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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Jodie Mckeone unstoppable as she chases down her dream

ABOVE: Jodie Mckeone takes the bronze for Australia. Picture: MARTIN DOKOUPIL

AUSTRALIAN carriage driver Jodie Mckeone is living out her dream, claiming the bronze medal in the Grade I class at the FEI Para Driving World Championship for Singles in Exloo, The Netherlands.

Jodie drove a Hackney gelding called Royal Walker, owned by Great Britain’s George Bowman, to be 11th after the dressage with a score of 62.40 penalties, before a sensational drive in the marathon phase on 81.46 lifted her to third position on a total of 143.86.

The cones phase was televised live on FEI TV with Australian driving fans glued to their screens as she added just three faults to her score, securing the bronze medal on 146.86.

It has been a long hard road for Jodie, especially after a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. The recovery post bone marrow transplant to stop the progression has taken its toll and has required incredible willpower for her to reach personal goals.

Some of these have had to be redirected but she said when The Regional interviewed her in October last year this is just part of life.

“You cannot go forward if you are not prepared to constantly self-assess and evolve,” she said.

And go forward he has.

“As a para-equestrian, I have had my share of ups and downs and have struggled with the effects of Multiple Sclerosis Relaxing Remitting (MSRR),” Jodie said.

“In addition, I was diagnosed with stroke and Spinal Segmental Myoclonus in January 2023. I took a deep breath and had a chat to myself, realising that my health was unlikely to improve and I had to follow my dreams … now.”

ABOVE: Jodie Mckeone and Royal Walker powering through the marathon course. Picture: MARTIN DOKOUPIL

Jodie said her sporting achievements would not have been possible without the support of others.

“I have had the most wonderful support from Equestrian Australia’s Christie Freeman, Julia Battams and Corby Cunnington,” she said.

“The encouragement shown by Christie, Julia and Corby gave me the drive to go for it, and here I am.

“I had to make my own way to the UK to qualify for the World Championships and I have been based at George Bowman’s yard in the Lakes District at Cumbria near the Scottish border and I have had the use of his horses to prepare and take part at Exloo.”

“Being based with the Bowmans has been educational and inspirational – George Senior, aged 88, still drives a team of four every day.”

If you missed The Regional’s profile of Jodie Mckeone last year, it can still be read here: Jodie harnesses her power within to tackle life head on

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