Winter Para Dressage Championships 2016

I am delighted to say I have some very exciting news to tell you all.

Training has been going really well and I was really looking forward to the Para Dressage Winter Championships. My times came out a few days before and I found out I was on at 9 and 11am. So that meant an extremely early start as they were being held at Vale View in Leicestershire.

The alarm was set for 4:30am and up we got, arrived at the yard by 5 and we left just before 6. We had a really good journey up to Vale View and arrived with plenty of time to spare. When we got there we unloaded Sky and mum went to take him to do the arena walk. He walked around nicely and didn’t find any of the flowers spooky, which was good!

But Sky seemed very tense and unsettled; not his normal self. I’m not sure why but we put it down to the fact that he hadn’t had his breakfast as he was going to have it between the two classes. We have never taken him to a show before and not given him his breakfast before we left!

He also seemed to not like the horses above him; there was a warm up arena above him which was different for him. Anyway with Julie’s help I got him to calm down and managed to warm him up. He felt like he might explode at any minute so we didn’t do any canter until we were in the competition arena.

The bell went and we started our test. It went really well although there was an element of tension. But I was pleased with the test considering the warm up. Lots of people had been watching and said what a nice test it was.

Time to go and have a look at the score board. So off I went with my dad and I scooted up to the main Vale View building. The score was just over 66%. We had won the class and got our first ever sash which was amazing. I’ve always wanted one!

It was time to get ready for the second test, the Championship test.

I rode into the warm up – there was still an element of the tension. He warmed up a lot better; we could also canter which was a good start. Unfortunately one of the riders in the warm up lost control of their horse and almost collided with me and Sky. It was a close one. But thankfully we were OK as mum was also there! But as you can imagine Sky was very worked up by all of it.

Once in the arena he settled a bit, the bell went and we started our test. Unfortunately the tension was still evident and I am sure it affected our score. The test went well and before long it was finished and I was giving Skysie a massive pat and everyone was clapping.

I was so proud of him for keeping a lid on everything. Once I had cooled him off we took him back to the lorry and untacked him, washed him off and I did his stretches with him. It was chilly so he had his rug put on, then he was tied up to the lorry and given his haynet – a very happy pony.

I then scooted off with my mum to go and watch a few friends of mine compete. We left dad babysitting Sky. My friends were just doing a qualifier as their Championship was the following day. In between watching my two friends we went to see if my score was up; I had got just over 66% which I was pleased with considering everything that had happened.

I was even more delighted to find out that I had won, we were the champions. I still can’t believe it!

After watching my friend it was time to scooter over to tell Sky he had won and was the Winter Champion. He was delighted too as you can imagine and carried on eating his haynet!

I scooted over and went to sit in the indoor school. There was a podium set up with first, second and third place.

Before long it was the grade 3 prize giving. There was introductory music to walk into and then my first hurdle was trying to get on top of the podium, as there were no steps. But thankfully dad was on hand to help me get on and then I had my trusted walking stick to keep me upright. It was such a brilliant feeling; I was presented with my prizes and got another sash, a rosette, and a gift from Nirvana Spa, prize money and a shield. Everyone clapped and cheered I couldn’t stop smiling; all our hard work had paid off.

We were then meant to have a lap of honour to ‘We are the Champions’ but unfortunately I can’t walk very far so all the winners just stood there and everyone clapped.

It was then time to take all of my amazing prizes to show Sky. Before long we were on our way home we had a good trip home. Skysie was pleased to be back in his own bed with a fresh haynet and his dinner, which of course had extra carrots in it!! He then proceeded to tell the whole yard he was the champion. He was one very proud pony.

<I cannot thank everyone enough, for helping me to achieve another one of my goals. My mum and dad for driving me and supporting me every step of the way and grooming for me; I could not be where I am without this support. My sister who sent me messages even though she’s the other side of the world. Julie Payne a great friend for helping and supporting me; I couldn’t have done it without her kind words and encouragement. Of course not forgetting my fantastic sponsors whose support is greatly appreciated.