Paralympic medal-winning dressage rider Ricky Balshaw has announced he is retiring from the sport and stepping down from the British squad.
“For the last eight months my heart hasn’t been in the sport as it once was,” Ricky told H&H after posting an official statement about his retirement on his Facebook profile on 25 May.
The 29-year-old said he “was getting to the stage where I want different things from life”.
Earlier this week (Tuesday, 31 May) he started his new job as a sales executive for Furrows Ford in Shrewsbury.
“I’m still dealing in horse power,” joked Ricky, who was jubilant after securing his first sale on the second day of his new job.
Ricky has been competing since the age of 14 on the senior British para team, so knew his CV wasn’t going to be ideal for securing a new career.
“I’ve always had an interest in cars, so looked online, found a job, rang them and found the guy on the end of the phone had sold me my first car,” he said.
Fate also played a part in securing Ricky’s place on the British para team.
In 2000 aged 13 he collected a raffle prize from Jane Goldsmith, who was the para team coach and she invited him to the trials. There he secured his team place becoming the youngest ever rider on the senior team.
Riding in the grade Ib classification, Ricky represented Britain in Beijing in 2008, winning the silver medal with Deacons Georgi. He has represented Britain at the European Championships, World Equestrian Games and Paralympics, winning medals at all three events.
The highlight of his dressage career was winning silver with Deacons Georgi in 2008 and meeting Anna Brown, his personal coach who is now his girlfriend.
The low hit two weeks after Beijing when Ricky fell from a young horse he was riding and was dragged.
“The moment I opening my eyes I could feel electricity coursing through my torso and knew I had done some damage,” he said.
Ricky has suffered a good many injuries during his riding career, breaking ribs, his back, knee and cracking his skull.
“From the high of Beijing to the being face down in dirt made me realise how horses ground you. They are good levellers,” he added.