Hi, my name is Rowan and I am a Grade 1 para dressage rider. I was diagnosed with my disability from birth and started riding at the RDA just before my 3rd birthday. When I was 10 my parents bought me my first horse and I progressed to competing nationally soon after. Grade 1 is the most severely disabled group of riders and is walk-only.
I have a Class 1 Connemara pony called Kilimazing Tiger Lily (Tiger) that my coach Claire Wyatt from So Very Sport Horses found for me. I have owned her for nearly 3 years. She is incredible because she has learned how to cope with my disability, which includes a condition that makes my muscles spasm and stops them working. I ride using a bar rein and voice command. Tiger is very good at listening to me and working with me. Claire schools Tiger as well as coaching me and as a Grade 1 rider I can have someone ride Tiger in before I get on for the last 20 minutes when competing, so Claire always comes to competitions with me.
Tiger and I go for a lot of hacks as well as schooling because it keeps us both fit, it keeps Tiger from getting bored with schooling in walk only and it keeps her seeing lots of different things so she doesn’t get spooky. We go for an hour’s hack usually 3 times a week.
I work very hard to maintain the incredible relationship that Tiger has with me. I do lots of things with her to keep her trusting me, like reading to her, taking her on picnics, teaching her how to knock on the front door for carrots, teaching her how to dance for polos and how to play football. She’s really very good at football and we joke that if we don’t make it in Dressage we are going to offer her to Tottenham Hotspur!
I am the current Grade 1 Para National Silver Champion, I have represented Wales three times and have represented Great Britain as well, at the CPEDI. Tiger loves competing and particularly likes the polos she gets once she has finished. She also loves that she has Rowen Barbary Carrot Mash added to her dinner as a treat after competing.
Tiger has Solution Mash because we know it gives her all the nutrition she needs but doesn’t ever make her hotter to ride. As an international para rider with very little energy and function it is really very important to manage Tiger’s feed so that she is fed to maintain her athleticism, not make her hot-up and also have the reassurance of the NOPS BETA stamp.
I have a phrase that I always use, that keeps me trying my hardest in my riding career is ‘what can I do today to change tomorrow’ and I often use that to motivate myself, especially because the conditions that I have are very painful. Also, I really love my pony so it’s never a hardship spending time with her!<< Back