A young rider, with a rare metabolic condition, has qualified for the finals of the National Riding for Disabled Dressage Championship. Laura Curson, a Year 9 student at Stokesley School, faces the daily challenges of Glutaric Aciduria Type One, which affects many aspects of Laura’s life, in particular her mobility. However, with an inherent passion for horses and a strong drive to succeed, fourteen-year-old Laura has been riding since she was five and quickly demonstrated a talent for dressage.

As well as riding being Laura’s main hobby, it also provides her with natural physiotherapy, stretching her muscles, helping her balance and improving her core strength. Laura says:”I can’t imagine a week going by when I’m not riding and I love the way I feel free from my disability.  In addition, I have a very special bond with the horses I ride, they seem to know that they have to look after me.”

Although Laura enjoys all aspects of riding, including show jumping, dressage is her favourite discipline as she loves how it demands precision and accuracy.  The National Championship in July, at Gloucester’s Hartpury College, is the RDA’s flagship event, the biggest competition of its type in the world, and provides a springboard for the Paralympics. Laura is inspired by Natasha Baker, a team GB Paralympic dressage competitor and she longs to go on to represent Great Britain in the Paralympic Games in the future, and would love to meet Natasha one day.

Laura is a member of the Stokesley RDA Group, which is based at Robinsons Equi Tech, where she rides three times each week. She competed in the regional qualifiers on Hunky Dory, a horse she had only been riding for three weeks, demonstrating her natural ability to develop a close relationship between horse and rider.

Claire Robinson, Manager of Stokesley RDA and Robinson’s Equitech, commented:  Laura is a superstar, it really is as simple as that!  She came to us only a couple of months ago, as she has progressed to a stage where she needed competition-level horses for her events.  It is incredible the bond that she has formed with Dory, quite amazing after only three weeks of riding him. She really is a natural and we are immensely proud of Laura’s achievements so far. We have a feeling this is only the start of many successes and we are looking forward to supporting her.”

Robinson’s Equitech pay £2,000 for all Stokesley RDA competitors to enter the nationals, in addition to paying for the transport and stabling of the horses.  Laura’s Mum, Jane, is doing a fundraising event to contribute to the high costs of entry.  On Saturday 22nd June, Jane will do a 10-hour Gymathon, which involves continuous gym classes and gym work.  She will do this at Bannatyne’s gym in Coulby Newham.  To support Jane’s challenge and donate visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/10-hour-gymathon-for-stokesleyrda?utm_id=2&utm_term=zgvRzaJ4x

Hannah Millett, Stokesley School Headteacher, concluded: “Laura is an inspiration to us all. She continues to demonstrate unfaltering commitment to her riding and shows such determination in her quest to succeed. We pass on our congratulations to Laura and know that she will give her very best in the national competition.”