The Guide Dogs UK has helped over 29,000 visually impaired people in the UK to achieve life-changing independence.In the equestrian world there are many para-riders who are visually impaired and have the use of a guide dog to aid them. Avid dressage rider Verity Smith is one such rider who has been registered blind since the age of eight and has been left with only 10% sight due to a rare genetic disorder. Verity benefits from the help of her trusty guide dog Uffa who has many useful talents and is very helpful around the horses.
Verity represented Great Britain as a member of Para Team GB, including in the World Championships in Denmark aged 18. Verity continues to break boundaries by competing internationally and winning in able bodied dressage competitions, at Inter 1 level, the highest level ever competed by a blind person. She was creator and force behind the #BeatTheBlindfold campaign which overturned the paralympic blindfold ruling enforcing the wearing of a blindfold for blind riders. In 2014 Verity was named Inspirational Guide Dog Owner at the Guide Dog Annual Awards, she has represented Guide Dogs UK at the House of Lords and has also publicised the rights for international travel for Guide Dogs.
Emma Wardell, Event Director for Grandstand Media Ltd, explains:
“We are proud to be supporting such a worthy charity through the Guide Dogs UK Name A Puppy Scheme. These dogs are incredibly talented and do a tremendous job in helping their owner to regain their independence and pursue their hobby, whether they have horses or not. Owning a horse and owning a dog goes hand in hand so we felt that the sponsorship would be something which many of our visitors and competitors can relate to and will help to support.”
Puppy HOYS will be too young to attend this year’s Horse of the Year Show, which takes place 4th – 8th October at the NEC Birmingham, however, the Guide Dogs UK will be present at the show with a stand in the Retail Village (stand HL1) where they will be bringing along some of their fully trained guide dogs for visitors to meet. In addition, Guide Dogs UK will have a daily session on the HOYS Live Zone at 1pm where they will be putting on a display with one of their guide dogs highlighting exactly what a guide dog can do and how it can change the lives of a visually impaired person.
Tickets are still available for this year’s Show starting from just £33.00 for a full sixteen hours of equestrian entertainment Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Saturday and Sunday are split into daytime and evening performances, however, each provide full day access to the retail village. With over 250 tradestands and a fun-filled five days of competition, it’s just the ticket to celebrate equestrian sport and enjoy a great family day out.