My disability has made it hard for me to make friends and I used to get bullied a lot as I was different to other children and much slower than them. But then I found riding and things changed as it was something I could excel at. I was able to develop a fantastic partnership with the horses that I ride and after I decided to have a go at competing it has all spiralled on from there. Mari Akhurst
If you’ve been following Bader Grant Recipient of the Month, Mari Akhurst’s blogs, you’ll know that she has been battling to achieve sufficient points on both her horses, Bear, and the more experienced Sky, in order to qualify for the KBIS Semi Finals.
I was woefully ignorant of the qualifying system as I imagine many others are, and asked Mari if she could send information so that I can understand more clearly what’s involved in her achievement.
She has very kindly done so and here is what’s involved in getting to the next stage… As you will know, Mari received a Lady Bader Grant to help her with the physical issues that arise from her condition, thus enabling her to continue the determined pursuit of her goal to compete for Team GB in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
I have Cerebral Palsy, hyper mobility and lax ligaments. My CP affects all four limbs and has left me weaker down my left side than my right. As a result of my CP my coordination, balance and muscle tone are all affected. I have a permanent limp and walk with a walking stick. I am unable to walk long distances and so use a scooter. Mari Akhurst
Mari has qualified on Sky with points to spare and now hopes to do the same riding Bear. Knowing now what’s involved in qualifying 1 horse, let alone 2, while putting yourself through rigorous training to maintain your own strength and fitness with such physical challenges, makes her achievements all the more extraordinary.
You are an inspiration, Mari – thank you!
“At the last competition I got 77% + so that means I got 9 points. I needed 12 to qualify and I already had 11. We get points for the percentages we get but only the individual test counts so we only get points from that test.” – Mari
60.00 – 61.99% 1 point
62.00 – 63.99% 2 points
64.00 – 65.99% 3 points
66.00 – 67.99% 4 points
68.00 – 69.99% 5 points
70.00 – 71.99% 6 points
72.00 – 73.99% 7 points
74.00 – 75.99% 8 points
76.00 – 77.99% 9 points
78.00 – 79.99% 10 points
80.00 % and above 11 points
RULES FOR QUALIFICATION FOR KBIS SEMI FINALS AND BD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Gold Championships held at the BD National Championships Semi Finals (held at Wellington Premier League). To qualify for the semi-finals, combinations must earn points from qualifying classes: 12 points earned from the FEI individual test are required. Six of these points may come from CPEDi3* or above in the qualifying period. A rider may qualify up to two horses for the semi-finals.
The Championship Final (held at the National Championships, Stoneleigh) the top four riders in each grade scoring 65% or over at the semi-final will qualify for the National Championships. To ride at the championships all riders must have an FEI classification. If the numbers qualified for the Final fall below four in a grade, priority for wild card allocation will be given to the next eligible horse/rider combination not qualified with the highest percentage above 65% from that grade at the semi-final. After this process has been completed, a rider already qualified for the final may be issued a wild card on a second horse that achieves 65% or above in the semi-final.
When Mari’s condition deteriorates, she is unable to work and has to raise money herself through fund-raising. It’s an expensive business keeping and training horses to competition fitness and standard and as you will see from the photos on previous blogs, both horses look in very fine condition indeed! Mari does have her own fund-raising page so, if you’d like to help “Get Mari to the Olympics”, please use the link to her GoFundMe Page.
You can read more about Mari’s challenge and about her partnerships with Sky and Bear from her wonderful Blog Page. It makes great reading!