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SyncThermology Blog

SyncEquine Sponsors Para Rider Leonie Saffy And Jack

Tuesday, June 20, 2017  ‹ Back To Latest News List

SyncThermology has been providing clinical standard thermology to the veterinary industry since 2009, initially specialising in equine screening before expanding their services to small animals and zoology work in 2014. SyncEquine and SyncCanine are branches of our main company SyncThermology.  SyncEquine is delighted to announce that this year we will be sponsoring Leonie Saffy and her pony Jack. 

Leonie Saffy is a 14 year old grade 2 Para Dressage rider from Ruabon, Wrexham.  Leonie was born with a rare neuromuscular disorder, called Multiple Pterygium Syndrome – Escobar Type.  There are only 50 recorded cases globally.  Escobar Syndrome affects the body’s ability to build muscle and connective tissue when the baby is forming, resulting in mass damage to all muscle tissue.  The spinal curve puts pressure on Leonie’s internal organs, mainly her heart and lungs.   

In 2012  Zara and Jason Saffy were convinced by her Physiotherapist that horse riding may benefit Leonie’s condition and she started riding at the Clwyd Special Riding Centre with Dyffryn Ceiriog RDA Group.  The immense benefits led Leonie onto a life changing career pathway starting at the tender age of 10.   

Leonie is the youngest rider on the Disability Sport Wales Programme to be selected at the Para Home International, riding for Wales in both 2014, 2015, and 2016.  She was awarded Welsh Para Rider of the Year in 2016. 

Assessed as an RDA Grade 2 rider, Leonie has also secured numerous RDA titles including the 2015 and 2016 Bob Galbreath Trophy for the highest scoring dressage junior over the whole RDA National Championships.  She is Grade 2 National Class Champion for both the Freestyle and the Championship test.  

Impressively, Leonie went on to be selected to ride for Great Britain, at her first 2* International at the end of July 2016 when she rode for Great Britain at Bishop Burton as the youngest and only pony rider in the 2* classes, being placed 2nd in Novice, Team and Freestyle.  

In November 2016 Leonie had full spinal fusion at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.  She was in theatre for 11 hours and had 20 titanium screws, 2 rods and had 3 ribs broken to get the spinal correction and take the pressure off her internal organs.   In the run up to the surgery Leonie trained very hard to ensure her recovery time was as short as possible.  She is aiming to be back in saddle as soon as she gets the all clear from her surgeon.

Meanwhile Jack, her team mate and beloved pony is waiting in the wings for his partner to regain her fitness.  His fittening regime also continues so he can support Leonie in her new quest going forward. After a few false starts, Jack was found and bought for Leonie 2 years ago as a 19 year old English riding pony.  He has competed in dressage before, but never to the level he is now.   Leonie said, “He has given me so much confidence, he knows his job and always tries his hardest when we are away from home competing.  Being 21 we are very careful to make sure that he is as heathy as possible, using joint supplements and good quality feed.  He has a strict exercise and balanced rest programme”.   It is at this point that SyncEquine is stepping up to sponsor Jack and Leonie for 2017 as they both prepare for the up and coming season.  

Leonie said: “Having SyncEquine working with us we will be able to see and be aware any potential issues before they cause a problem for Jack.  My condition means I tend to be stronger on one side, so seeing how that translates through to Jacks body, will help us to make sure we keep him even by varying exercises to counteract my effect on him.  His health is of the upmost importance to us and we can work with SyncEquine, the vets and his chiropractor/physio to head off any possible problems.  We are looking forward to working with SyncEquine!”.  

Sophie Gent - SyncEquine MD Said: “We couldn’t be happier to support Leonie and her pony, Jack.  Leonie has come such a long way, braved the odds and remains positive and cheerful.  We very much look forward to sharing in their continued journey and are proud to be associated with the Saffy Team.   We wish Leonie and Jack all the very best and look forward to working with them throughout 2017”.

SyncThermolgy has successfully developed into a national company and are currently expanding.  Sync Equine sits under the umbrella of SyncThermology, and has a scientific and evidence based approach to thermography and are aiming to gain further momentum in its role as a diagnostic tool for Vets within their practices.  

Leonie had applied for the 2016 World Class Podium Potential Programme, which is a feeder programme for Paralympic Team GB although she was too young to be selected at the time.  She will be sure to apply again in 2018 when she will be old enough to ride in trials.  

SyncEquine are delighted to be sharing in this exciting journey ahead.