Michael was born with a rare condition called Dejerine – Sottas. It means that he have very little sensation, severe muscle weakness and a lack of motor control. Because of this it was suggested by his Physiotherapist that he should try riding. This is when he first went to Penniwells RDA purely for therapy.
Michael progressed from being dependant on a leader & 2 side helpers to being able to ride on his own. This is where his interest in dressage first became apparent. Having begun riding on Flossie and winning competitions he was then very lucky to find his first pony Brockholm Royal Vagabond & more recently Pebbly Tarragon.
His most memorable moment was competing in Belgium with Brockhom Royal Vagabond – This was his first competition abroad and he won the juniors section.
In July 2011 Michael was given the ride on Lambrusco III, owned by The Para Dressage Training Trust (PDTT), and previously ridden by Sophie Christiansen. They competed at the Bishop Burton Para Dressage 2* Senior International in the grade 1a class. This was his first 2* International and they excelled all expectations by being the youngest in the world to win at this level.
I now have a new horse called Aura From Hof Kasselmann Dressaage in Hagen. They will be aiming for The Europeans,World Championships and ultimately the Paralympics.
He is lucky enough to be coached by Sarah Healing. Having been based at Penniwells RDA Centre since 1994 she has a good understanding of working with Michael’s disability as well as his horses needs.
Michael’s Notable Achievements
- British Dressage Para Talent Spotting Winner
- Young Disabled Sports Performer of The year for Barnet
- Lloyds TSB Local Hero for past 3 years nominated to carry the Torch for London 2012 Olympics
- Torch Bearer on 25th July for London 2012 Olympics (Between Harrow and Harringey)
- Junior International Grade 1a Champion, riding for Great Britain at Millfield x4yrs
- Junior International Grade 1a Champion, riding for Great Britain at Moorsele, Belgium 2010
- British Dressage KBIS Grade1a National Champion 2010
- Youngest in the world to win 2* Senior International Para Dressage Competition.
- British Dressage Para Grade 1a/1b Winter Champion 2014
- Qualified for BD Winter Championships 2015 Grade 1a on Aura.
Follow Michael’s journey on his website, Twitter or Facebook.