My painfully awkward awareness of the external image I projected to my teen mates was made more acute by my ever dissipating self-image. Before leaving the house, or in the cloakroom at school. I would stand in front of the mirror straining to catch a glimpse, through its milky film, of my ever dissolving reflection.
My horse Szekit and I recently had our first competition for the National Summer Dressage Qualifiers, and the fact that the date of the competition was Friday the 13th did set off a few alarm bells in my head. Nevertheless putting superstition aside and with entry fees paid, my final preparations began.
At the age of three, after my complete lack of talent at ballet became unignorably apparent to both my Mum and Teacher, due to my inability to avoid slaying my fellow taffita toting tots with my far from graceful but enthusiastic whirling, I was stripped of my tutu, hammered into a riding hard hat the size of a nut and driven to the local stables, where I was to spend every Saturday morning from then on. This is where my love affair with horses began...
I do think that London 2012 was a turning point in perception about disability. Not only is there now a huge appetite for Paralympic sport, but I think attitudes did start to change. I've noticed it myself, in people's reactions to me. In the past, people have often seemed apprehensive about how to talk to me because I have cerebral palsy, but I have noticed that since last summer, people seem much more comfortable coming over and talking to me than they ever did before.