Neil Adie from Waltham Forest Vision talks about his experience of the horse riding session, organised by East London Vision and Metro Blind Sport, at the Lee Valley Riding Centre on 5th December 2017.
“I signed up to horse riding because I haven’t done it for a very long time, must be about 30 years. I’ve always wanted to ride a horse again, but I just didn’t get a chance to do it until recently. I still remember the riding techniques I learned when I was younger.
Before the session, I was a bit nervous and I kept thinking- do I need to do anything beforehand, like wear the right sort of clothes? However, as soon as I arrived at the centre I became relaxed because I was in the right crowd. Everyone in the group was a beginner at horse riding.
First of all, we had to wear boots and special helmets. Then, we went outside past the stables and there were three horses already waiting for us. It turned out that I was the first one to get on the horse. The instructor told me to go up the ramp. So I did. I looked at the horse and thought this horse looks really big and would I be able to ride it? I managed to get on to the horse and it felt a bit wobbly. I started to worry if I would fall off, but I soon became relaxed and I was told my horse’s name was Bill.
It was nice to be introduced to Bill. He was very calm. However, when we made our way to the indoor arena, we passed the stables and Bill thought it was okay go back in. Luckily, the volunteer pulled Bill away right before I nearly hit my head on the roof of the stable. It was really funny!
Inside the arena, we learned to get the horse to move. I gently tapped the horse with my right foot to get Bill to start walking. To stop we were told to gently pull on the rein. I could feel Bill’s teeth every time I pulled. It felt really weird. Then, we learnt how to do a trot and change the directions our horses walked. This was the best part of the session!
Overall, the session gave me confidence again. When I sat on Bill, all my memories of how to ride a horse came flooding back. I just wish the session was a lot longer, at least an hour. You get the feeling you don’t want to get off and you’re hungry to do more.
When the session ended, we went to a café and I was able to laugh about my horse riding experience with the two other participants. That’s the great thing about ELVis events; you can share your experience with other people in the group. I would highly recommend all vision impaired people to come to an event organised by East London Vision.”
By Neil Adie