By Kerri Correia, Riding for the Disabled Jersey branch publicity officer.
After qualifying for the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) National Championship finals earlier in the year, Ryan Le Monnier (25) was delighted to win his dressage class, representing Jersey.
Unfortunately the finals at Hartpury, Gloucestershire in July fell on the heatwave weekend and at the last minute the hottest day of the championships, the day of Ryan’s class final, was cancelled for the safety and wellbeing of the riders and horses. The competition swiftly moved online and all riders filmed their entry and sent over films for the judges. Even though this was very disappointing to not ride in person at the prestigious National Championships it meant Ryan was able to ride his own horse Flynn and not a loan horse, as in his qualifier.
Ryan, who is autistic and has dyspraxia, came first in the Grade seven dressage walk/trot class of the competition, out of eleven entrants, with an impressive 73.57% score. This achievement has led to qualifying for another higher-level competition, the British Dressage Summer Festival of Para Dressage in August, which he hopes to attend.
He said: ‘I was very excited and looking forward to going to ride at the National Championships at Hartpury, when I heard my class had been cancelled, I was very upset and disappointed. I was pleased that I was still able to do the competition on-line, we didn’t have much time to film and enter the video but it was exciting to be able to do it on my own horse, Flynn. and he was great.
When I found out that I had won my class I was shocked and surprised and very happy to have qualified for The British Dressage Para festival. I am very excited and looking forward to riding at a big competition. Thank you to everyone who has helped me.’
Ryan has been riding since he was nine but only started dressage four years ago, for which he has found a real passion. He has been a keen volunteer with Riding for the Disabled Jersey Group since 2016, leading ponies for the disabled children who ride at the charity’s base at Le Claire Stables.