Hello Dressage Peeps,
For those that don’t know me I’m Sarah Williams your Dressage Taranaki secretary, mother of three beautiful two legged children, and mother to three beautiful four legged children. Wife to Hayden, the poor suffering man who puts up with all the above.
I also have Multiple Sclerosis, a degenerative neurological disease that is slowly taking away my ability to function on my own. I was diagnosed in 2009 after a period of vertigo, numbness in my hands, and what’s known as the MS hug or banding (unable to feel the skin on my chest). After a period of self and life adjusting, I returned to the one sport I have loved since the age of 10. I knew the risks being on a horse when my balance and muscle weakness are as severe as what they are, but I was determined to ride until I can’t ride anymore.
I was given the amazing opportunity to purchase a beautiful, 4 year old Andalusian Dutch Warmblood black mare by the name of Arum Park Christmas Eve (aka Eve). Our journey began, I had others before her but not for what I intended, which was to produce a dressage diva that was one with me. As like all new relationships we had our ups and downs, my downs hurt a little more than her downs. But years later we are a confident team competing at level 2 and dabbling in level 3. A partnership that cannot be described, except for perfect in my eyes.
Onto 2018, and after much consideration I decided to move to compete at Para Dressage. This was a little scary at first because I’m the last person to consider I have anything standing in my way. The more I looked into it and spoke to other para riders, I realised that riding para puts me on a level competing field with everyone else. MS is a life sentence with no cure, and I’m at the stage where I’m constantly in pain, blurry vision in one eye, have involuntary movement in my legs, muscle weakness in my legs and hands. Those are just the symptoms that affect my riding, let alone my day to day life of work and raising a family.
I have so many people to thank who have made this possible for me, because without them I couldn’t do this. Two such people are Margo Veneer and Claire Norton who have assisted me with information, how para riding operates, equipment to make it easier for me, and assisting judges with what to expect. I’m also very grateful to Dressage Taranaki, because without them I couldn’t compete in the sport I love.
Even though I’m the only para rider currently competing in the Taranaki area, I know there will be more people out there that are eligible. If anyone is interested to know more, please contact Claire Norton firstname.lastname@example.org or myself email@example.com, also ESNZ has a section dedicated to Para Dressage for eligibility and information. I have a bucket list tick off to go to HOY, intend on fulfilling that dream....
I can, so I will.
Para Equestrian Rules
Click the image below to be directed to the latest Para Equestrian rules on the ESNZ website.
Para Equestrian Officials
National Classifier: Vicky Melville
Ph. 03 543 3628 | Email me
In order to take part in Para Equestrian Dressage, riders need to be classified according to their functional ability. After the assessment riders are issued with a profile and grade to ensure they are competing against those with similar disabilities.
Para-Equestrian Sport Manager: Brooke Dillon
Ph. 027 695 8669 | Email me
National Rider Representative: Nicola Essex
Ph. 022 360 4246 | Email me