Two-time Paralympian Roberta Sheffield successfully concluded her European Tour on Friday, winning two of three tests and earning a personal best in the CPEDI 3* at the Maimarkt-Turnier horse show in Mannheim, Germany from May 3-5, 2022.

Having competed at the international event four times, the competition is one close to her heart. “Mannheim is a very special show for me, it was where I first competed for Canada in my first CPEDI3* in 2013,” said Sheffield. “It has such an incredible atmosphere, so buzzy and to do well at Maimarkt-Turnier has been a dream for so long.”

Sheffield, who is based in Lincolnshire, England and Fairuza, her 13-year-old Gelderlander mare, competed in the Grade III division, beginning the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) three-day event with a 68.922% in the Team Test on Wednesday for second place behind Germany’s Melanie Wienand and Lemony’s Loverboy.

The pair, along with their groom Alyssa Carter, reached the top of the podium the following two days, earning the win over Wienand in the Individual Test with 71.520% and posting a personal best of 74.778% in the Freestyle to the song Sun and Stars, arranged by Avery Maude Dressage.

“To achieve a personal best in a games-like environment like Mannheim, allows us the perfect preparation opportunity to show how much Fairuza is lifted by big atmosphere,” said the 41-year-old. “Wonky is a horse that really brings her ‘A’ game when it matters.”

Sheffield, who’s been on the road since the end of March 2022, reflected on how amazing this road trip experience has been for her and her team. “Boarding in Volker Eubel’s barn has enabled us to have an immersive experience and learn a great deal; Clive Milkins and my grooms have been so supportive.”

This time away from home has also given her the opportunity to reflect on the last nine years of FEI-level para-dressage competition and how she would like to see the sport grow globally. “The wonderful thing about para is your disability doesn’t matter, your performance is what matters,” she described. “It is what you can do and not what you can’t do, and I want para-dressage to be a sport that can enhance the lives of more and more people. Hopefully, it can bring about positive change in disabled peoples’ lives.”

Her inspirational thoughts continued about the uniqueness of being an equestrian living with a disability, “It’s about creating a partnership and performance in the moment of time rather than dwelling on the limitations in your life. The horses are amazing, the way they compensate for us and adapt to us is mind-blowing.”

Sheffield, her steadfast partner and her team are set to return to the United Kingdom, where she will be teaching at the Army Saddle Club this upcoming weekend and Fairuza will receive a well-deserved break. The pair will return to training and plan to work on aspects from the judges’ feedback throughout the past 6 weeks.

With fingers crossed, they are hoping to be selected for the Canadian team heading to the FEI World Championships in Herning, DEN in August. If that happens, we’re sure that as a wonderful ambassador for sport and inclusivity, Canada will certainly be there cheering them on.

For more information on the event in Mannheim, please click here.