Coates, Near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 6NS
We have a fantastic group of riders who love spending time with us and our horses and ponies on a weekly basis. Here are some of their stories…
As a child I use to ride once a week and continued to ride occasionally as an adult until my early 40’s.
As my multiple sclerosis got worse I became unable to ride anymore. I missed not having the option to ride if I wanted to but, accepted that that was just life!
Approximately three and a half years ago at Christmas time, I was in Cirencester and came across the Watershed stand. I chatted with Pam and took a leaflet which I took home and ‘filed somewhere safe’. About a year later I came across the leaflet and it sat on a table for a further three months. Two of my children encouraged me to contact Watershed which is what I did.
I met Bob at the stables and I felt really positive that maybe I could actually ride again! I had an operation coming up so, I joined the annual canal trip and then, once I was given all clear I started riding. My life has changed so much! I have met such lovely people, riders and volunteers. The riding has strengthened my body and mentally I feel so much better. I look forward to each week where I can ride and meet others.
It is good to be encouraged not just in my physical riding but being able to take exams and I have achieved level 1, 2 and 3 – the next will be level 4. I never did competitions when young but, Kathy encouraged me to do dressage which I find challenging but essential. I’m working hard at it and want to achieve. As Watershed is closed for the summer holidays I have been travelling to Cotswold RDA, Cheltenham to continue to learn more ready for the next term at Watershed stables. I feel that my riding has become an important part of my life.
Arabella was born with cCMV, which is a very common virus and affects 1 in a 150 babies in the UK in various degrees.
She has a speech and co-ordination disorder, swallowing and some motor skill difficulties, mild high frequency hearing loss and is a sign language user.
Coming to Watershed RDA to ride Ben on a weekly basis is the highlight of Arabella’s week. She started riding at the age of four and a half and we can honestly say riding is her favourite activity. She benefits a huge amount and the effect can be seen throughout the week because she “talks” (via Makaton) about Ben and what she did during her riding lesson non-stop to everyone she sees.