November 2007

Paralympic Training Camp in Limerick

I attended another Multisport Paralympic Training Camp in Limerick from 9 - 11 November. I borrowed Donie's ex-Grand Prix horse which meant me and Mum could save money by getting bargain flights on Ryanair - we paid something ridiculous like 1 euro for one of our flights.

I enjoyed the training as Donie showed me how to do piaffe, passage and Spanish walk on his very well-trained horse!

We had lots of talks showing feedback from our Camp in Beijing and about next year's plans - we were even measured for our Paralympic uniforms - just in case! It looks like Ireland will only secure one or two places at the Para Equestrian events in Hong Kong, but I still have a chance of being given one of those places.

British Dressage Para Riders Meeting - Northern region

On 12 November a meeting was held at Middleton Park EC for para riders in the Northern region. It was chaired by our Para rep, Cathy Burrell, and Northern RDO, Chrissie Havis, and was the first of its kind in our region. The consensus was that we want more para competitions in the North and more training sessions - mounted and unmounted. Cathy has already fixed a new date for a Para Spring Qualifier in the North at Richmond EC on 16th Feb 2008 (with a training session the day before) and is trying to set up a couple more for us - see the current fixture list here.

Cathy is very enthusiastic and is clearly keen to get more riders with disabilities competing in dressage in our region. I have had lessons with her for some time through our RDA dressage group and she trains a number of other para riders. She is a good trainer because she treats disabled riders just like anyone else and is not afraid to push them to achieve their full potential.

Visit the British Dressage (BD) website to find out what's going in the Northern region. You don't have to be a member of BD to attend the training sessions and competitions organised by BD, so get involved!

Saint Lo 2007 CPEDI** International

The French FEI Para Equestrian International took place on 16 - 18 November 2007 at Saint Lo, Normandy. Riders from Belgium, France and GB attended. The team competition was narrowly won by GB with a team of Deb Criddle, Lucy Barclay and Philippa Bishop closely followed by the Belgians then the French.

The next event on the international calendar is the Paralympic qualifier in Australia, planned for January 2008. There is currently a serious outbreak of equine influenza in Australia which led to this competition being cancelled in October and rescheduled for January. However, it looks likely that this may have to be moved to New Zealand as the problems with equine 'flu in Oz persist.

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