Year Elevens from Lacon Childe who took part in 24 hours of sport enjoyed every moment of the experience that K12 Challenge offered. As the organiser of our group I had to take on the extra responsibility of making sure that everyone turned in their application forms and started to get sponsors, as well as ensuring that our event was going to be a success. Although this was a task in itself, every second was worth it, I am proud and happy to say that our group has raised £1000 for Perry RDA and I hope to go and learn more about the centre and the amazing work they do when my exams have finished. Organising such a large and challenging event, as well as actually taking part in the 24 hours of sport, taught me that anything is possible, especially when you are part of a team and when you are driven by the desire to make a difference.
I feel so much more confident about facing new challenges knowing I have this experience behind me. Getting young people to help others by doing sporting challenges unites and teaches in a way I have never seen anywhere else and we are all so grateful to have been part of K12 Challenge.
We wish the other groups all the best of luck completing their challenges.
Team Fox-Pitt are pleased to be supporting K12Challenge….
The following was posted on their website and they gave similar support on their twitter account:
@K12Challenge is a group of children in the West Midlands, who are raising money for a local Riding for the Disabled group – @Perry Riding, Driving and Vaulting.. Their hope is to get 100 groups of children all raising £1000 per group, by taking on a variety of sponsored sporting challenges. They are doing challenges such as 24 hrs of sport, sky diving, canoe rides, side saddle hunting, mud runs and triathlons. Please help them by liking the K12Challenge page – and if you are interested in getting involved, their website is www.k12challenge.co.uk.
Mark, a grateful father:
My comments would be that our Sunday morning horse riding, is an important part of Benjamin’s life, which provides him with both some variety in terms of the activities he can take part in, but also being on a weekly basis, provides a weekly routine which appeals to his autistic thought processes . The horse riding has been great for all of us, including grandad as we are obviously very limited in the group activities we can participate in as a family and it gives us great pleasure to see him interacting with your side walkers who are great with him.
Thank you for your letter about the K12Challenge. We thought it was so interesting, we’re awarding you a Blue Peter Badge which we hope you’ll enjoy wearing!”
“With best wishes from Barney, Lindsey, Radzi and all of us at Blue Peter”.
Sarah Thomas – a mother of 3 boys who have enjoyed and benefited from The Perry RDA Group, over the last 9 years:
“It is wonderful to see young people being so committed to helping make the Cavalier Centre a reality. The centre will offer life changing opportunities for disabled young people and adults and all those who take part in the K12 Challenge should be very proud of doing so.”
A grateful mother:
‘Our daughter loves the contact with the ponies. She enjoys the interaction with the helpers which is improving her confidence and communication skills as well as teaching her about riding in a relaxed and gentle manner’
A mother talking about her daughter:
‘She enjoys her sessions here. Thanks – Great. Like the way children have to help with everything’
A few words from one of the children:
‘Since riding again my self esteem has increased. The riding has improved the muscle tone in my legs and has made me more stable and improved my balance and confidence. Thank you’
‘Thank you Perry group for helping us develop the most wonderful and able child from the raw material with which we were blessed. Thank you for your tireless patience and effort and allowing us to join in and achieve’.
‘Being part of the wider Perry group has also been valuable. Our eldest son has been able, in particular, to experience contributing to this community by volunteering and this has really helped to develop his independence’.
‘The main benefits for our sons have been the development of confidence and self esteem. The other areas of development are around relationship building, communication and, of course, physical skills’
‘Thanks for the opportunity to make such good friends with other families striving to reach their own goals and for understanding that one some of the more difficult days, that a hug, a custard cream and half an hour with like minded people whilst our children are being worked with by people they love and trust. Priceless’.
Some words from Rebecca,
After my accident back in 1995, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to ride again. I had broken my back and was paralysed from the chest downwards.
Before the accident I lived and breathed racing and thoroughbreds. Nothing gave me a greater thrill than schooling young point to pointers or ‘chasers over fences, educating the two and three year olds or hunting the pointers, or working them on the gallops.
When I came out of hospital three months after the accident I felt that I no longer knew my body. My head, arms and shoulders we’re fit and strong but below my chest I could only feel a strange and unsettling burning. It was as if my body below the level of my injury had been amputated and yet I could still experience this debilitating and unrelenting pain.
Secretly, I desperately needed to know how it would feel to sit on a horse. Without telling anyone, I asked a local racehorse trainer if I could have a sit on his daughter’s 12hh pony and walk around the gallops. The pony was a whippet thin chestnut mare who only had two paces, jog and gallop, and thought she was one of the racehorses. I was lifted on board, losing all my dignity in the process,and the first thing I realised was that, without the use of my core stomach muscles to keep me vertical, I would have to lean forward and hold onto the neck. The second thing was that a saddle and stirrups were pointless and the third thing was that this idea had not been very well thought through.
I died a silent death as the reality dawned on me. I could barely even sit on a horse’s back, let alone ride in any meaningful way. I sold my own two horses and over the next few years gradually came to terms with a different way of life and took up new interests. As the years went by, my body felt less alien but it also became very stiff and almost wheelchair shaped. To combat this I take every opportunity to lie down and stretch but it isn’t very satisfactory and quite boring.
It occurred to me that riding would be the ideal therapy to help with my physical problems and I even made a few enquiries. I was put off by being told the only safe method of getting on board would be with the assistance of a several helpers and a hoist. This reminded me of the early days of my rehabilitation when a hoist was used to lift me out of bed and plonk me into the wheelchair. I found it dehumanising and humiliating and I decided that the negative psychological effect of using a hoist and hoards of well meaning but not needed people would outweigh any of the health benefits that riding could offer.
A few months ago I was chatting with Lynne Munro, an experienced physiotherapist and rider who volunteers for Riding for the Disabled and we discussed riding as a form of physio. She immediately identified my dilemma and suggested I contact Jane Barker and just have a go.
I turned up at Jane’s with low expectations and a familiar sense that I would be disappointed, that, even 18 years I would still be yearning to be riding a spirited racehorse as opposed to passively sitting on a pony. However, I was encouraged by my first impressions. Importantly to me, Perry Riding Centre is a pretty place with quite spectacular views over quintessential shropshire landscape. I instantly identified in Jane and her helper, Holly, two practical people who totally ‘got’ what I was looking for, not least, as little fuss as possible. Then I saw Stubbs, who made me smile, just 14.2hh, with his flaxen mane and tail and pretty, blonde eyelashes, framing huge, brown, kind eyes. I gave him a pat and breathed in his gorgeous grassy pony smell.
As I’d requested, he wasn’t wearing a saddle, just a sheepskin numnah with a simple webbing roller with anti rolling rings which were perfectly placed to hold onto and hopefully keep me vertical. He was placed in a hollow where I could place my wheelchair along side him and, with some help, transfer from my chair onto Stubbs. Job done.
Oh my Goodness I hadn’t expected this. I felt enormously tall and on top of the world. I looked around and it seemed like everything was below me, even the trees in the distance. And, I was so upright, with my legs dangling next to Stubbs’ sides.
Next, we walked around the manège with Holly leading Stubbs and Jane walking along side us. The rhythm of Stubbs’ swinging gait, the sensation of his legs walking beneath me filled me with indescribable joy. I remembered how, when I first started going around in my wheelchair, I missed that rhythm of walking. Then, a lightbulb moment, as I realised that this was a totally different thing to riding racehorses and in its own way, just as exhilarating. Holding onto the handles in front of me enabled me to balance and stay upright with nothing else to support me and I felt free and just very happy indeed.
Since then I have been seven or eight times and each time fills me with renewed joy. My balance is improving rapidly and I can even let go of the handles and remain upright for a few strides.
I love dear Stubbs for being so noble, generous and trustworthy. I am sincerely grateful to Lynne, Jane, Holly and everyone who helps out at Perry Cottage, for without them I would not get my weekly “Happy Fix”.
Perhaps the best way for me to convey my thanks to everybody who gives their time so generously is for them to see me smile when I get on board Stubbs and I’m feeling on top of the world.