The Beginning...

This story began over thirteen years ago when a small 11 year old boy, Dale Johnston dared to dream. He dreamt of riding a horse and to one day experience the pride of representing Australia in the Paralympics.Most who know Dale are aware of his goals, and the determination and courage he has to achieve them…

Dale is now a 24 year old delightful young man, still determined to achieve his goals, despite having multiple disabilities - he is a serious dressage competitor, and dedicated to this sport. At six months of age 

Dale Johnston contracted meningitis which left him with an acquired brain injury resulting in multiple permanent complications including a right hemiplegia (stroke), epilepsy, hearing loss, shunted hydrocephalus and a development impairment.Even with these difficulties Dale has never stopped striving to achieve his goals.

Dreams & Ambition...

Dale’s goals and DREAMS still remain:To always continue to improve and develop his dressage skills, and to compete at the highest level attainable.Dale was recently selected onto the Australian Para Equestrian National Future Squad. He hopes to again represent Australia in future international events.And ultimately represent Australia in future Paralympics.He is an Internationally Classified Grade 2 Para Equestrian Dressage Competitor. He has an International Dressage Competitors License.

Dale now has an international FEI World Ranking of 6th for Grade 2, with the second highest score during 2013 in Australia for Para Equestrians. An amazing achievement when you consider Dale’s world ranking was recognised whilst competing on several different borrowed horses during international competition with limited training time on each horse before competing.Dale continues to train 3-6 days a week and has regular coaching under the watchful eye of talented coach Linda Cleary. Linda has been Dale’s dressage coach for the past 2 years, always encouraging and supporting Dale and he is grateful that Linda believes in his dream!

2013 - What a year!

2013 has been an incredible journey for Dale his achievements throughout the year have been a tribute to his determination, passion and talent.  Reflections on his journey during the past year are many successful competitions including local open dressage competitions riding his own horse Bouncer Bob. Bob is a beautiful 23 year old thoroughbred gelding, Dale and Bob have developed an incredible bond over the past 5 years however Bob is soon to enjoy a well earned retirement and will remain part of Dale’s family for the rest of his days. Dale is presently searching for a suitable replacement to continue with him, developing and advancing his dressage skills.

During June and July, Dale represented Australia in international dressage championships in both Somma Lombardo Italy and the Hartpury Dressage Festival in the U.K. riding borrowed horses Bicardo and Lollipop with only a few days of training on each horse Dale produced great performances and scored very respectable marks. He gained a wealth of knowledge and experience and he will always value the friendships that developed with fellow competitors during his OS journey. Dale was a popular competitor and a respected ambassador for his country.

Other achievements since returning from Overseas

During November he was a representative of the RDA NSW State Team, gaining 1st place for Grade 2  at Werribee Victoria riding a borrowed horse ‘I Spy”. During December international Para Equestrian Dressage at the Saddleworld Dressage Festival Werribee Victoria riding a borrowed horse ‘I Spy”. He was awarded 1st, 2nd and 5th place.On returning from competition during January 2014 at Boneo Park Victoria CDI 3 star, riding a borrowed horse ‘I Spy”. Dale was successful in being selected for the Australian National Future Squad.Dale also received a prestigious award from Equestrian NSW in recognition of Elite Performance during 2013.

Another highlight for 2013, Dale received a Coffs Coast Inclusive Community Award for his inspiring personal contribution to the Coffs Coast Community.

Where you can help...

Ongoing expenses for training and keeping both horse and rider fit and in good competition condition, entries, accommodation, membership registrations, insurances, caring for horses etc are a continued and increasing effort for Dale’s mum Karen (also his sole carer).

She has supported and encouraged Dale throughout his incredible journey, recently Karen was awarded the Gillian Helfgott Carer’s Award for enabling fuller life experiences, in recognition for her dedication to Dale’s Paralympic Dream. He has come so far and has what it takes to continue on this journey, however they do need help to fund raise and secure sponsorship.

Dale has an established authority to fund raise, but his training and competition schedule doesn’t allow time to organise fund raising events to support his dream.Thank you for your time and consideration in reading Dale’s Quest,  and if you require further details, please email Karen This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Upcoming Events

NCEC  2020

Update : Nana Glen grounds will be open for training and exercise from Sat 6th June. There will be a sign in book located near the pay Shute that you must fill in with date, time of arrival, your name and phone number. Please follow all government guidelines re: social distancing and numbers are currently limited to ten. No camping allowed. Please just come ride and hose your horse at home if possible. Toilets are open for use. 


18th July 2021 NCEC T-Shirt Dressage Day


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