I’m Gabriella, but I like to be called Gabby. I’m 27 years old and live with a condition called Mucolipidosis Type III. This is an inherited metabolic glycol protein storage disease that affects all my joints.
I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but moved to West Sussex when I was six. This is where I got my first pony, Silver. In 2012, after a short spell back in South Africa, I moved to the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire and got my second pony, Geronimo. He was a 13.3hh, white Welsh x Appaloosa. This is where my love for dressage and passion to compete first started, even though Geronimo was originally trained for western reining and had no dressage background. While living in the Cotswolds, I did my first ever RDA dressage competition.
In 2017 I moved again, this time to Nottinghamshire. Here I started my para journey and competed at the RDA National Championships. Sadly, at the time of the National Championships, Geronimo went lame. Here I got my next pony, Bambi, to compete at the National Championships, then to run alongside Geronimo. She was a 14.1hh, bay Irish Sport Horse.
The more competitions I went to, the more my love for dressage grew and I soon realised that, to get to where I wanted to be, I needed a horse with the potential to get me there. So, in July 2018, I got Strongbeau (Beau). He has quite a quirky personality and can be cheeky at times, but it’s hard to stay cross at him for long because he always looks after me when I’m riding him. After a ride he enjoys a few treats – his favorites are carrots and apples. Beau is a 15hh grey Connemara x Irish Sport Horse who had previously evented but, in the year before I got him, had become a pleasure ride. Up until I got Beau, my wonderful mum had been my trainer, but now I train with Sophie Wells alongside my mum.
When I’m not busy competing, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, shopping, going to see films and going out for food. My favourite food is Italian and my favourite dish to cook is spaghetti bolognaise. I like to watch romantic comedies and soaps.