I came to live in Dorset in 1974. I needed something to do other than the school run for our three children. A friend suggested I help with the RDA. Within months I found myself leading Cadbury, a very sweet, obliging pony. It took a while to learn and understand the needs of the disabled children, but every Thursday morning since then, I have endeavored to turn up. Over the years I have noticed the benefit children gain from riding, as do their parents.
Volunteers are given training as it is important that, whether you are a side walker or lead a pony, everyone is in unison.
I became more involved with our group and took on the job of secretary and for a short time, chairman.
Then Australia came into my life and I spent three months in Sydney. Not being a city person, I joined a local RDA group.
Several years later (2012), when equestrian teams came to England for the Olympic Games, our group was invited to meet the Australian Paralympic team riders who were stabled nearby.
On recalling my story, I was told that the mother of one of the grooms present had been in my Australian group.
I then realised that not only do we have a unique membership in our own country, but worldwide; all of us working with the same aim to give disabled people a new dimension to their lives. It was noted that the majority of participants in the Equestrain Paralympics had come through the RDA.
It is a great feeling that, as a humble housewife, you belong to a very special worldwide organisation, and over the years I have made many good friends.