ETHAN LOVES SPENDING TIME AT KINFAUNS
Mum Tracey stays;
My 10-year-old son Ethan goes to horse riding lessons once a week at Kinfauns RDA and he loves it. He has a rare genetic disorder which means that he has global development delay, hypotonia and communication difficulties. His low muscle tone means that he finds sports and physical activities quite challenging and tiring but as soon as he sits on a horse you would never know. His posture changes instantly and his core strength has definitely improved helping him in all aspects of life. The team at Kinfauns are fantastic in supporting him so that he can safely enjoy his lesson and learn about the other aspects of horses/horse riding at his own pace.
Arran's mum Helen says-
Finding Kinfauns was a stroke of good luck. Like many, I used the RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) website to search for a local stables and sent an email to several. Kinfauns came back and said they could slot my son Arran in for a short lesson. Arran is considered to have profound multiple disabilities, he can walk but he can't talk. Arran is registered blind, but it is brain blindness, which means that rather than see nothing, his brain creates images that can be overwhelming but do not bear much resemblance to what the world looks like, some say it might be like looking at life through a child's kaleidoscope.
A friend who has a child with a similar condition recommended horse riding but I had my doubts as Arran does't like anything 'different' - and this would be a completely new experience for him. When we arrived for the first time he became very anxious and as we approached the horse (lovely old Cooper) Arran started climbing on me to get away. I said to Angie that I just wanted him to sit on the horse even if just for five seconds, then I would take him home and we could build on that.
I was prepared to take Arran back home, but as soon as he was sitting on Cooper it was like he was spell-bound, I had never seen anything like it. Over fourteen months we bought Arran back every week for a fifteen-minute private lesson. This is important as the purpose is not to give Arran a horse-ride but to teach Arran to ride a horse so that one day he might be able to do it independently.
Kinfauns know their horses and I know my son, and they really listened to me about things that would make the lesson more enjoyable, like music in the arena, not too much talking and not too much waiting around or standing still. Arran is happy with different horses but has become very attached to his coach Stuart who needs to be the person taking Arran to the horse. He recognises Stuart by his voice and it is these little things that really make a huge difference, As a result, Arran is learning to ride with the help of his leader who guides his pony. He started off with side helpers supporting his back and legs but now can ride with one person walking alongside as he can now balance himself. He has joined a longer group lesson and is loving being with other children, but only because Kinfauns was extremely patient, and built it up very slowly, going at Arran's pace, and only moving on when they felt Arran was ready.
The journey is 45 minutes each way from Edinburgh, and we have been offered places at closer stables, but Kinfauns is Arran's stables, he loves it so we love it. As a parent, it is wonderful to see my son so happy, there is something about being on a horse that gives him the freedom he doesn't have anywhere else, maybe it's because the horse does the looking for him, so he can just enjoy the ride, and he loves it!
ANDREW RIDES WITH OUR AUTISM GROUP
Just to let Angie and team know that Andrew and I did go pony trekking on holiday in Brecon Beacons. I would never have thought about taking Andrew but Angie was so sure he would be fine and well she was right he loved it. Just Andrew, me and instructor on 2 hour pony trek up onto plateau area, through 5ft ferns. Andrew was laughing his head off with joy. I was holding on for grim death. My horse decided to have lie down once we were up top meaning I had to jump off. Our instructor was worried how Andrew would react. He pulled up his horse Monty and sat quite the thing blethering away not bothered at all while I was sorted out.
We had a lovely time and all thanks to RDA Kinfauns. You are all wonderful.
Andrew is up this week and he will hopefully tell more about his trip.
Love Morag and Andrew
ps first thing he did when he got Monty was to say thank you to him and give him big pat. Instructor commented on how wonderful that was. All down to you guys x
ROSIE COMES TO RIDE WITH US ON A FRIDAY
Her mum Devin says
My daughter Rosie was one of the first people to start at Kinfauns RDA when it opened and from the moment we visited up until now she has loved every minute of it. As Rosie has cerebral palsy affecting all four limbs there isn’t many hobbies/sports that she is physically able to do so horse riding is a big part of her life and has proved very beneficial. When she first started she didn’t have very good core strength or balance and required volunteers either side holding her around the waist to keep her up and now she can sit up herself and only requires her feet to be held which is a massive achievement. As well as this she is also starting to pull herself up and sit unaided for short periods of time on the floor which I know horse riding has played a huge part in enabling her to do so. It is clear to see the passion all the staff and volunteers have not only for the horses but the riders and families as well. Thanks to the time and effort the volunteers put in, Kinfauns RDA is helping improve the lives of children and adults for the better and I don’t know what we would do without them, so thank you very much and keep up the good work.