Becoming a para rider: "My friend came trotting onto the ward in her wedding dress!"

Last month I told you all about how my journey to getting back to riding started early last year. I left you at May, where we'd just had a great weekend at Badminton and were looking forward to riding with the RDA...  

(Missed last month? Catch up with Sallyanne here)

Me in the gym doing strengthen core balance work!

Me in the gym doing strengthen core balance work!

After being on such a high at the beginning of the month last year, the end of May unfortunately brought illness again with bladder complications.

I went back to Salisbury hospital again to see the urology team and discovered that I needed surgery later in the year.

Determined not to let it get me down, I continued with more physio personal training sessions over the summer and joined a gym as I’d decided that I needed to find my core if I was to stand any chance of getting back on the horse!

I'd also just received delivery of the most amazing piece of kit (Batec) that a charity called Friends of Huck had donated. It fixes onto my wheelchair to help me go off road.

I can walk the dog, go across the fields and round the yard. Friends of Huck have given me my outdoor life back. My dog, Alfie, loves it - he sits on my knee and rides around!

It lets me walk him and most of all play ball with him (which he absolutely loves). When things are settled, we'll have to do something for these smaller charities as they've really helped my quality of life.

Over the summer

Taking Alfie for a walk 

Taking Alfie for a walk 

August meant hen-do's, a wedding and an operation. I was asked to be my friends' Matron of honour and I was over the moon.

My happiness was short lived and, you guessed it, my letter for an operation came and I was to spend most of August in hospital again, missing out on the wedding. 

But, imagine my surprise when my friends came to me on their wedding day! They both came trotting onto the ward in their wedding dress and suit and they'd brought me the wedding bouquet. Oh how I cried! 

September came and with it brought disappointment as the surgery I had on my bladder didn't seem to have been as effective as I'd hoped and I was still suffering from incontinence, which meant no gym or driving for six weeks.  

Despite the setback, I was determined to enjoy my birthday and had a fabulous trip planned with my friends, Helen, Jacki, Alison, Vicky and Jo. 

They made the whole experience much more fun, even though the hotel was like Faulty Towers! The hotel wasn't exactly wheelchair friendly, but I survived my first flight as a para and drank lots of cocktails and even sunbathed and went swimming in the pool!

The arrival of autumn

October more socialising and building continued this month and a flurry of phone calls and emails to and from the RDA.

I was put in touch with the Head of Therapy in Warwick, and my case was discussed at the annual conference for the RDA. I've been liaising with some of the new contacts and grit and determination will be my main aim!

My first BD para dressage event as a spectator

My first BD para dressage event as a spectator

I also joined British Dressage (BD) as a quest member and attended an amazing training day near Westonburt and the venue blew me away.

I've also decided that I might not go down the RDA route, I just need to be able to get on unaided so that I can attend venues that don’t have a hoist. 

I've been shown where to find all the forms and downloaded them from the internet, I was doing lots of ground work and the help and support I'm being shown from British Dressage para riding has been phenomenal. I now know the direction I want to go in. 

Thanks for reading,