Dan is a 21 year old para dressage rider from Staffordshire. He was diagnosed at a very early age with a serious visual impairment. We were told that Dan would never go to mainstream school, probably never recognise people and would have limited prospects. Dan had his struggles at school with bullying and never feeling like he fitted in and never found anything he was good. He tried every sport possible at school but never felt he could give it 100% until 2012 when he was watching the London olympics and watched the dressage and something was sparked inside him. He fell in love with horses and every horse he met seemed to fall in love with him. It was like they knew he had a disability and just looked after him. Dan purchased his first horse in 2016, he was a 17.2hh ex racehorse called Captain Wilson. Dans story was told by Horse & Country and even made its way over to Brazil. Wilson taught Dan alot but when we realised that dressage was not his passion we found him a lovely home so he could be happy. As a para rider you need to be graded which puts you in a category with riders of a similar diaability. The grading process can be lengthy and hardwork but he sucessfully got his grading in 2017 to compete as a visually impaired rider. Dan has had access to some fantastic trainers over the past 3 years and even travelled daily from Staffordshire to Gloucestershire for 14 months to train with an International Dressage rider but last year after his trainer relocated had to move his training back to Staffordshire. Dan whilst training completed a level 1 & level 2 qualification in Equine Studies at college and now is dedicated to become a full time dressage rider with the goal of representing Great Britain in the future with a Paralympic dream. Dan is the owner of a beautiful 5 year old Warmblood called Hugo who he had as his 18th birthday present and was to be his future competition horse and also owned a beautiful mare called Peggy who was his current competition horse, they had only been together 11 months. Last week however Dan suffered the most horrendous week. Dan was given the news that Hugo was not going to be his future. Hugo had picked up an injury about 18 months ago and we did everything possible under the expert guidance of equine vets to help him recover but due to the injury he sustained it became apparent that despite everything we and the vets had done that the injury could not be fixed. Hugo is the sweetest horse despite his size. He has been the best young horse we could of hoped for. He loves people and food. He has for the last 18 months been on the best holiday loving life and being pampered like he deserves to be. Then through the cruelist twist of fate Dan lost his beautiful Peggy on friday evening to Colic which was a result of a twisted bowel. It was a event that couldnt of been forseen by anybody and again she received immediate expert veterinary care. We tried to get her comfortable to travel for colic surgery but she deteriorated so quickly that transport was not a safe option and was not recoverable. We decided to send Peggy to heaven at home surrounded by the people that loved her the most. She was not scared or frightened and passed peacefully knowing she was loved and cared for. Too lose two in the same week was sole destroying and broke his heart. The loss of these two horses could never have been forseen and is solely due to the worst and most terrible luck. Both of Dans horses lived in 5 star surroundings and were treated like royalty. They had 24 hour on site care. Dan has been lucky enough that his trainer has allowed him to ride one of her horses at the moment to try and allow his heart and head some time to process what has happened and start to heal but in order to fulfil his dreams and goals and have a career riding needs another horse but it has to be extra special to be a para horse. We are looking worldwide for the right horse but any candidates will need to be visited by Dan. Any donations received however big or small would be greatly appreciated. The donations received will be helping Dan to purchase a new horse and if abroad transport it safely to the United kingdom. His training and competing could then restart to help him achieve his future goals. Dan understands this is a big ask but would like to in the future to say thank you for any support he gets to carry out a charity event in the form of a dressage demonstration with his new horse to show that disability has no limits if you have the right team behind you and the belief you can do it. The proceeds of a demonstration/ charity event would passed to another para dressage rider who is either looking to secure a horse or a rider who needs funding for training. Dan wants to give Peggy and Hugo a legacy of helping riders like they helped him.
- Hart Family
- Hart Family
- Stephanie Roadway
Codsall, West Midlands, United Kingdom