Following a dream

FOURTEEN-year-old disabled rider Jasmine Chamberlain has got a fire in her belly for competition.

She has come a long way in a short period of time and is proving that disability needn't hold you back from your dreams.

The young Wingham High School student only took up riding 12 months ago and has just placed second in the RDA NSW State Dressage Championships.

It all started for Jasmine last year when she discovered riding at RDA Manning Great Lakes.

Before riding, there was little to excite Jasmine about sport.

A rare genetic triplication (connective tissue disorder) has seen Jasmine riddled with pain and limitations all her life.

Jasmine only manages partial attendance at school and since puberty her condition has changed again and she is constantly adapting to further restrictions.

At school the requirement to complete a sports subject had been a problem for Jasmine.

"Physical contact sport could cause Jasmine's hands and feet to swell," her mum Sharon said.

Fortunately, Wingham High School was able to arrange for Jasmine to attend RDA for her sport subject.

The decision was life changing.

A love affair has developed between Jasmine and horse Cinnamon, their connection beyond anything Jasmine or her family could have anticipated.

"Every time I am with Cinnamon she cuddles me and it helps with the pain," said Jasmine.

"I love animals but in particular I love Cinnamon."

With RDA's support and encouragement, Jasmine sent in a DVD entry into her first ever competition and was placed second in dressage and went through to State level.

On the weekend of August 22-24 Jasmine competed at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre (SIEC) for the State Championships and Gymkhana Gala.

With her appetite for competition well and truly whetted, Jasmine found her focus and won six ribbons in two days.

She also came away from the competition with a new found passion after watching the freestyle dressage.

Freestyle dressage is when the horse's paces are set to music creating a competitive dance.

"My goal now is to dance with Cinnamon," admits Jasmine.

Setting goals is helping Jasmine take her mind off her limitations, said her mum, and focus instead on what she can achieve.

As well as wanting to "dance" on horseback and win such an event, Jasmine has set herself the goal of being state dressage champion next year.

She has some great support along the way including Margie Lewis and Maureen Turner from RDA as well as mentor and friend Mikaela Worth.

Twenty two year old Mikaela from Marlee, has Cerebral Palsy and is a student of RDA and has recently qualified as an assistant coach.

She is the Grade 1A NSW State Champion for 2014.

She has also won the 2013 Sydney International Equestrian Centre award for horse and rider combination riding RDA's Turbo.

This award has not been awarded since 2006.

As an ex Wingham High student herself, Mikaela and Jasmine clicked instantly with some common ground to share.

The girls share a similar desire for understanding in the community.

"They don't want sympathy," said Sharon.

"They want to be accepted and not left behind."

Fortunately with mentors like Para Equestrian Kaye Hannan reaching out to assist, Jasmine and Mikaela look set to forge ahead at an inspiring pace.

To see a more photos from the State Championships and Gymkhana Gala  click here photos are by rider so click in further on each rider to see them in action.