Like many children, I dreamed of riding horses when I was a child.
A part of me will always be that girl begging her parents for her own version of Black Beauty. I was fortunate enough to join RDA as an adult and my childhood dreams were met in many ways that a young me couldn’t imagine. Sadly, Black Beauty still isn’t in my garden but Rocky and Cruise make good substitutes every week.
On a physical level adapted riding is one of the greatest therapies that I have experienced and the sessions complement and extend my existing exercise programmes. When you are on a horse you need to learn to trust and move in harmony with your body, which is difficult with something like cerebral palsy. I started barely managing 10 minutes and can now do a full hour. I have learnt to relax and isolate individual muscles creating better movements. My muscles relax on the horse so there are less spasms. My legs are fairly weak and leg strength is a crucial part of riding. I have developed some voluntary movement in my ankles as I learn to move with the horse. I am developing better balance and the ability to shift my weight and stand with more confidence. Cruise is the best standing frame in the world!
On a psychological level, I am developing my confidence that my body won’t let me down. Miranda and the team tailor the riding activities to reflect individual needs and goals. I am feeling better in myself and gaining more stamina with every ride, which in turn motivates me to continue my other exercise activities. As I am becoming more harmonious with Cruise or Rocky I am becoming more in tune with my own body.