Two young horseriders with disabilities are keen to build on the Western Australian success in the Paralympics.
The riders, members of the Riding for the Disabled Claremont group, will represent the State at the National Dressage Championships in Queensland.
Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper today visited the WA team members at one of their final training sessions in Claremont, before the October 16 championships.
The national event, which would feature about 60 competitors with disabilities from across the country, would take place at Queensland's Carrara Sports Centre near the Gold Coast.
Mr Ripper said the event organisers were to be commended for integrating riders with disabilities within the national championships.
State team members Sara Cann, aged 21, of Wembley, who has an intellectual disability, and 12-year-old Jared Casey, also of Wembley, who has only one leg, were shining examples of what determined athletes could achieve. This was done in conjunction with the special dedication of their coach M'Liss Henry, a champion horsewoman in her own right.
Sara Cann was recognised as one of the few riders with disabilities in Australia capable of performing dressage at the canter. Jared Casey had achieved considerable horseriding success, riding almost side-saddle and skilfully controlling the horse with his hands, despite the extra difficulty of his disability.
"I am sure all Western Australians will join me in giving their best wishes and a huge 'good luck' to these young riders," Mr Ripper said.
"Their grit and determination in polishing their horseriding skills against the odds demonstrates what people with ability and a positive mental attitude can achieve."
The Minister said the Paralympics had already highlighted the many skills and talents of Australian athletes with disabilities, and our champion Western Australian riders were set to build on this momentum.
"Western Australia has already shown that its athletes with disabilities lead the nation, and these young riders can be rightfully proud of having won the right to represent their State," Mr Ripper said.