A 14-year-old boy has become the first disabled rider at his stables to earn a riding and horse care certificate.
Bradley Albans, from Retford, has learning difficulties as a result of a brain injury that he suffered at birth as well as epilepsy and was recommended to try horse riding as a form of therapy by his physiotherapist.
Despite refusing to even brush a Shetland Pony on his first visit to Grove House Stables in Misterton, he has now gain his Grade One Riding and Horse Care certificate.
Rachel Albans, Bradley’s mum, said: “Even once we managed to convince Bradley to get on the horse he was happy to ride but still wouldn’t touch the horse – how things have changed.
“He was so proud of achieving the certificate and has talked about it for days after.”
Bradley has now been riding at the stables for five years and has built up a rapport with Andrew Stennett, the owner of the stables and a coach who holds the Level 4 Equestrian Coaching certificate, the highest level of coaching qualification from the British Equestrian Federation.
Rachel said: “Andrew has really connected with Bradley and as a result he has come on in leaps and bounds, his bedroom is full of the rosettes that Andrew has given him.”
Together with his carer, Jed Pedley, Bradley now attends for a lesson once a week and with Andrew’s help, his confidence has grown as well as his love for horses.
It helps that Jed is a horse lover too, so it is a weekly treat they can enjoy together.
Partnered with his favourite horse, Taz, Bradley passed the test with flying colours and was thrilled to receive his certificate to a huge round of applause from the members of the stables.
He was also tested on his horse care.
Riding has helped with Bradley’s posture and core strength, progressing from being hunched over to being able to sit up straight in the saddle.
Andrew is keen to encourage more disabled riders to take up horse riding to experience its therapeutic, physical and social benefits: “Bradley is a great example of what can be achieved.”
Together Andrew and Bradley have high hopes for the future, their ultimate aim being to one day qualify for a class at the RDA National Championships.