A 53-year-old rider whose physical and mental health seriously deteriorated during lockdown is improving after riding stables have reopened and she has been able to get back in the saddle.

Mo Vesty has two forms of arthritis in both her legs and she requires leg braces to help her walk. Her joints can dislocate up to 35 times a day, with the rider having to click them back into place herself after being taught the technique by a sports physiotherapist.

Mo Vesty’s health is improving after getting back in the saddle

Mo also suffers with asthma and a tracheal condition that affects the muscles of the wind pipe.

She has ridden at Wrea Green Equitation Centre, an Accessibility Mark centre in Preston, Lancashire, since the autumn of 2015, but the riding stables was forced to close due to government regulations during the coronavirus pandemic.

“During lockdown I found it incredibly difficult to not have access to the stables. Being around horses means a lot to me and I find spending time with the team at Wrea Green so uplifting,” said Mo.

The rider added that without the exercise that riding provides, she gained weight and her posture deteriorated. However, the biggest impact was on her mental health and Mo also became depressed.

“It feels great to be back at Wrea Green and to feel part of the team again, they made me feel so welcome, even just little things like opening the gates for me when I arrived. It’s like I had never been away,” added Mo.

The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) launched the Accessibility Mark scheme in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation. Its Accessibility Mark status is awarded to a riding centre that has been approved by the RDA following training and assessment.

There are currently 51 Accessibility Mark centres across the country.

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