Young Equestrians gives young people the opportunity to come together through a love of horses and learn more about each other within a relaxed social environment.
For Ella Wadsworth, part of the Young Equestrians Club at Witherslack Hall Equestrian Centre (WHEC), Cumbria, joining the Club has enabled her to grow in confidence, despite facing the challenge of a visual impairment.
Ella rode on and off as a child but stopped a few years ago due to a brain tumour and further sight loss. Last January she joined the Young Equestrians Club at Witherslack Hall Equestrian Centre and since then hasn’t looked back:
“I love being part of young Equestrians because it gives me the chance to meet other young people who are horse crazy and I have made some great new friendships!” Commented Ella “I am so glad I joined my local Club to start riding again. As a visually impaired person horse riding gives me incredible sense of freedom and independence that no other sport can offer and I love it! I don’t need a guide whilst riding; it’s just the pure bond between me and my horse.”
The inspirational nineteen year old is currently studying Sociology and Religious Studies at Lancaster University, but with the help of Deana Tarr, proprietor at WHEC, now plans to start working towards her EQL level 2 in Horse Care alongside her university studies to enable her to pursue her dream job as an Equine Assisted Therapy Practitioner.
“We’ve all got to know each other so well in our Club and we support each other in all the different activities so that has really helped with my confidence. We are given the opportunity to learn about all the different areas of the equestrian world which has got us thinking about our future careers”
There are 10 teenagers in the Young Equestrians Club at WHEC and after Ella brought her Guide Dog, Katy, down to the centre all have been inspired to raise money for Guide Dogs UK this summer. To raise the funds the Young Equestrians are organising a competition for themselves and Pony Club Members where they will be challenged to complete a handy pony course using SimSpecs; designed to simulate what it is like to have different eye conditions and raise awareness. Parents and spectators are also encouraged to get involved; there will be a cake sale and a table top sale to aid with the fundraising.
Deana is thrilled to see Ella doing so well: “Ella came to us lacking in confidence and looking for opportunities to spend time with horses. Joining our Young Equestrians Club fitted in nicely as it is full of relaxed riding opportunities and it enabled her to get to know other riders her age. I am so proud of how all the Young Equestrians support each other, especially when they come together for a worthwhile cause such as this.”
Future events for the Club include the Young Equestrians summer camp which will be an action packed week of riding, looking after the horses and demonstrations in sports such as side saddle.