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Daniel Thompson's Story

Six year old Daniel Thompson has been riding at Henderson Group RDA for the past two years.  His medical diagnosis is Nemaline Myopathy, which is a neuromuscular condition, and he tires easily as a result.   The doctors say that his muscles will become more and more weaker over time as his condition slowly progresses. 

Daniel’s condition leaves him unable to run or jump, and he struggles to do things that other people take for granted, such as getting his clothes on over his head.  Often as he gets up off the floor, he needs to use his hands on his thighs so he can stand up.

Despite this, Daniel’s parents Nicola and Giles describe their son as a smart and chatty boy. 

“He often says ‘I may be weak, but I am clever!’” says mum Nicola.

Daniel was officially recommended to RDA by his physio at Child Development, primarily to work on his core strength.  His parents initially had mixed views on his participation in this type of therapy, as they were unsure if it would provide any tangible benefits for Daniel.

At his first riding session, which was also Daniel’s first ever time on the back of a Horse, he absolutely loved the experience.  Afterwards he delighted in telling anyone and everyone about his riding session and how much he enjoyed it.

Under the care of Henderson Group RDA’s Respiratory Team, Daniel continued to be part of regular therapeutic riding sessions in the Group’s arena. 

The Groups’ coaches and therapists worked together to formulate a set of goals specifically for Daniel, focussing on him staying mobile as long as possible to help delay the deterioration of Daniel’s muscles.  On the Horse it was important that he used his postural muscles to be upright, and able to turn, rotate and reach within his limitations.  The sessions also focussed on helping Daniel to breathe in and out more deeply and effectively , including blowing activities to help his weak respiratory system.

As a result, Daniel’s parents saw him develop improved balance and posture over time, as well as much-need confidence that came from learning new Horse skills such as trotting.  This year Daniel attended a Regional Games event in Auckland, where he won several ribbons and had a fantastic experience – which also provided a point of difference amongst his school friends and family.

Nicola also says that he absolutely loves to draw and it is a big passion of his.

“He always has his pens out drawing things, particularly ninjas and horses’.

Thanks in part to this passion, Daniel was the only RDA Rider to be chosen as a participant in the Great RDA Horse Doodle campaign, drawing a picture of his Horse 'Decima' in support of Henderson group RDA

You can read more about Henderson Group RDA at: www.hendersonrda.org.nz

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