“I am really excited about being a new Horse and Country blogger! I am Natasha, a 19 year old Para Dressage rider from Middlesex.
Currently I am competing Wald Minor, who was formally ridden at Inter I by Ulrik Molgaard and owned by Jean Scharf, however, he is unfortunately not getting any younger! This year he is 20 so as a result we needed to look for a younger horse to run along side “Woody” who will hopefully be a future medal winner.
We brought Lazardo or “Ludo” in January 2008 from Ulrik as a hopeful for the Beijing Paralympics, however, horses being horses, he had an injury and therefore has been off and will hopefully be back in full work at the beginning of 2010. Fortunately we have found a new young horse Cabral or “JP”. He is a Polish, seven year old brown gelding that we brought from Christian Landolt. He has been home with us for two weeks, has settled in incredibly well and is a complete angel, so we have very high hopes for him.
Paralympic Dressage is divided into four categories depending on the level of disability. I compete at Grade two. After an illness at 14 months old, I was left with permanent nerve damage in my legs. When I ride I can't use my legs to ride the horse forward, so we have trained the horses to respond to my voice and seat.
I have been asked to do a demonstration at the European Championships at Windsor as part of the Gala evening on Friday. I will be riding a Pas De Deux with my friend Erin Orford (also a Para Grade two rider) to the music “It Takes Two”. I feel extremely honoured and excited to be part of such an amazing evening but also a little apprehensive as Woody can get rather excited on big occasions! I will be giving regular blog updates for the build up and during my time at the Championships and if you are going, please come and say hi!”