After two terms of patient support and gentle encouragement, young person Helena for the first time got on a horse and allowed it to be walked forward last week.

And then, in her session this week, Helena rode for nearly the whole session!

The process has all been about slowly building Helena's confidence, giving her the time she needs to take the steps forward on weekly trips to Riding for the Disabled Newbury. But providing encouragement and appropriate support to make this progress.

To start with, Helena was supported to get to know Rosie, the horse, by lead-walking her and then putting hoops on cone or beanbags in buckets during the session, while on-foot.

Then, for the past term, Helena was able to sit on the horse without it moving. This again built her confidence with plenty of praise before she asked to get of and the continue the activities with Rosie on-foot.

Meanwhile, back at Prior's Court, Helena had been using a ride-on horse at our Countryside Learning Centre to build more confidence. The ride-on horse was kindly donated by the parents of one of our young people.

This all resulted in last week Helena allowing the horse to be walked while she sat on it. She achieved around 10 separate steps on the horse before asking to dismount. 

Faye, our Land-based Vocational Instructor at Prior's Court, said:

We've still a way to go but Helena is making such progress. We're incredibly proud of her.

Horse-riding provides a wide range of therapeutic benefits which is why we aim for so many of the autistic young people with complex needs we support to be able to access this activity at off-site providers such as RDA and other organisations.