CP Sport collected a range of profiles from people with CP that participate in sport, as well as profiles from coaches, physiotherapists and parents of players to use as promotional material during the #CPAwarenessMonth. We aim to encourage more people with CP to take part in sport by sharing positive stories and delivering opportunities.
Name: Millie Boo Smith
Athlete (Para Horse Rider – Dressage)
About me: Millie Boo was born 14 weeks early in 2006 weighing just 1 pound 12 ounces and has cerebral palsy and bilateral hearing loss. However, she has not let these define her life and has ridden horses since 2014. From 2017, Millie has competed at a Scottish and UK National Level. She is role model for young people with disabilities and in 2022 spoke to a group of young riders at Muirfield Riding Therapy Group about her journey and how she gets on with life. She takes everything head on and always lives life with a smile.
How I benefit from playing sport: Horse riding has meant that Millie Boo has not required invasive surgery or botox injections in her legs. Horse riding has improved Millie’s balance, core strength, confidence and wellbeing. In Millie’s own words “when I ride I feel free”.
The impact sport has had on my life:
Horse riding has had a huge positive impact on Millie’s life. It has given her firstly a hobby, a way of interacting with other riders with disabilities, confidence to take part in a sport and she has achieved huge success in her riding career to date. She has met Princess Anne when receiving the RDA participant of the year award in November 2021. She was chosen from over 20,000 riders over 500 RDA groups. She was also nominated as a finalist in the 2022 YoungScot awards and also won Forth Valley Disability Sports Junior Sportsperson of the year in 2022. She also won an award through her school for her riding and volunteering work.
My ambitions in sport: Millie won the RDA National Championships as a junior rider in 2022. She turned 16 in October 2022 and in 2023 will now compete as a senior rider against adults. Short term Millie would like to try and compete in the RDA National Championships in Hartpury in 2023 and try her best to be placed in the top 6. Longer term Millie would like to continue down the Para route and one day compete in dressage at the Paralympics.
What would you say to others with CP about playing sport: Do not let your disability stand in your way – having a disability should not stop you trying sports until you find one that is suitable. Although I compete it is not always about winning but taking part and doing the best you can and being the best you can be. Don’t be scared to give something a go.
What other sports I would like to try given the opportunity: I love horse riding so much and there is still so much to learn. I am trying to master cantering which takes more balance and strength as well as trying dressage to music. Although she is deaf she says she can “feel” the music.