Hometown: lives in St Barnet, Mill Hill, West London.
Coach: Elder Klatzko
Horse: Clever Boy
Classification: Grade I
Events: Individual Test, Team Test, Freestyle.
Michael qualified for Tokyo on his previous horse (Skjoldsgaard Hipp-vo) with whom he was 12th at the 2019 European Championships. He says COVID restrictions actually helped him as it made him focus on getting and working with a Paralympic-quality horse.
He first competed for Ireland in the Hartpury three star in 2018, a big moment as he was returning to the sport for the first time in three years, after struggling with motivation after the loss of his eldest brother James in a kayaking accident in New Zealand in 2015. Michael has only partnered ‘Clever Boy’ (aka ‘Charlie) in the past year but they’ve already excelled. They dominated their class, with a string of first places, at this year’s Munich and Hartpury three star events and scored a PB of 82% in the Freestyle in Hartpury.
Michael is a permanent wheelchair user. He was born, in London, with a rare progressive disorder called Dejerine-Sottas (a peripheral neuropathy which lessens reflexes, sensation, muscle tone and motor control). He had a double spinal fusion when he was 14 and is a permanent wheelchair user. He graduated with a biology degree from the University of Warwick last year and works as an environmental advisor for a large construction company in London. His grandmother is from Belfast, his grandfather is from Cork and, in 2012, Michael was a torch bearer on one of the relay legs for the London Olympics.