Ellie’s Horse Riding Achievements

Ellie is 4 years old and has SMA Type 2. Ellie lives in New Zealand but her grandparents live here in the UK and they wanted to share her incredible achievement with us and the SMA community.

“My name is Pat and my granddaughter Ellie has been named New Zealand Riding for the Disabled Association’s (NZRDA) rider of the year 2015. She is the youngest ever winner and I am so very proud of her. 

Ellie is not able to stand or sit unaided, however over the past year she has regularly attended horse riding classes. To begin with Ellie was not only frightened of the horse but she couldn’t sit or wear a helmet and spent most of her lesson lying down on the horse. However, through an incredible team at NZRDA, their encouragement and Ellie’s determination she can now sit unaided on a horse and wear a riding helmet.

The improvement in Ellie’s upper body strength is amazing. From our perspective, not only has riding strengthened her muscles, it has also increased her confidence and she has had a much better year health wise. Ellie loves riding and is also no longer frightened of horses.

I would never have believed that horse riding could be so beneficial and bring so much happiness.”

The Riding for the Disabled Association in the UK also run therapeutic riding courses called hippotherapy. Being on a horse can help to stretch muscles and improve posture and joint mobility. 

Information on hippotherapy and horse riding in the UK is available from the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) website or you can phone their Head of Therapy on 01926 405 976

Since writing this SMA Voices piece 4 years ago, Pat has shared with us an updated video of Ellie which you can see here.

January 2019.