Bradley goes riding by the river
Bradley particularly seems to enjoy going out for rides. Around the racecourse, or down to the river, with many different noises, and sights. There is often a breeze at the river and all the different sensory aspects must make for a more stimulating ride.
Bradley will never be able to achieve many of the goals other riders achieve. For Bradley, Riding for the Disabled (RDA) is a lot more about maintaining the abilities he has, rather than improving them.
Bradley (now 22 years old) has limited mobility and is non verbal, he has very low muscle tone and makes dyskinetic movements. He requires 24-hour care, and can do no tasks independently. But with the assistance of two side-walkers and someone leading, he can ride a horse!
Although Bradley always rides with two side-walkers, they are often only using a visual hold. On his horse, Honey, Bradley has space around him. He finally gets to look at people from a higher point than them, instead of always looking at their bellies! The horse’s forward walk stimulates Bradley, and his core strength is noticeably better after regular riding sessions.
It is always rewarding to see how Bradley will at times self-correct his balance if he is tilting slightly to one side. Honey always copes beautifully with all that is required of her whenever Bradley is at a riding session. She stands perfectly still as the coach puts Bradley into the saddle.
Initially, when he started at RDA, Bradley could not hold his head up and look around. Over time he grew stronger. Over the years he has had to have breaks from riding while recuperating from surgeries to both feet and legs, and spinal fusion at 15 years of age.
His Mum and his Grandmother are so grateful for RDA. Here’s what his Grandmother has to say about riding:
“Riding has improved his core strength and balance, and has given him a social life. He has made so many friends. Of course, he couldn’t do this without the assistance of the wonderful RDA team. Our family are in their debt.”