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Mari’s 2017 blog

What a year it has been and where to start.

When I got the news I had been selected to represent GB with Bear and Sky I was thrilled. We have had a long journey with Bear but to be taking him to his first International was an incredible feeling.

Bear was a superstar and took everything in his stride. I was thrilled with his results and to finish in the top 6 overall definitely shows he has a promising future ahead, especially as we are not a fully established partnership yet! Sky strutted his stuff and went the best he has ever gone, yes we had a few little mistakes but it was a very big atmosphere. To come 2nd not just once but three times behind a triple Paralympic gold medallist was a dream come true. Not only that but to get over 70% on two of the days proved that hard work really pays off. Never did I imagine coming in the top six with both horses!

We knew we still had more to give and so preparation started for the BD Nationals. Sadly I could only take one horse and Sky had got the higher score at the Semis so Bear had to stay at home. We did not have the best run up to this event and I can honestly say that Sky looked after me and tried his heart out, it was an extremely harmonious test and showed what a good bond we have.

I honestly couldn’t believe it when we read the scoreboard and found out that I had won – Sky and I were the Grade 1 Gold National Champions. This was a dream come true – we got over 71% with one judge giving us 75%. The Nationals is one competition that I have always wanted to win, the mounted prize giving and lap of honour were absolutely fantastic and it was great to have my trainer Rob there with me and my support team looking on.

I have recently been selected onto the British Equestrian Federation Excel Talent programme and I am hoping this will be a stepping stone onto the World Class programme.

I have enjoyed doing some speaking this year and attending events for my sponsors and the charities that support me. I most recently spoke to a group of guides about my story and my journey to where I am now and the fantastic Charity that is Arctic One, who I am very proud to be an Ambassador for. I was also invited to attend the Bucks and MK Sports Awards as a guest and had an amazing time and heard some very inspirational speakers.

With the deterioration in my condition it has not been easy but I have stuck with it and will continue to fight. A lot of people have asked me how I do it and have said that I am very inspiring but I have one motto and that is ‘everything happens for a reason’. I can do it as I have a goal and that’s to win a gold medal and until I do that I will not stop!

I am so excited about 2018 and am hoping we can step up another level, aiming for selection for a major championship this would be the absolute icing on the cake and would bring me a massive step closer to winning my first medal!

All this would not have been possible without my amazing support team, my family and all my fantastic sponsors and supporters. Not forgetting my super trainer Rob Waine. Without Rob’s help and support I would not have achieved what I have done this year. Everyone works so well together to make one fantastic team; I am very lucky.