Wakefield rider close to paralympics

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Frances Dick is well on her way to the Rio Paralympics after recently achieving her international qualifications.

The Wakefield dressage rider has so far competed in two out of three major competitions in order to achieve the necessary percentages to qualify both internationally and nationally. In January, she attended the Boneo Classic in Australia, where she achieved her confidence of capability percentage and ticked off a requirement to compete in a three star or above event. Most recently in February, Frances competed in the Bates New Zealand Dressage Championship in Fielding where she achieved some of her best results.

Frances and her partner, Weltmeister AF, (aka Weltie) placed first in all three classes, receiving just point three off 72 per cent in their teams test and getting their highest score to date of 74.75 per cent in their freestyle test.

Frances and Weltie are now looking to Farmlands Horse of the Year in Hastings for their last two percentages which will see them become eligible for national selection into the New Zealand team. The two remaining percentages must be in the team and championship sections and be between 72 and 75 per cent.

Both the team and championship tests require horse and rider to perform a number of compulsory movements in front of the judges, while the musical freestyle test involves compulsory movements to be integrated into a test of the riders creation, which is then performed to a piece of music.

Frances and Weltie have been working together now for three years and Frances says one thing she loves about working with him is the relationship they’ve formed.

“For me, (I love it) when I feel that we’re so in sync or in tune, you just ask him to do anything and he’d go “how far?” I like to strive towards something and to do that alongside a live animal, compared to say cycling or something mechanical, they’ve got to really trust you and you’ve got to trust them.”

Coming this close to the Rio Paralympics is also down to the support Frances has received from friends, family and sponsors, including her manager, Yvette Dick, instructor, Rachel Thomas, groom and photographer, Jessica Ladley, Prydes EasiFeed, Nelson Dressage Group, The Vet Centre Richmond and Andrew Conway, Wakefield Quarry, PGG Wrightsons Richmond and the Sports Nelson Tasman Trust.

To view Frances and Weltie’s progress in their goal of reaching the Rio Paralympics, check out their Facebook page ‘The Road to Rio with Frances Dick’.