step a year later, then, in 2014, he decided to try riding to help regain his fitness, found he had an aptitude for it and now he is competing as a para dressage rider for his country. An extraordinary achievement!

In Richard’s words:

I was boxing when I was offered a full time contract to play rugby. During my career I achieved international honours on several occasions, unfortunately on my last international I injured myself in a way that put me in a wheelchair and was advised I would never walk again, that was on May 17th 2010, on May 11th 2011 I took my first unaided step, I wanted to do something to help me  physically, mentally and emotionally get back to my old life as much as I could.
I started to ride in September 2014  and found I enjoyed the challenge, I began to have lessons and go to the occasional show,  I now ride and am aiming for international honours once again. I run ten miles three times a week and train every day. After three major operations I am hoping there is no more, but cannot be sure. I now have the same ambition I had as a young rugby player, nothing is unachievable if you believe you can achieve your dream, However I was incredibly fortunate that after my injury I had support and encouragement, everybody can achieve the life they want with the right encouragement and support, looking for solutions and not problems and seeing the situation you find yourself in as the start of an amazing journey. When I was told I would probably never walk again as an international sports person I was devastated, however if that would have not happened I would have never have had the opportunity to represent my country again. (Richard Neumann)

Richard has promised to update us after the event. We’re sure you’ll join us in wishing this courageous, determined and, as you can see from the above, very hard working and committed athlete the very best of luck in the meantime…

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  • For more posts about Richard Neumann click HERE



Great start to Richard Neumann’s year

We’re delighted to report a great start to Richard Neumann’s year.

Para Dressage rider, Richard Neumann qualified for the Equissage Pulse Para Winter Championships in February and has gone from strength to strength since then.

Richard has been competing on Smartie while Otto was out of action and they formed a winning partnership. As you will have seen in a previous post, the pair were selected to participate in the Para Home Internationals, where they got a 3rd and are now on course to compete at Hartpury in September.

Following the great start to Richard Neumann’s year, he recently notified us that he and Smartie have just qualified for an able bodied festival, the Summer Area Festival. This is an extraordinary achievement for someone who suffered a very serious injury playing rugby and was told by doctors that he’d probably never walk again, He defeated that prognosis and then, just 6 years ago, took up riding and the rest, as they say, is history! With the sheer determination that got him walking again, he learned to ride and is now being invited to compete in National Championships. We are so proud to have been able to support Richard in his quest and to honour his courage and commitment through the Bader Grant Scheme.

Richard is very excited to have taken on a young horse, Kisper, who he describes as having huge potential. Just approaching 3, Kisper is full of youthful high spirits and a real character as you can see from the videos.

We wish Richard and his beautiful team the best of luck and success in their ongoing challenges.

Below are some videos of Kisper simply expressing the joy of being alive! A treat for us all.

(amazing the fun you can have with a tuft of grass – a horse with a sense of humour, I’d say!)

And also the lovely Kisper showing his potential with an effortless natural jump over poles in the arena. A star in the making…

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Selection for Richard Neumann

We are so proud of Bader Grant recipient, Para Dressage Rider, Richard Neumann who has just received confirmation of his selection to represent British Dressage in the South and East Region at the Para Home International.

Selection for Richard Neumann, who had been told he’d never walk again, represents an incredible achievement. Not only did he prove the doctors wrong regarding the walking, but then took up riding to boot! He discovered that he had an aptitude for it and began to compete; the rest is history. He has been riding for only 6 years, 2 of which were in lockdown, and in that time has gone from complete beginner to selection to represent British Dressage. Well done, Richard, and, of course Smartie “a true super star”, his current competition horse.

The future is looking positive too as Richard has just taken on a young horse called Kisper who he describes as an amazing prospect. He has sent some wonderful photos and videos of this very beautiful and spirited youngster and I will post them after Easter. Such joie de vivre is a delight to see! For now you can enjoy the taster above!

Richard is understandably over the moon to have received this news:

To say I am happy would be an understatement Richard Neumann, Para Dressage Rider

It is worth remembering though that it is sheer hard work, determination and commitment that has brought about Richards’s success. He has an incredible work ethic and the Bader spirit in spades! Huge congratulations from all at DBF!


Selection for Richard Neumann

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Para Winter Championships

Richard Neumann reports the postponement of the Para Winter Championships. These were due to take place on the 18th – 20th February but have had to be delayed due to the inclement weather.

This was sad news for Richard who learned that he’d qualified for the Championships with both his horses – double celebration! – just 10 years after taking his first steps following the medical prognosis that he’d never walk again. An extraordinary achievement for Richard who had ended up in a wheelchair after a serious injury while playing Rugby.

The Championships may have been postponed but training and preparations must obviously continue and Richard has sent in some videos which show the dedication, determination and commitment required to compete in his sport at the top level. It makes me feel tired just to watch him!

He will keep us updated regarding the revised date for the Para Winter Championships (let’s hope they don’t become the Para Summer Championships!) and in the meantime we wish him success with both his own preparations those of his horses, Smartie (featured), and Otto.

The DBF is immensely proud to support this courageous athlete.

The first two videos show Richard in training with the beautiful Smartie and the remaining 3, the gruelling exercises Richard has to undertake to build and maintain the core strength so important for the rider in dressage. Nothing can alter the unfortunate postponement of the Para Winter Championships, but Richard is certainly doing his best to ensure that he and his 4-legged team mates will be prepared for them when they do finally take place!


To learn more about Bader Grant Recipient Richard’s extraordinary and inspiring journey from wheelchair to horseback, you can follow the link from the Bader Grant Recipients page below. The link will open in a new tab.



Richard Neumann’s great start to 2022

Following a serious injury playing rugby, Bader Grant Recipient Richard Neumann ended up in a wheelchair advised he would never walk again.

10 years ago he confounded his prognosis and took his first steps, eventually followed by his first steps on horseback. Richard discovered the benefits of horseriding for physical, emotional and mental health and found that he has an aptitude for the sport. He decided to take it up competitively…

He successfully applied to us for a Bader Grant to help him to achieve his dream of competing for his country in this new sport. We couldn’t have been more proud and delighted when Richard recently contacted us to tell us that, on Wednesday 5th January, he was advised by British Dressage that he had qualified for the National Para Winter Championships with both his beautiful and talented horses, Otto and Smartie. Richard Neumann’s great start to 2022 was an extraordinary achievement: from being told he’d never walk again, to being selected to compete on 2 horses in National Championships in a new sport in under 10 years.

Richard’s immediate ambition now is to get to both the area championships and the able bodied regionals this year to gain competition experience.

We are doing our best to get that elusive international invitation, we are upping the training to maximise the opportunities.  Richard Neumann – Para Dressage Rider

Richard Neumann's great start to 2022
How the good news arrived!


Huge congratulations to Richard, who has displayed such courage, determination and Bader spirit in spades. We are so proud of him and wish him and his team the very best of luck and success on this next stage of his journey. This recognition is so well deserved.

Richard sent us some lovely photographs of his first competition horse Echo, who is now thoroughly enjoying life in retirement!

Richard Neumann's great start to 2022
Echo – Blue sky thinking
Richard Neumann's great start to 2022
Echo and Richard – a partnership forged over the years with mutual trust and affection

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Richard Neumann shares lockdown thoughts…

As life slowly begins to return to something resembling the way it used to be – to whatever extent we would want it to – Bader Grant Recipient Para Dressage rider Richard Neumann shares lockdown thoughts.

I’m so grateful to Richard for sending us this wonderfully honest and thoughtful message about a time that affected all of us (and, yes, our animals too) in so many ways. The challenges we all faced during lockdown were very much influenced by our personal circumstances but there’s no doubt that owning animals and being responsible for their welfare was a challenge in itself.  This may be especially true when the animals in question are competition level horses, used to being regularly exercised and trained and needing to work regularly with their riders to establish and main a trusting partnership.

Read on as Richard Neumann shares lockdown thoughts with us. Thank you, Richard, for this personal insight into how Covid and its repercussions affected one man striving to reach the top of his sport and his 4-legged team.


The first lock down was the biggest problem we had, the yard was put into quarantine and all horses were ether on full livery with no access to them, I chose to have them in a field and look after them turned the lorry into a tack and feed room and I must admit changing a poultice in a field is not for the faint hearted. When things started to ease the horses were brought back into the stable and we could ride in the school or hack out, this was a god send as I was feeling the stress of not living a normal life, at least this brought a modicum of normality back to my life, and I could get the horsebox back into a horsebox. I also did a few charity challenges which kept me in a good place mentally, however I can’t begin to imagine how any one less fortunate that myself got through this.

All competition was cancelled so training was the only competition you could get, but in the grand scheme of things there was plenty to feel grateful for.

The second lock down came and went almost unnoticed it does say something about you when you can go into lock down and your personal life doesn’t really change. I believe I have a better relationship with my animals because of lock down as we spent so much time together. Now things are getting back to a normalish situation competitions have reopened, the gyms have reopened, and life is getting back to resemble a little of the life before lockdown.

The things I have learnt from this situation and a lesson I hope we all have is that the simple things are the ones we should treasure the most, family is more important than most things and we should be grateful for what we have not what we believe we are entitled to. I was incredibly fortunate to have everything I care and love around me in this situation. Without them I can’t imagine how I would have come through the other side, now we are looking forward to the winter championships the regionals and hopefully getting our first invitation to represent the county.

(Richard Neumann)

Richard Neumann shares lockdown thoughts
Smartie rosetted and rugged…



…and relaxing after a successful day

Above you can see the lovely Smartie after a recent competition when he stood in for Otto who had sadly injured himself. Smartie acquitted himself beautifully as you can see in the top image where he is proudly rosetted and rugged, before a well-earned rest back in his stable.

You can see other posts from Bader Grant Recipient Richard by following the link.