Earlier this month NZALPA legal secretary Kyrie Gausden won at the New Zealand National Dressage Championships, becoming the New Zealand Grade 5 Para-Equestrian champion, taking her closer to her goal of representing New Zealand at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020.
In October last year Kyrie was classified as a grade 5 para rider after damaging her lower spine. She was determined that this injury would not get in the way of her love of dressage, and quite literally got back on the horse.
The three-day event, held in Fielding, presented a number of challenges for Kyrie but ended in sweet success when she won the championship title.
After months of preparation for the event, the night before the competition Kyrie found herself in hospital.
“I was so determined to compete that on the first morning of the competition I said, I am here and I am not prepared to quit now,” said Kyrie.
Her determination truly shone through and, she was rewarded with a personal best at the following day’s competition.
She brought her new horse ‘I Romulus’, who is known at home as ‘Bear’, in December last year.
“He is just beautiful, however is trained for a couple of levels above that of horses that I am used to riding. It is a little bit like going from a cheaper vehicle to an expensive, European one - the brakes are a little sharper and he has all these functions I am not used to,” Kyrie said with a laugh.
Kyrie has her eyes set on getting to the next Paralympics. Next month she will compete in the New Zealand Horse of the Year competition and then she plans to compete in Australia later in the year to gather the necessary qualifying scores required for Tokyo Paralympics 2020 selection.
Everyone at NZALPA wishes Kyrie the best of luck and will keep members updated on her progress.