Here is out latest guest blog, just in time to celebrate the Paralympic games in Rio!
In this blog, Diane Green writes about her journey from a being diagnosed with trauma induced MS through to gaining the courage to get back on a horse. With the support of Watershed RDA, Diane has been on an incredible ride and has now reached the Para Dressage National Champions!
I was diagnosed with trauma induced MS 10 years after a riding accident saw me suffer a horrific head and facial injury when I was kicked in the face by a horse I was leading. My riding days ended there until some 17 years later a Consultant suggested I should go back to riding as I was struggling to sit up unaided for long and he thought it would be good for my core strength. That is when I met the Watershed RDA Team and Beans the wonder pony. At first I cried each time when I got home, I was nervous when I rode and couldn’t last more than 10 minutes at a time, I had to have 2 walkers either side of me and someone leading Beans, very upsetting for someone who in a previous life had had horses at Grand Prix Dressage level and I was sad that I couldn’t see that I would ever get that back.
The Watershed Team were fantastic with me and we did everything at my pace and with humour and as the months went by I got stronger and more confident until I was able to move from the steady neddy that is Beans and start to ride off of the lead rein and onto Connor who was much sharper and a real character. I started doing some video dressage tests with him and at the end of our first year together we won a silver medal in the RDA online National Championships 2015. It went so well I made the decision to seek out a Dressage Trainer and found Sara Gallop at Summerhouse Equestrian Centre and after a few months together she suggested I get my own horse and have a go at Para Dressage – so she found me the perfect Horse Winnie who we nickname the Unicorn.
Winnie and I joined the British Dressage South West Para Dressage Team in January 2016, were we attend a monthly training session with FEI trainers and Judges, attended the Para Dressage Camp with the team GB coaches and were selected to represent the region at the Inter County Championships, where we were Reserve Champions.
We were then selected to represent England at the Home International held at Vale View, Melton Mowbray. Winnie and I won all 4 of our tests and our team were 3rd, the highest placing they have ever achieved at this event. I also won the top prize for the highest scoring rider of the weekend.
We won Gold at the Dressage Anywhere RDA National Championships riding for Watershed RDA.
We’re Reserve Champions in the Freestyle Championships at the RDA Nationals 2016.
We applied for entry onto the BEF Talent Pathway (Team GB training platform) and have been selected, this leads onto the World Class Podium Pathway and we are now working towards a Paralympic Team place in Japan 2020. Our first training session was August 9th.
Winnie and I also won the British Dressage Bronze National Championships and came 2nd in the Silvers – hard to believe that we have become National Champions in our first attempt – the future is very exciting!
Without Watershed RDA I would not have started on this journey with Winnie and Sara and I owe them so much. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to ride a Grand Prix test but I can still ride a quality horse and compete at the highest level.
In the early days of my diagnosis there were times when I would be at home for weeks at a time without venturing out in my wheelchair. Now I have a full-time job in our business, drive a car independently and ride Winnie 3/4 times a week with a competition most weeks too and I am back at Watershed coaching 3 other budding Dressage stars – Thank you Watershed!