A young horse rider from Derbyshire with learning difficulties has used her time in lockdown to raise money for her local riding school by holding a show jumping competition at the care service in which she lives.
Melissa, 25, who lives in Ash Lea House, a 14-bedroom home for people with both physical and learning difficulties, regularly attended horse riding sessions at Scropton Riding and Driving Centre prior to the coronavirus lockdown.
Staff at the home had introduced her to horse riding three years ago through Scropton’s riding for the disabled programme and interacting with the animals has developed Melissa’s confidence and independence.
Melissa was disappointed to find that an upcoming show jumping and dressage competition would have to be cancelled due to the lockdown restrictions, and decided to host her own competition at Ash Lea House to raise money for the centre.
Unable to bring live horses to the home, Melissa used a hobby horse to stand in for her favourites from Scropton, in particular Jacko, who Melissa often feeds with carrots when she is able to visit him.
Melissa said: “Lorraine, the manager at Ash Lea, saw how disappointed I was and we talked about holding an event here. We came up with the show jumping fund raiser together, this made me feel much happier because I missed Scropton very much.
“I was a little bit worried about the horses in the lockdown, I wondered if they were missing me as much as I was missing them and I wanted them to know how much I wanted to be able to go there again so that’s why I decided to do the fund raiser. I have raised £45 so far, and my family and everyone at Ash Lea are very proud of me. I am also proud of myself!”
Zoe Brooks, deputy manager at Ash Lea House, said “Melissa has achieved some amazing goals. She has tried many interests since coming to Ash Lea, but horse riding is the one that she has really stuck with and she counts down the days every week until it’s her riding lesson day.
“We are all very proud of Melissa and I know that she will continue to impress us all by what she will achieve while riding in the future. Well done Melissa, keep up the good work.”