Emma-Jane Brown riding for Great Britain ©Precise Media

Britain’s leading Para-show jumpers will, for the first time, compete directly against able-bodied riders at the ESUK Grassroots Championships at Arena UK in Grantham this weekend.

The Championships are the UK’s biggest unaffiliated competition.

The event takes place over four days and features more than 130 classes across a wide range of disciplines, including show jumping, combined training, dressage, showing and fun classes.

Competitors include Evie Toombes from Skegness who suffers from a form of spina bifida that requires three hours of daily catheterisation through her stomach.

Cally Gould, from Suffolk, suffers from a disease called transversemyelitis which caused her to have a stroke and lose 70 per cent use of her right leg and 40 per cent of her right arm.

They will both be supported by their mentor, former international show jumper Dame Emma Jane Brown, who has set up a Foundation on behalf of Britain’s leading Para-show jumpers.

Evie Toombes at Arena UK in January 2016 © Precise Media
Evie Toombes at Arena UK in January 2016 © Precise Media

Furthermore, Norman Oley - the owner of Arena UK, which is one of the leading equestrian centres in England - has made his prestigious venue the official home of the event.

Dame Emma is also the mentor to blind show jumper Karen Law. 

In 2014, she skydived to raise the funds to buy Law a horse to compete on.

She is now championing the cause of other talented disabled show jumpers across the country, and has pledged to help them by providing training, sponsorship, competition and support through her Foundation.

 “I really want to show the public how courageous and talented these riders really are by putting them against able bodied riders," said Dame Emma.

"Frankly riding is what many of them live for and they deserve all the support they can get.

The ESUK Championships are now in their fourth year.