Saturday 8th of May 2021

Sussex rider undergoes major surgery for the sake of her horse

A Sussex-based rider is set to star in the show ring after resorting to desperate measures to ensure the welfare of her beloved horses.

Amanda Firman, 51, from Hartfield, East Sussex, suffers from the debilitating disease ME but was a competitor in the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) final of the SEIB Insurance Brokers Search for a Star series in October 2015. However, she knew her weight — then around 20 stone — was exacerbating her health problems.

She was also concerned that it was too much for her horse, Palladian, to carry without causing him discomfort.

So Amanda, who works part-time at a nursing home and a local doctors’ surgery to fund her hobby, underwent gastric bypass surgery and is now eight stone lighter. With a new horse, Foxy, she is looking forward to taking on the professionals in the show ring in 2018.

 “The operation has been life-changing for me — I have the reassurance that I will never be too heavy for my horses and cause them any health issues due to my weight,” she said. “I am also virtually pain-free.

“I still suffer from ME and used to eat sweet things to try to get some energy — but even this has improved following the weight loss. It also means I can ride properly now — before, I used to just sit there and would be exhausted after a few minutes.

“Unfortunately, the SEIB rules state that no one can compete in the Search For A Star series more than once, but I am really looking forward to the season ahead and will try my best to get to HOYS with Foxy in open classes.”

SEIB marketing director Nicolina MacKenzie added:

“As a company, we applaud Amanda’s determination and are delighted to have launched her career in the show ring.”

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