At Cotswold RDA we know how much our work can help children and adults with mentally and/or physical disabilities, but what a wonderful endorsement from Miriam’s Mum who explains what a difference riding has made to Miriam in the short time she has been with us.
In the 4 months since my daughter, aged 6, began coming to Cotswold RDA we have seen an incredible change to her confidence and outlook. Miriam has a hidden condition (hypermobility) and most people would not know just by looking at her how much she struggles with daily life. Activities that other children her age take for granted such as riding a bike, swimming or simply running around with her friends are really hard for her. As a result, she struggles with her confidence and is left out of or cannot join in with her peers in so many activities.
Miriam’s school teacher suggested she should come to RDA (Miriam’s younger sister, who has Down’s syndrome) already comes and so we knew how beneficial it was to her development, core stability and general well-being. However, we were not prepared for the difference a weekly RDA session has made to Miriam. When she first started coming she was nervous of the ponies. In fact, she is nervous of all animals and won’t normally go near them. So to see her stroking, patting and even planting a kiss on the nose of the pony she rode on her first session was nothing short of a miracle! It’s no exaggeration to say that riding with RDA has literally changed her life. Miriam now has an activity that she can not only do, but do well! Dan and the team have given her so much support and encouragement from the word go. It is a joy to see her confidence growing week by week and that has transferred to other aspects of her life, especially at school. She is now far more willing to try things she would have previously shied away from. She has even learnt to distinguish her left from her right – all thanks to Dan’s teaching – something I have been working on with her for months with no success!
To see Miriam get out of the car on a Wednesday morning and race to get into the RDA building because she is so excited is just sheer joy! This, from a little girl who would normally be very nervous about any kind of physical activity and especially one that involved animals!
As Miriam’s mum, I was beginning to despair that we would ever find a physical activity that Miriam could join in with successfully. It was heart breaking to watch her falling behind her peers in so many ways and be the one who ‘couldn’t do something’. So to see the joy on Miriam’s face every Wednesday morning and afterwards when she goes back to school and shows the class what she’s done is simply priceless to me. I am so thankful to everyone at Cotswold RDA for giving her back her confidence and helping her to succeed.
Alison Morley (Miriam’s mum)