How did you first hear about the charity?
The charity was first mentioned to me by a physiotherapist who worked with Lance when he was six months old. And then later I heard about the local branch via another mum of a child with Down syndrome. She had been riding for several years and highly recommended the Horsley & Bookham Branch.
Who is Lance's favourite pony and why?
Lance has been riding Jim Bob since he started riding and, although he’s happy to try out other ponies, he will always talk about Jim Bob as HIS horse! They have built up such a lovely relationship and Lance was very concerned when he was ill last year.
How long has Lance been riding with the charity?
Lance has been riding with the RDA for over four years. He was the youngest rider to join the branch when he was three years old and, although it was expected that he would take weeks to work up to getting on the pony, he surprised us all by getting on straight away and loving it.
What would be the impact if RDA wasn’t available to Lance?
Lance loves his weekly riding session and he misses it during the holidays. He is always asking if today is riding day and when we say yes on a Thursday morning he bounds out of bed. (It is so tempting to lie on several days!!). We couldn’t afford to take Lance riding privately so the RDA is really his only option to spend time with the ponies. It has taught Lance discipline, encourages him to follow instructions and physically helps his core strength. He would really miss it if it wasn’t there.
How has the RDA impacted on you and the extended family?
Watching Lance ride Jim Bob always brings a smile to my face. He made us so proud when he took part in the dressage event - he looked so professional! Photos and videos of him riding are always being shared amongst extended family members and, if they visit during term time, his grandparents love to come a watch him ride.
What do you feel are the biggest benefits to Lance with regard to riding?
Physically improving his core strength… which is a known weakness for Lance. Mentally spending time with amazing animals and building up a relationship with them. He is always very calm around the ponies. And being part of a wider community and meeting new people via the organisation.
What have been the highlights for you with regard to Lance's time with the RDA?
Watching the delight on his face when he won his first rosetta for walking the slowest in the race! Seeing him bound up and down like an octopus crossed with a sack of potatoes the first time he tried trotting. And the joy and excitement he experiences every year when Christmas comes around and Santa visits the stables.
In three words, please sum up how you feel about our RDA?
A local treasure!
Is there anything else you want to say about our RDA?
I can’t thank the trustees, committee, coordinators and volunteers enough for the opportunity that they have given to my son. No matter what the weather they are there with smiles on their faces willing to look after my son and guide him on his walks. For 30 minutes a week Lance gets to take part in an activity that he loves that otherwise he’d never be able to do. We are very honoured and grateful to be members of the Horsley & Bookham RDA Family.