Its International Womens day today and what better way to honour it than by talking about Olympic Paradressage star Nicky Thompson.
Nicky was born in 1978 and at the age of 10 was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, an inherited disease of the eye that leads to a gradual reduction in sight and in some cases blindness.
Nicky was registered blind in her early twenties and as a result of her sight loss, she turned her attention to dressage. At first Nicky had a professional rider compete her horses as she was unaware of the opportunities for blind riders.
In 2009 Nicky entered her first para-dressage competition and hasn't looked backed since. Qualifying and competing in the Winter Championships, she then went on to win the Restricted class at the 2009 Spring Championships. Her strong results allowed her to quickly move up to the Open section and compete at the KBIS Summer Nationals. Nicky was awarded a place on the British Equestrian Federation's Regional Foundation Squad in late 2009, giving her access to a two year development programme towards the 2012 Olympics.
Nicky really is an inspirational lady, check out this video of her competing.
She uses voice instruction and bells to alert her to the markers, I don’t know about you but this really shows the partnership that horse and rider have, working together without eye sight, particularly in dressage. Good luck to Nicky in her Olympic bid this year, Amazing!
More information about Nicky can be found at her website: http://www.nickythompsonparadressage.co.uk/