EQUESTRIAN

When I ride my feet don’t touch the ground, it’s like flying. Horses made an indelible hoof print upon my heart long before my blindness got a look in. I fell in love with these magical creatures as a fully sighted three-year-old.

Verity is competing and winning at the highest level ever achieved by any blind rider in the World at Elite Able Bodied competitions.  Her Golden Vision is to represent her country as a member of both Para Olympic and Olympic Dressage Teams.

In 2017 she was ranked 12th in France at Elite Able Bodied level and has been selected to compete Internationally as part of the French Dressage Para Squad, but the ride has not always been smooth.

Having represented Para Team GB in the world championships in Denmark at the age of 18 and trained in Sweden, UK, Denmark and France with some of Europe's top trainers, Verity's hopes to represent Great Britain again in the London 2012 games were dashed by the death of her horse in 2011. A car crash in that same year, took Verity out of the saddle for a year. She was back on the horse in 2013, astride Szekit, the most beautiful Oldenburg gelding.

Verity trained hard for the 2016 Rio Olympics with amazing trainers Sandy Philips (Olympic rider and Grade 1 listed International Judge) and Laura Tomlinson (Olympic gold medalist), only to have their dreams, once again derailed by the 'Blindfold Rule'. This dangerous rule made the wearing of a blindfold obligatory for all medically classified blind riders. So the 'Beat the Blindfold' campaign was born and although they did not win a medal, they won their campaign and in November 2016 the rule was overturned.

The Scoobies

Although Verity counts her horse's strides her competition success is also helped by her amazing team of Scoobies. As a blind dressage rider Verity has the right (granted by the International Federation) to have up to 9 callers positioned at each letter around the dressage arena during her dressage performance. Accuracy is an essential part of dressage tests and this dedicated group of volunteers, whom Verity affectionately calls her Scoobies, provide an audio rather than a visual reference to these letter markers. 

A special 'thank you' to Charles Matthews for his unwavering support and the team of Scoobies (our callers), without whom the competitions would not be possible’. To watch the Scoobies in action click here.

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