animals, especially ones with four legs, but my all – time favourite
animal has to be without a doubt the horse. I have been riding with the
South Bucks RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) for about four
years now; it is the highlight of my week.
My instructors are Theresa and her daughter Alison. Riding helps my disability because it helps me improve my balance, and sometimes I even take part in competitions. Riding helps me to improve my confidence and make me work my weaker arm and leg more so I become stronger, too.
Medical professionals recognise that there are also significant therapeutic benefits for the disabled rider. The warmth and three dimensional movement of the horse is transmitted through the rider’s body, gradually making it more relaxed and supple, reducing spasms and improving balance, posture and co-ordination.
I love all the horses at Fulmer, I ride a range of different horses, some really tall ones and some horses that have even taken part in really big competitions! I find that the horses are all very good natured and they always listen to me, Dad says that I should speak to them like they are good friends of mine.
The RDA stables are very big there are two arenas, one inside and one out. There are lots of lush green grassy fields that all the horses can graze in, and when it gets cold in winter they go into their cosy stables. We normally use the indoor arena, but if it is sunny we use the outdoor one, and sometimes the younger riders get to walk around the woods that surround the stables. The arenas are marked out by letters, and there is a diagram of the indoor arena I have drawn for you to look at.
We usually have leaders, who are some of the volunteers at the RDA, to walk alongside us on our horses and make sure we get everything right. Sometimes, we get to unclip the lead rope and we ride on our own. The volunteers are all very helpful, and they make sure that we don’t fall off our horses. (Although I did fall off one of the horses once, but luckily I was not hurt a lot!)
We practice all sorts of things whilst riding, such as changing the rein, going through obstacles and being aware of other riders. We are taught how to ride on a public path, how to be aware of people and cars around us. Our main gait is walk, but sometimes our instructors let us trot a bit, which is always great fun for the horses and the riders!
Horse riding is a great sport which I endeavour to carry on with for many years. It is a good form of exercise and it gives me a chance to spend time with my favourite animal.
My Dad says he has only ridden two types of horses the ones that spend most of their time trying to shake him off, and the ones who won't move whatever you do to them. I am glad the horses the horses I ride are not like those.