A Busy Year for Izzy Palmer

Towards the end of 2016, young Izzy Palmer was re-selected for another two years of opportunity for learning and development on the lottery funded World Class Podium Potential Programme.

Izzy rides the well known dressage names – Pinocchio and Touchdown M, who both belong to Black Country Saddles sponsored Sophie Wells.  Indeed Sophie is her mentor and trainer during which time their relationship has gone from strength to strength.

Said Izzy: “I first started by riding Pinocchio who is just a star.  Then more recently Sophie suggested I have a go to see how I would get on with Touchdown M who I now just love.  He is very talented and is teaching me a lot.  I am very grateful to Sophie for the opportunity and for all of her help.” 

Izzy was born with Cerebral Palsy and travels to Sophie’s base in Nottinghamshire from her home in Leeds to train with her mentor at least twice a week.

Their first major competition was the British Dressage Gold Winter Para Championships and Izzy said afterwards that both Touchdown and Pinocchio felt fantastic. Touchdown and Izzy won to become the Grade 4 (previously grade 3) winter champions and she also came third on Pinocchio.

Izzy was then selected to take part in her first senior international abroad at Deauville CPEDI 3* at the end of March, again with both Pinocchio and Touchdown. This was a big learning experience for her and she was proud of the boys coming away with superb results, a win for Touchdown in the individual championship test with Pinocchio third, before a win which included Pinocchio in the freestyle and a second and fifth in the team test!

It was then time for a quieter couple of months whilst Izzy focused on revision for her GCSE exams which have now finished. However, she managed a quick break in the middle of revising to take part in the British Dressage Gold semi-finals at Wellington. Here, the boys yet again made her proud with a win and second place, qualifying for the finals at the National Championships at Stoneleigh in September.

Izzy has also been fortunate to win the Young Disability Sportswoman Award at the Leeds Sports Awards and the Woman of Achievement in Sport at the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards.

Izzy is currently reserve for the para European Championships in Gothenburg with Touchdown M after winning the team and individual tests on Pinocchio at Hartpury CPDI and coming second and third on Touchdown M.

Both Pinocchio and Touchdown are ridden in a Black Country Saddle with Izzy riding Pinocchio in the Black Country Vinici dressage saddle with Touchdown in the new Black Country Dante Vinici.

Both saddles are very comfortable for her and the horses and said Izzy: “I love the close contact feel, especially with my disability.”

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