Natasha

Natasha was born in Inverness, in the North of Scotland, with Spina Bifida, which reduces the movement in her neck and back as well as VACTERL Syndrome, a congenital syndrome, which has resulted in many limbs not being formed properly.

Natasha lived in Moray, Scotland for 16 years before moving to England to continue her passion of dressage at an elite level. Natasha started riding at 7 years old at a local riding school and never looked back. Natasha's dream came true of getting her first pony, for her 9th birthday, called Nevada.

Natasha enjoyed being part of the Moray and Nairn Pony Club, Moray Riding Club and the British Young Riders Dressage Squad (BYRDS), participating in rallies, camp, dressage, cross country and mounted games. Very special highlights of this time included placing 4th Individually at the Pony Club National Championships and winning both the Team and Individual title at the Scottish Schools Equestrian Championships as part of the school equestrian team.

In 2009, Natasha was lucky enough to be chosen for a school exchange to New Zealand for 4 months. It was whilst in New Zealand that Natasha really got the dressage bug through training with Cheryl French at Carnmore Equestrian and riding 3 of their beautiful horses, Nardy, Taffy and Buddy.

After returning from New Zealand, Natasha decided to look into Para Dressage. Natasha started to train with Clive Milkins at South Bucks R.D.A. Natasha’s Para Dressage career started off, winning the RDA Regional Championships on Tribal Indian. That Summer, in 2009, Natasha was selected to represent Great Britain Internationally for the first time, competing at Millfield Junior International.

After Natasha had completed her GCSE’s, she relocated down to South Yorkshire, England to complete her A-Levels and make it easier to combine studying with elite level sport. In 2010, Natasha was lucky enough to be selected onto the British Equestrian Federation’s World Class Podium Potential Programme, which is funded by the National Lottery, UK Sport and Equestrian Team GBR. Natasha is incredibly grateful for all the opportunities that she has been given through the World Class Programme. Once Natasha had completed her A-Levels, she successfully gained a place to study for an Undergraduate degree at Sheffield Hallam University, which led on to her currently studying for a Master’s degree.

In 2015, Natasha won both the National Open Winter Championships and the KBIS National Summer Championships with Sweet Caledonia and these were the first major stepping stones towards her campaign for the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Natasha then went on to successfully retain her title at the National Open Winter Championships in 2016. Natasha was then selected to represent Great Britain at her first abroad international at Waregem CPEDI 3* in Belgium. After a very successful competition, representing GB at the Hartpury CPEDI 3*, Natasha and Sweet Caledonia were selected as Reserves for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games!!!

Natasha was incredibly fortunate to have been selected onto the 'Para Inspiration Programme', in which a group of athletes were able to go out to the Rio 2016 Paralympics and experience the games in preparation for hopefully representing GB at a Paralympics in the future. They were given the opportunity to experience the atmosphere, look around the athlete's village, watch a number of different sports including the Para Dressage plus much more.

2017 was a roller coaster of a year with many highs and lows. After spending a few months in hospital at the start of the year, it was great to be back riding in the Spring. Natasha and Sweet Caledonia were selected to represent GB at the Hartpury CPEDI 3* and be part of the Nations Cup Team. Natasha and Sweet Caledonia came back with a bang and stormed to victory in all 3 tests and were part of the winning Nations Cup Team!!!

This year has been very exciting and also a big learning curve as Natasha has been campaigning both of her horses, Sweet Caledonia and Highlander, towards the World Equestrian Games, in Tryon, North Carolina. Natasha and Highlander came 3rd at the National Winter Championships and were then selected to represent Great Britain at Deauville CPEDI 3* in France, which was there first international together. Natasha was then selected to represent GB at Hartpury CPEDI 3* and Bishop Burton CPEDI 3*, which were the first internationals that Natasha had competed 2 horses at.

The focus is now on campaigning for the European Championships in 2019 and the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020.

None of this success could happen without my amazing home team, sponsors, supporters and the World Class Programme as well as my family and friends so a massive thank you from the bottom of my heart for enabling me to do what I love to do everyday!

We hope you enjoy following Natasha and her horses on their journey!

 

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