Bourne has a new national champion in dressage. On Friday last week para-equestrian rider Bert Sheffield, 33, was crowned the British Dressage KBIS British Equestrian Insurance Para National Champion.
The performance topped the most fantastic summer of the para-equestrian rider’s career, having come fourth at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy earlier in September.
Despite having grown up in Britain Sheffield holds dual nationality, on her mother’s side, and has chosen to wear the Canadian maple leaf despite riding for Great Britain last year, to pursue her dreams of competing at the Rio Paralymic Games in 2016.
The former Stamford High School pupil suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis and rides with specially adapted equipment including air-cushioned stirrups to help prevent her joints seizing up.
After a summer where she took on some of the best riders in the world Sheffield’s Olympic teams are looking like becoming a reality.
Sheffield said: “I’ve had a fantastic summer. I wouldn’t have believed it could have gone so well. I was the only foreign rider at the British Championship. The British are the strongest team in the world, they won at WEG and they do every year. So to win was amazing.”
Para-equestrian riders are split into four groups depending upon the level of their disability with grade four the least disabled. Sheffield is a grade three rider.
Sheffield rode horse Double Agent to glory at the British Championships, scoring 70.8% to win the grade three by a fair margin and take the best amateur/owner/rider sash. Double Agent was also the highest scoring British bred horse in the Para classes.
It was the third time Sheffield has entered the British championships, coming third and second in previous years.
At the World Equestrian Games Sheffield, competing for Canada, she was eighth in the team competition and fourth in the individual event on Bindro T.