Debbie and Hermione’s sporting dream

As Debbie Rounce guides Hermione gracefully around a north Suffolk practice dressage arena it is easy to see why the compatible duo are mooted for sporting greatness.

And as the six-year-old horse and her owner begin their dream to compete in the dressage at the 2016 paralympics the pair are also a testament to dedicated human spirit and determined horse power.

Miss Rounce, who is registered disabled as she born without fingers on her right hand, spends every spare minute of her time training and caring for Hermione.

And as her horse gambols around Miss Rounce's dressage arena at Oulton, near Lowestoft, it is in stark contrast to scenes from 2006 when the two-year-old horse was rescued by the World Horse Welfare after she was found abandoned underweight and infested with worms.

But luckily for Hermione she was nursed back to health by the horse charity's rescue and rehoming centre at Hall Farm, Snetterton.


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In 2007 she meet her new owner and can now be seen practising elegant and intricate dressage moves with Miss Rounce at the reins at their arena.

And the duo's instructor, Jane Hodge, is so impressed with their performances she is convinced they can compete at the highest level at the para dressage in 2016 games in Brazil.

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So far they have competed in one para dressage competition at Easton College, near Norwich.

However one hurdle lies in wait for Miss Rounce and 'Herms' for without sponsorship to pay for a horsebox and travel costs the pair may never get enough practice at dressage events across the country in time for the paralympics.

Miss Rounce, 48, of Hall Road, Oulton Broad, and who works part time at Lowestoft's Beales store, said: 'If we could get Hermione to the para dressage it would be a dream come true.

'Since I have been riding her she has just come more and more into her own.

'I feel like I am more of a dressage ride rather than an everyday ride now. I am more confident in my riding and trust her completely.

'I am now starting to live something I only thought about.'

Miss Rounce and Hermione train six days a week and Miss Rounce bases all her holidays on spending as much time as training with her as possible.

Their free lance trainer, Miss Hodge, lives at Pakefield and works with them once or twice a week. She said: 'I think they certainly could compete in the para dressage, The horse has the talent and Debbie has the dedication and love of horses necessary.

'Hermione is very capable so if Debbie has enough support and got sponsorship she could get there.'

The dressage exploits and dreams of Miss Rounce and Hermione have been praised by the World Horse Welfare as a perfect example of the benefits of rehoming a horse with loving owners.

Roly Owers, chief executive of the charity, added: 'The rehoming process creates more space in our centres and therefore more abused and neglected horses can be helped.'

Anyone who wants to sponsor Miss Rounce's paralympic dream can contact her on 0776 964 6609.

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