CP Sport collected profiles from people with CP that have participated in physical activity during 2023. The profiles are being used to celebrate and showcase the activities that have been achieved this year.

Name: Lily Mckay (athlete)
Role: Athlete
Region: Gloucestershire
Club: Patchwork RDA, Unicorn Equestrian Centre, Bristol City Cerebral Palsy Football Club
Which sports did you participate in during 2023: In 2023, I participated in horse-riding where I competed in Dressage and Vaulting (gymnastics / dancing on a horse). I also play football every week for Bristol City Cerebral Palsy Football Club.
What was your biggest achievement in physical activity in 2023: Horse-riding: In 2023 I competed for the first time ever at the RDA Nationals at Hartbury College in the Summer. I entered a Dressage Test on a horse called Bruno and I won my class and became the National Champion. My medal was presented to me by a Paralympian. I also entered the Vaulting competition at the Nationals on a barrel. My vaulting coach Issy choreographed a routine to ‘The Nutcracker’. Again this was the first time I had competed at the Nationals and I entered the pre-novice compulsories. I was competing against experienced vaulters and I came second and got a second place rosette. Both events were on the same day. In November I also entered the Virtual RDA Nationals. I competed in a walk / trot dressage test on a horse called Blackberry and scored 70% and achieved 3rd place. I also entered the Barrel vaulting competition again and I entered a higher class – Novice Compulsories. I came first this time and was so pleased to be a National Champion twice in a year.
Football I play for Bristol City Cerebral Palsy Football Club every week and last year was my first season. In May 2023 at the end of the season, I was awarded Coach’s Player of the Season and Most Improved Player of the Season. I got two trophies and felt very proud going up to collect them – they are on display in my room. In the Summer of 2023, I also participated in an international football tournament in Copenhagen representing England for Bristol City CPFC and played against other international teams. I was one of 3 girls at the tournament and loved it. To raise money for this I also ran the Bristol family fun run.
How did you benefit from participating in physical activity throughout 2023: I participate in sports most days, although have a couple of rest days but I don’t really rest. I love playing sports, horse-riding is a big passion and helps me with my core strength and balance. I love being around horses, it makes me so happy being at the stables in the fresh air. Vaulting is a great sport for me as helps me with my strength, my left hand side is getting so much stronger since I started. Each session starts off with lots of stretches which is what I need to do to keep flexible. I have a vaulting barrel in my garden and the house so I can train during the week which keeps me strong. I also love playing football and I am so happy to be part of a team with other children who also have CP. I have made some really good friends there and we have so much fun. Football helps me to stay fit but it also makes me really happy. I love it when we play a competitive game. I play in defence/midfield and I also score the occasional goal.
What would you like to achieve in sport in 2024: In 2024, I would love to try show jumping, I have just started and I really enjoy it and I am learning a lot. I would love to show jump at the RDA Nationals. I am also working on a new vaulting routine for 2024 which has some very challenging moves involving going upside down. Ideally, I would like to compete on an actual horse, as well as a barrel. I am trying to find a vaulting horse so I can do this. In football I just want to keep playing. In 2024 Bristol City CP FC are hosting an international festival and we will play teams from across Europe which I am really looking forward to. I want to continue to improve my skills.
Which other sports would you like to try in 2024: In 2024, I would like to try more swimming. I have recently attended a swimming training camp which really helped me with my stroke, breath control and symmetry, but I do not have a club or local pool to practice regularly. I want to continue with my show jumping too.  
What would you say to other people with CP that are thinking of trying physical activity in 2024: Try as many sports as you can. I have tried everything – gymnastics, climbing, swimming, riding, football, rugby, dance, horse-riding. The more you try, eventually you will find sports that you love. I don’t really do that much physio apart from stretches at home as sport is my physio. Every sport that I do offers something different in terms of helping my condition and sport is so much more fun than physio.
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