20th January 2019
Hi, my name is Rowan Crosby and I am very proud to have been selected as Wrexham Equine’s new sponsored rider.
I am a 17 year old Grade 1 para dressage rider and I started riding at the age of 3 at the local Riding for the Disabled. Since then I have gone on to win 2 National Silver Para Championships at my grade, represent Wales 3 times and represent Great Britain twice at the CPEDI 2*.
Para dressage is divided into different grades according to severity of disability, with Grade 5 being the least and Grade 1 being the most disabled.
As Grade 1, I am a walk-only rider and so it is very difficult to find a suitable horse. The horse I ride has to be very responsive to my specific aids. I ride using one hand, with a bar rein, use my seat because my legs don’t work properly and I use voice commands.
My pony Tiger is a 9 year old Class 1 Connemara. I have had her since she was 5 years old and my coach, Claire Cooper-Wyatt, found her for me. She is an incredible pony and I love her so much! She is really responsive to me, listens and tries her best. Ponies riding a Grade 1 test have to have an amazing walk and be able to keep the impulsion and a consistent rhythm through an entire walk test… which is more difficult than it sounds!
Tiger also has to cope with my disability, which is a genetic disorder that is unique to me. It means that I have muscle spasms throughout my body, a lot of pain, symptoms of autonomic failure and Parkinson’s-like symptoms, so Tiger has learned how to cope with my muscle spasms, how to look after me when I am painful and how to sort out which are real aids and which are muscle spasms….did I mention that I love my pony?!
It is because Tiger means so much to me that I am so pleased that Wrexham Equine are sponsoring me. Tiger deserves the very best care and I know that Geri and Sam from Wrexham Equine give her that. They understand what our horses mean to us and what a huge amount Tiger means to me. Tiger, as a very specially trained para horse, is irreplaceable and I trust them to care for Tiger as she deserves.
As well as her dressage career, Tiger has also got some other skills. She can dance for polos, knock on our front door for carrots and, if her dressage career ever fails, she’s very good at playing wheelchair football!