I watched Rocky (my horse) leave yesterday to start his journey to Rio and I felt quite emotional. It kind of hit me, I am going to my second Paralympics something that I couldn’t have thought of happening about 8 years ago.
In 2008, I saw Eilish Byrne go to Beijing representing Ireland and I thought, I want to go to London in 2012 but more than just going I wanted to win a medal there too. With a disability like Friedreich’s Ataxia, time is not on your side and I felt like London was going to be my only shot.
I have worked hard to be in the position to go again but I really really want to pay tribute to the people around me, I couldn’t do what I do without the support. My mam and dad are the best, I don’t tell them much or maybe at all but they’ve given me so much, I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I also want to acknowledge my great grooms who put up with me Rosemary and Lydia, my trainer Heike who has thought me more than I appreciate and so many others.
Friedreichs Ataxia is a shit disability to be left with but getting to ride the horses, watch them progress and compete at this level has given me more than I can say. I really want to express my gratitude to everyone that supports me. I don’t always admit it but I love what I do and I feel lucky to have gotten the opportunity to do it.
I didn’t admit it to many but I was gunning for a medal in London. I had a point to prove, to myself more that anyone. To win another would be amazing, the icing on the cake but cake can really nice without icing too. My class is so competitive this time and even since London the standard has upped. I am delighted to be able to compete at this level to strive to improve on my London performance and I don’t know if I can achieve medal success again but I hope to make everyone proud.