Sue-Ellen Lovatt is an FEI level dressage competitor – she’s also blind and competes as an able-bodied athlete. And, she’s a cancer survivor who’s about to ride 800km to raise money for the Dubbo Hospital.
When Sue-Ellen Lovatt contacted The Saddle Hub to buy a saddle suitable for her charity ride, The Challenge – Ride Against Cancer, we were delighted to help support her in her request.
Sue-Ellen is a legend to many of us in the industry – she is blind but competes at FEI level dressage as an able-bodied athlete. She relies on living markers and counting steps to find her way around her tests – and she certainly holds her own!
Sue-Ellen is also cancer survivor and on October 6 this year she will begin an 800 kilometre ride throughout the Central West in New South Wales. The ride will be completed by October 21 and all donated money will be going to the Integrated Wellness Centre at Dubbo Base Hospital.
Sue-Ellen can’t wait to get going and is enthusiastic about the purpose of the ride. “If this ride can help just one person achieve their potential, then it’s worth it,” she says.
“I enjoy raising money for great causes and this will be the tenth ride I’ve completed. Many years ago I rode in excess of 16,000 kilometers and raised more than $3.1 million for worthy causes. I want to reinforce that being blind will not stop me from making a difference in this world.”
Sue-Ellen will be riding an OTT thoroughbred recently retired from racing, and will be accompanied by her amazing guide dog Armarni with several sighted riding companions mounted on retired racehorses supplied by Racing NSW. These horses are undergoing rehabilitation from the track to be re-homed with suitable equestrians who can offer them a new career.
Sue-Ellen has not ridden outside the confines of a dressage arena for around 20 years, so when she rang asking for a suitable saddle, with the criteria of nice secure knee rolls, a deep seat and most of all a saddle that would be comfortable for both her and her horse, we were more than happy to try and help.
The Saddle Hub contacted Toptac International Ltd, the importers of Kieffer Saddles & Accessories and sourced a Kieffer Sydney for Sue-Ellen. Toptac were very generous in their offer and have also committed to assisting with fitting the saddle by one of their approved Kieffer saddle fitters. Toptac will also be generously donating a supply of Magnesi Magic Performance Spray for both Sue-Ellen and her horse and support riders to ensure they recover quickly and keep muscle soreness to a minimum on their long journey.
In a world where most people are victims Sue-Ellen stands out as an inspiration to not only every rider, but to all humans. Sue-Ellen, you rock and we’ll be following your journey with pride!
Visit www.equestrianhub.com.au and give what you can. It all helps and will be used for patients in the Integrated Wellness Centre at Dubbo Base Hospital.