h4mghkc-5154ca425d750009c10e86d52ce27565d4cdef17_mediumNext week Special Olympics equestrian athletes will gather at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, for the Special Olympics 2013 National Equestrian Competition. 60 riders from nine regions will vie for a chance to represent Great Britain at the 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles, California.

The riders will be divisioned by their ability and age and will compete in dressage, prix caprilli, working trails and horse care & knowledge.

The Opening Ceremony for the competition will begin with the coaches and athletes parading into the arena. Monty’s Allsorts, a dog agility training club, will be presenting a show jumping demonstration to entertain the crowd, while Ginny Oakley and her side-saddle group will be displaying a musical ride and some side-saddle jumping.

“This is a really exciting event for Special Olympics Great Britain and Hartpury College is a great location in which to host the event”, said Nancy Peters the Equestrian Technical Advisor for Special Olympics GB.

“We are delighted with the strength of the competition that will be on show and I would encourage anyone in the area to come along and witness the determination, courage and sportsmanship of our athletes. Participation in the year-round training and competition that Special Olympics GB provides really helps to improve the confidence and self-esteem of our athletes who all have intellectual disabilities.”

Two of the athletes competing at next week’s equestrian competition are Ellis Wilson (Scotland West) and Owen Keeble (Forth Valley). Ellis and Owen competed in the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer games in Athens, and are looking forward to taking on the national competition and qualifying to once again represent Great Britain at an international level.

The nine Special Olympics regions taking part in the competition are Grampian, Forth Valley, Scotland West, Eastern, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, Northwest, Wellow and Hertfordshire.

The event has been supported by Riding for the Disabled.