Interview with Laura Turner: Paralympic Torchbearer and Professional Horse Rider


She’s fashionable, she’s fabulous, she was one of the amazing Paralympic Torchbearers for 2012, she’s a professional horse rider. And she’s here on with her glamorous hi vis nails for Guide Dogs Stand Out Week and here to share her story.

It’s the wonderful and utterly gorgeous Laura Turner!

When did you first begin to get into sport?
I was never allowed to participate in P.E at main stream junior school, it was only when I started secondary school in 1996 that I was introduced to P.E as a subject and disability sport. By 1997 I was heavily involved with athletics through British Blind Sport (BBS) and in 1998 I was selected, for the first time, to represent Great Britain at the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) World Athletics Championships. From then on I trained and worked ard and went on to further selection for several other championships.
I had also been introduced the sport of goalball and in between all the athletics I trained and attended tournaments, representing my school. It wasn’t long till I was hooked on the sport and I was soon asked to attend squad training for the Great Britain women’s squad. In 2002 I was selected, for the first time, to be part of the team to attend a world championships tournament held in Florida, USA. Again, I went on to compete at several international tournaments and be part of the West Midlands women’s squad.
When I started secondary school I had also been introduced to horses and riding, of which I loved. However, due to all my sporting commitments and GCSE’s something ad to give and unfortunately at the time it had to be the riding. But I knew some day I would come back to it.
In 2003 after being in we full time work for 18 months, I went back to riding once a week and without going into detail, long story, I bought my first horse!! The idea being that I would enjoy riding lessons and all the grooming. However, being surrounded by so many encouraging and knowledgable people and having a very committed and supportive family, horses quickly became a big part if my life!! I was gradually introduced to dressage and in 2005 I parted with my first horse, Otis and moved onto bigger and better to be able to compete more. I bought Yoxmor Chloe a 16hh Irish Draught x Thoroughbred who is an absolute dream, my super-star and who has bought me home with many great scores, titles, rosettes, sashes and trophies. We have competed against both disabled and non-disabled riders and when riding her I feel no different to any one else – she is my eyes in the saddle, an inspirational horse and a one in a million.

2012 must have been a fantastic year for you. What was it that you most enjoyed about being a part of the Paralympics?
2012 was an absolute honour and one I will never forget. Many people will dream of carrying the torch or wearing a medal, and I was so grateful and proud to have been selected to be a Paralympic Torch Bearer. The fact that I’d carried the torch and flame did not hit me, till I watched the opening ceremony when the flame entered the stadium, for a moment I paused and said ti myself “wow what an honour, I’m so proud”.

Everything I was asked to do before, during and following the torch bearing was also an about honour. I met so many new people and inspired them with my story. I couldn’t believe how many people were so honoured to hold my torch and wanted photo after photo, it’s been held by so many!!

What advise would you give to someone who wants to get into sport?
Get out there and give sport a go. Don’t think that because you ave a disability that it stops you from participating in sport, or in anything in life – it’s all about the ability not the disability. There are lots of clubs and organisations that support disability sport and there also o
Great opportunities to apply for sports grants. Even if you don’t want to compete, sport is still a good way to keep fit and meet new people.


What current campaign work for disability are you currently doing?
None as such but I work for a company who support disabled people back into employment. I support Guide Dogs as much as I can and love being involved with them and their work to change life’s – it’s one way in which I can say thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a guide dog owner. Im general I love to inspire others.

Being a horse rider, tweed, field jackets and wellington boots must be a quintessential part of your wardrobe. What are you outdoor fashion essentials? 

I love shopping and this includes equestrian / outdoor clothing shopping!! I love Joules, it’s so classy and cute but fit for purpose, from polo-shirts to tweeds. Dublin Clothing is also a favourite of mine. As for boots, well, it has to be Ariat all the way!! I could live in my Ariat footwear!! To be honest I like all sorts of clothing, it really depends what’s in fashion and if I like it.

What retailers online and in store do you find the most accessible to shop in?
I shop online mainly, it’s so much easier than tackling the shops and I can do it myself, providing retailers provide a decent product description, which most do. Too many to list as I shop in loads.

Do you use any assistive technology to aid you when finding clothing?
Yes, Dolphin Supernova. And I’m a massive Apple lover so use my iPhone and iPad a lot.

Are there any Autumn/ Winter trends you are favouring this season?
I’m loving the new Joules collections and most other autumn / winter collections by other retailers, again it really depends what I’m looking to purchase. I could easily shop till I drop!!

What is your daily skincare and make up routine?
Moisturising and general skin care.

Are there any fashion essentials that you swear by?
Accessories, you can never have enough accessories!! If I don’t wear some sort of accessory I feel too dressed down.

Are there any make up essentials you swear by?
I only use the basics natural make-up; foundation, blusher, mascara, eye-shadow and lip-gloss. If I go out for a special occasion I will often ask my mum or sister to proper jazz the make-up and occasionally have extras put on.

From your pictures I m sure one of the things many would agree on is your glossy hair and tanned, healthy looking skin. Any tips or hints that you would like to share on how you achieve this?
I have go to the hairdressers ever 7-8 weeks and have my hair professionally coloured and cut. I wash it every day in L’Oreal Elvive Colour Protection, which is my secret to the healthy shiny look, along with Tresemme styling products.
I will admit, I occasionally use the sun-bed to top up my tanned look and I moisturise every day using Nivea skin care creams, again my secret to the healthy looking skin, highly recommended.
I have my nails done every 4 weeks. They are my own nails and the product used s Cal-Gel, which is a South African organic product. Another highly recommended nail treatment as it does not ruin your natural nails.

So we recently saw a fabulous picture of you with neon yellow nails for Guide Dogs stand out week. Have you been doing any more fashionably fabulous things to raise awareness for Guide Dogs or are you planning any?

The nails were a bit different! But excellent for Stand Out For Guide Dogs. Despite the hi-viz colour they went down well!! I haven’t done anything else in terms of fashion. I would, if there was ever an opportunity to do so, to have my own clothing range or a calendar shoot to raise money for Guide Dogs in a different way.

What are your aspirations for the future?
Continue to be open and inspire others.
Do more fundraising for Guide Dogs.
With backing from my partner, I / we are planning to put on an event in 2014 however, I can’t give details as it is still in early planning stages. Watch this space!!
I met my partner earlier this year. He owns an Ariel Atom car (the Atom is a high performance sports car that can reach a speed of aporox 150mph, described by Jeremy Clarkson as a go-kart on steroids!!) and provides an Atom track experience business. Through my own experiences of the car and participating in the 2013 Blind Drive for Guide Dogs, I am very keen to want to encourage more visually impaired / disabled persons to have a go in this area of sport. I love it, it’s buzzing and I love the speed!! I have also ad the pleasure of taking control of the wheel and completed 4 laps of the track, for peace of mind I was guided round by my partner through the helmet inter-com. We’d like to think I could learn to drive the car more and achieve something amazing. Some would say we’re mad but, it’s certainly achievable.

Finally, What do you think the public perceptions are towards visual impairment and fashion? And what do you think needs to be changed about them?
I do believe that many people still think that visually impaired and disabled people in general shouldn’t be fashionable. This shouldn’t be the attitude, we have the same right to be as fashionable as any other person of our age. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s when people treat me different and I happy and quick to politely put them right. For example people think I shouldn’t wear make-up because I can’t see, well why not, I’m a 28 year old lady. Some people even seem surprised when I tell them I’m in a relationship!! Society is changing but not quick enough.

laura turner


And you can follow Laura and her amazing journeys via twitter @vidressagerider!

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