If you’ve ever wondered what was so special about Newbury RDA, you should see the smile on my seven-year-old daughter’s face when she completes a successful riding lesson, writes her mother, Sian. All it takes is a confident ‘Walk on, Goldie’ from Maeve to her favourite pony and off they go!

Maeve, who has cerebral palsy, has been riding at Newbury since she was three. She adores her sessions there now, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. When she was starting out, just a sneeze and a wiggle from her pony could cause Maeve to lose confidence and to be nervous about carrying on with the lesson.

That’s where the amazing volunteers at Newbury have made such a difference. Their patience, perseverance and encouragement of the children helps her to push through any initial apprehension and to learn brilliant new skills.

Nowadays, Maeve is so happy on horseback that she can, when appropriate, ride without a leading rein. She’s beginning to learn about dressage and is hoping, in time, to compete.

Maeve really looks forward to her visits to the stables; she loves riding Goldie (who she says is ‘the best pony in the world’), and seeing her friends to who teach, work and volunteer there.

As well as being a hugely enjoyable part of her week, following spinal surgery to improve her mobility in 2019, Maeve’s regular riding sessions have become a really important part of her rehabilitation. It’s a fun way to develop her strength, balance and flexibility without even realizing it.

We’re so grateful that Maeve has this opportunity and for the efforts of all those who give up their time to support the NewburyRDA.