Bailey at Snowball Farm Equestrian Centre, Burnham

Here I am on Bailey, enjoying my first hack in the countryside in 25 yrs.  I can’t adequately express how happy it makes me to be on a horse again, at the grand old age of 53, with an altered nervous system, bad co-ordination, poor core strength and a fused ankle.

Horse-Riding was the only form of exercise I could think of, which would enable me to build and maintain my stomach muscles, without impacting on my fused ankle.  But it’s given me so much more than that already.

I can nearly stand on tiptoe, I can mount the horse unaided, save the necessary mounting block as the horse I ride is nearly 6ft to the shoulder, and I’m learning to transition from walking to trotting and back again, with increasingly less bounce in the bum department.

I was surprised to find that riding for “the disabled” is much more of a group activity, with no real in-built progression.  Whereas what I was seeking was a gradual building of strength and a return to a more recognisable sport.  When I watched the team competing in the Paralympics, I was inspired to rediscover my love of horses, in spite of my diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility Type, in 2015.

I recommend getting on a horse to anyone with disabilities – they are the most compassionate creatures.

Riding as Therapy

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