17 year old Imogen was born with Global Developmental Delay and other intellectual disabilities which impacted on her ability to focus, interpret situations and socialise with others.
To complement Imogen’s existing therapies – which included speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and swimming – Imogen joined the riding programme at North Shore RDA at the start of 2013. She quickly bonded with her RDA horse, Herc.
Imogen’s mother Nicola says that the change in Imogen was dramatic and noticed by family, friends and the school.
“My daughter Imogen had finally found something she adored. It changed her whole persona from a little girl with no confidence and huge frustration to a happy and focussed child, who is now a sociable young woman.”
Time sequencing had been a big problem for Imogen and the riding gave her something to look forward to and helped with learning the days of the week and school holidays and more. Thanks to riding, Imogen has become more independent and very organised, referring to her online diary to keep track of daily and weekly activities.
It is so obvious that horse riding makes her happy and there was an instant change in her well-being when she took up riding at RDA. She made friends and improved her recall of names and events.
Two years ago Imogen graduated to a dressage class at RDA which has further developed her independence and her skills in concentration and communication. With increased confidence in herself from her achievements at RDA, Imogen, more recently, has taken up other activities, including Pilates and StarJam, enjoying the interaction with others in the classes. She has a strong bond with her horse, Cruise and with the volunteers who are such an important part of RDA.