Congratulations to Julie Payne, one of our Para members, who has just won the Horse & Hound Inspiration Award for 2017. To quote from the write up in Horse & Hound:
Sometimes a rider comes along who captures the hearts of everybody they meet. Julie Payne is one such person. This is in recognition, not just of her incredible triple gold at the Gothenburg European Championships in August, but of the impact she has had on the para community and the wider horse world.
Five years ago, Julie, 55 received the devastating diagnosis of multiple system atrophy (MSA), which she describes as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone diseaseand chronic fatigue all in one.
Julie was told that within 2 years she would not be able to walk or talk and was forced to give up dressage as her health deteriorated. MSA is quite simply a death sentence.
But this lady is a fighter and, having begun her para career with her own horse, Pandora, she was offered the ride on Di Redfern’s Athene Lindebjerg, the former partner of multi gold medallist Sophie Christiansen. Just months after teaming up with Athene, Julie led the British team to a euphoric victory in Gothenburg, producing a massive 78% score under pressure as the Danish team closed in on the top spot.
Julie has also climbed Snowdon and absailed down the Arcelor Mittel Orbit building in London for charity since her diagnosis in an attempt to raise awareness of the disease and help other sufferers. She said she couldn’t do it without Athene and the enormous support she has had from friends, family and Di Redfern.