Equestrian rider Oliver makes history in international event

History Makers: Oliver Peace and Bailey taking part in the INAS equestrian competition.
History Makers: Oliver Peace and Bailey taking part in the INAS equestrian competition.

Upton’s Oliver Peace has made history as the first rider from Great Britain to compete in the inaugural International Federation for Intellectual Impairment Sport (INAS) equestrian competition.

Equestrian was added to the INAS sports programme in 2016 to provide the best riders with intellectual impairments from around the world, the chance to compete internationally.

The opportunity to represent Great Britain has been 20 years in the making for 25-year-old Oliver, ever since he started riding at the age of five. Horses have had an enormous impact on Oliver, who has autism and also regularly competes in Riding for the Disabled and Special Olympics equestrian events.

Oliver and 13 other competitors from the USA, Australia and Europe entered the INAS para-equestrian event. Riders performed the required dressage routine at their home venues and submitted videos for assessment by three international judges, making the competition more accessible to athletes from around the world.

Oliver’s coach Gemma Hughes, from Back Lane Stables, Leeds, worked with Oliver to enter the video through INAS member UK Sports Association. Oliver rode Bailey, from Back Lane Stables, a bay horse who helped Oliver to perform a superb dressage test.

He finished in third place behind Russia’s Ekatarina Kirienkova and Sui Watts, from Australia.

Tracey McCillen, chief executive, UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability said: “It is a great achievement for Oliver and a great achievement for the UK to have a talented young man represent us in the INAS Championships. Oliver is such an elegant and accomplished sportsman, which I know is as a result of some real hard work, training and commitment to his sport.”