I am Toby Pawson, 34, based in Epsom, Surrey. I was just 18 months old when I was found floating face down in my parents’ swimming pool and suffered brain damage as a result.
Riding became part of my rehab, and when I was 10 was talented spotted by Para Olympic Team GB. Over the next few years, I made leaps and bounds with my riding and stability. One of the major improvements came after my dad, Steve, bought an 11-year-old horse, Oyster II, giving me a new lease of life. With the help of coaches Clive Milkins and Jane Goldsmith, the British Paralympic dressage squad trainers, the dream was extended. I went on to represent GB at World Championships and other major internationals.
Since having Oyster, Harry, Painted Affair, and now Cosmo, my riding has helped me be the person I am today. With my new Coach, Shaun O’Sullivan, we have our eyes set on Tokyo. Even during these tough times, Shaun, and Steve and Annette Pawson, have supported me and we will continue to drive this forward as our top goal of 2021.
I am delighted to be an ambassador for Care for Veterans. The work the staff do and opportunities the residents get is amazing. The connection of some of the injuries they have, and how I have overcome my injury, fall in line. These Service men and women have given their all for this country and, with a lot of my close friends serving across the world, I am honoured to be associated with this great charity.
My thanks to Christine, James and Sue and all the staff at Care for Veterans for the care and dedication they are giving to these unsung heroes.