Saturday 13th August 2016
Para Riders Impress at the Horsezone.co.uk British Showjumping National Championships
The crowd were treated to an impressive display of teamwork by all horse and rider combinations competing in the Para Club Championships this afternoon, which took place centre stage in Championship Arena 2. The Championships, kindly sponsored by Horsezone.co.uk, consisted of five titles which were awarded to the various grades. The grading system ranges from Grade I, II, III, IV with grades representative of the competitor’s level of disability.
Winner of the 90cm National Para Equestrian Grade III Championship was Deena Webster riding Matetsi. Deena had a motorbike accident in 1993 and was told she would never walk again. It took her two and half years to walk without aids, and she has undergone extensive surgery on her legs. Despite her injuries, the brave young woman still competes up to intermediate eventing and 1.15m show jumping. Matetsi is a very experienced horse and their partnership was clear today.
In the 80cm National Para Equestrian Grade III Championship, Flossie England was the only rider in the class but rode an exceptional round riding Glad Your Mine. 11 year old Flossie has suffered from Erb’s Palsy and has partial paralysis of her right arm and her right shoulder. Undeterred by this, Flossie began riding at the age of four and is an active member of the South Wold Hunt Branch of The Pony Club. So far she has managed double clears at every competition she’s been to in the last 12 months.
In the 80cm National Para Equestrian Grade II, 23 year old Toby Bevins took first and second place riding Baloe V and Askan Van Overis respectively. Toby was born with a considerable area of malformed brain which is rendered him hemiplegic with weakness down his right hand side. He also suffers from dyspraxia and has epilepsy but this does not stop him from enjoying his horses. Baloe V is a 10 year old Dutch warmblood who he has had since Christmas. He is a school master so helps Toby over the bigger tracks. They have won 14 classes before today and they have gained direct qualification for Aintree. Their next plans are to ride at Scope in the Amateur B tour.
Karen Bostock took the 70cm National Para Equestrian Grade I riding Rossini IV. Having ridden since she was three, Karen trained for a career in horses and by the age of 24 she was running a successful competition yard with 42 horses. Tragically, Karen was in a near-fatal car accident where she was impaled through her chest by a fence post leaving severe injuries to her torso. After 20 years out of the saddle she found Rossini, the same time para show jumping started so she took the opportunity to give it a go and has never looked back.
The 60cm National Para Club Equestrian Grade IV was won by Ronnie Robinson riding Ardcarrig Snowball. Ronnie is 11 years old and travelled all the way from Norfolk for the show but he made the trip well worthwhile by taking the win, despite being severely visually impaired. Snowball in 22 years old and has been in the family for 12 years. Admirably, Ronnie’s dream is to compete in the Para Olympics so he can inspire others to follow their dreams and not let anything get in their way.
The final class in the Championship was the 70cm National Para Club Equestrian Grade IV which was won by 20 year old Jessica Dries riding Moraco Springs. Jessica is also visually impaired and has been riding most of her life. Marco is an ex-national hunt horse but is very honest and loyal to Jessica that she trusts him with her life. A truly inspirational class to end the day.