Imagine you are an eight year old boy. An eight year old boy with a degenerative disease. Once, in your dim, distant past you could run and jump and skip as well as your friends. You could keep up when you played chase or ran to greet your parents. Now every time your friends run across the playground or to the park you can’t keep up you just can’t run as fast as them. Imagine Sports Day – everyone else has a chance of winning, but you know you will be last.
This eight year old boy gets the chance to come riding at RDA. He enjoys his first lesson – a nice gentle hack and arrives for the second lesson.
“I thought we’d do some races today” says the instructor, “Do you like races?”
The boy’s face falls, remembering all those times he can’t keep up with his friends far ahead of him.
“It’s different on horses” she says and he gamely agrees to give it a go.
Once mounted the boy learns how to steer his pony and remembers how to start and stop. The children line up for the first race.
“Ready, steady, GO!”
Helped by his leader and encouraged by his side-walker the boy and his pony walk up the line of cones, round the end cone and back.
“Well done, you won!”
Suddenly the boy realises – he can win, he is not left behind! What a great feeling! He and the other children compete for the other races: bending, ball in a bucket etc, everyone encouraged to do their best and everyone having fun.
At the end of the lesson another adult asks “how did you enjoy your lesson?”
The boy beams “I won two races!”
A life-changing moment.