Anthea Gunner, Para Equestrian Paralympian


Blog - Journey to London

Moving On

Posted by Anthea Gunner on May 28, 2015 at 5:35 AM

Once again I find myself playing catch up on a couple of months’ worth of updates! Time flies when you are having fun!

March bought the Dressage & Para Dressage Nationals in Feilding, where Mask was his usual superstar self, coming home with the champion ribbon and rug. It was my first time to Feilding and the facilities were very good, even if the weather wasn’t always! I was also very impressed with the Manfield Park Motel, fabulous customer service, rooms and the most impressive wheelchair accessible bathroom yet.

I was very lucky to have the company of the fabulous Leigh Jones and Joy White for the week who were key to our success, and have to hugely thank them both for their help and support, and also to Joy for delivering Mask safely from home and back to home.

Mask was very pleased with the lovely indoor arena at Manfield, although a bit miffed at the lack of fans in the seating! He did 3 good tests, and nearly cracked our personal best in the musical freestyle test. It was a very enjoyable week although I was very nearly a little bit teary at the prizegiving thinking about possibly my last time on Mask!

**thanks Libby Law for the gorgeous photo**

We came home and Mask had a wee break while Brian started to ramp up again after his own break and came back feeling much better after some chiropractic work from Joy which freed up his wither and neck hugely and now we are making good progress. He is improving hugely, although still lots to do.

He went to a local show in early April where he did some great work in the warm up but couldn’t quite keep it up in the ring in front of the judge, however it’s all good experience and learning about what to do differently next time! He was perfectly behaved in a horrendous wind so that is something to be pleased about too.

Mask was ticking along at home, being capably ridden by Jessy next door, even going to Interschools Dressage and a local day in Rangiora for very good results. I was very grateful to Jess for keeping him going as with daylight savings going I was really struggling to keep both in work!

Late in April the day came to farewell Mask as we had found a lovely home for him. It was very sad but somehow right, and I’m really pleased that he is loved and having lots of fun, I bet he couldn’t believe his luck getting to do jumps and go to the beach! He is not too far from home so I am looking forward to seeing how he and Suzy progress as they get to know each other.

So Brian has become number one and had his first big test in the public eye as we were invited to ride a demonstration at the NZRDA National Training Seminar last weekend. ‘Only about 100 people’ a friend told me! I shouldn’t have worried, Brian was a superstar, taking it all in his stride and feeling very important. He especially liked the clapping! While we still have a long way to go I am confident that I have picked a horse who will cope well in any situation so we will keep plugging away!

For now we have 1 more show next weekend and then it’s time for a holiday while winter takes hold, and I am booked in for some minor surgery on my feet. Brian will enjoy his break while I go stir crazy until I am allowed to ride again! I’d like to thank my wonderful sponsors once again for supporting me and my team this season, CourierPost, Rojaan Performance Horses – Kerrits Performance Apparel, DB Muscle Therapy, Head 2 Toe Studio, Willowhip NZ, Betavet Equine Herbals, Tasman Ag, Circle M Quarter Horses & Parafed Canterbury. We couldn’t do it without you all and are very proud to represent you all!

Stay warm and safe!

Anthea & Brian



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1 Comment

Reply Ruth Holmes
5:11 AM on May 29, 2015 
Wonderful to see you riding Brian at the NZRDA Seminar, having seen you ride Mask at Blenheim a few years ago!