As outlined in my blog below, getting back up a horse has been quite a special journey…!
From meeting the beautiful Flash, amongst other Sunshine Coast RDA horses
– and being almost ‘thrown in the deep end’ by the RDA volunteers surprising me when I turned up on 21st February, saying that they wanted to get me up (but with me being unwell that day which affected my balance, we didn’t go ahead with it). At least I was a little more prepared with what was to come next session, when it finally happened!
We did, however, practice mount and dismount on the cute ‘pretend horse’, to see how we were going to manage getting up and back down again…
Finally, after 28yrs of not quite being brave enough to get back up there onto a horse – on Tuesday 7th March, the day arrived. I nervously but excitedly (have I mentioned how much I LOVE this feeling of nervous excitement, so, so much!!) drove out to the Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled complex at North Arm. It is such a beautifully relaxed drive out to the country to RDA..and the complex grounds are just so tranquil.
Pulling up (it had been explained to me that Flash, the horse I met at the very beginning, may not be the horse I would ultimately get to ride, as he may be booked in for other sessions with other riders/participants) at the grounds, I saw the girls who were to assist me on the ride, surrounding a beautiful grey spotted horse which was all saddled up. Turns out his name was Spot (funny that, with his markings! haha) and he was the horse which was to make my Dream come true. I made my way over to Spot and the girls, and met this gentle giant. What a beautiful horse he was, so gentle! “Lets do this!” I thought.
Some last minute discussions on how we were going to get me from where I was on the ground, up onto Spots back – and the next minute, I was up there! It turns out that all the hard work I have done with my fitness has really paid off, my core work especially…I sat up very straight on that horse, and didn’t find much trouble with my balance at all. Awesome!
(the helmet we used is a ‘soft’ helmet rather than the standard riding helmet, as we had to take into account my hydrocephalus, the other helmets pressed a little too hard onto the front of my head, for my liking).
Still feeling quite uncomfortable about being up top of this magnificent creature, I steadied myself and then we were off for a short walk, turning around at the end of the field, and coming back again. I had a number of handlers around me, reassuring me that I was ‘safe’ up there – I had a few memories come flooding back of the last time I got thrown off a horse back when I was 19…but I was determined not to let those memories and my insecurities stop me from enjoying this experience.
I was OK, until Spot suddenly stopped, and his ears were flicking in different directions…he was just having a good look around him, but it did make me feel a little nervous (given that when I fell off in the past, all I remember is ‘my horse’s ears suddenly “standing to attention” then the horse racing off, throwing me off in the process). I need to move past this fear…which is a big part of why I’m looking forward to my next session! At least I’ve taken the biggest step, and gotten back up on a horse…something I had avoided for many years.
Bring on next session…I cant wait to get back up and conquer this fear even more than I already have! Thank you to all at Sunshine Coast RDA for making this possible..including of course Spot (and Flash, and the other horses I’ve met along the way of my various sessions of ‘familiarising’ myself with these beautiful beasts).
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE….when you face your fears, and work through them!