Verity Smith, Paralympic athlete
Behind the scenes with Equestrian athlete
I'm talking today to Verity Smith who competes at international level in the exacting equestrian discipline of dressage. She's been riding since the age of three, competing since the age of five. And she also happens to be blind.
At this moment in time, I'm actually sitting in France, I've bought my horse over to France to compete. So Keith and I are here. We actually had a competition on Sunday, which was a pre son George, which is a very high level of dressage. And at the moment we are competing solely against able-bodied riders. And we won it! And considering that there’s a high wind and I had, instead of in England, I have a group of callers who helped me with my lessers around the arena because dressage is based in a 20 by 60 metre arena and we have lessers around the outside. The arena is like a stage upon which you perform a dance with your horse. And it's judged apart from just on the beauty and the elegance is a movement. It's also judged on the accuracy of the movements and the judges judge this by coordinating and seeing how close you come to the lessers around the arena. So you might have a movement between two lesser markers and you have to hit those lesser markers exactly. So you can imagine being blind. I mean, I count my strides, but obviously as we had on Sunday, high wind, sometimes the horse takes a bigger, bigger step because there's a gust of wind. So I'm allowed by the International Federation to have people standing on the lessors, which makes it a bit like a Muppet show because it's, everyone's screaming lesser at my poor horse. And we won on Sunday and we have another one on Saturday. The goal is to compete at the international able-bodied competition in Northern France in Samur, which is a big international. So we're working incredibly hard to get, make sure that we go to that. That's my aim.