Saturday, December 5, 2009

Clwyd Special Riding Centre - In Memory Of Daniel Dec 09

Today Aaron and I headed to Llanfyndd. Its been NR two years since I ventured into this tiny village set NR Hope Mountain. I started the day off bravely, coming into the village of Llanfyndd parking up NR Gerry`s home I broke down. Memories of Daniel came flooding back I spent many years visiting this village every Tuesday with my Daniel for his riding lesson`s. Gerry came straight to me as I melted into her arms overcome with grief for my Daniel. She took us into her house to calm me down giving Aaron a cuddle on her way. She couldn't`t believe how much he had grown as Aaron is nearly as tall as me now.
After a while we headed up to Clwyd Special Riding Centre only a very short walk form her house. Gerry is a fantastic lady, she taught Daniel for many years, Daniel was very fond of her and she new just how to handle him with him having his naughty cheeky ways.
I found it very hard walking through the gate`s without Daniel, then I saw Steve. Steve was one of Daniel`s side walkers he put his arm`s around me close to tears. Gerry, Steve and Sharon were good enough to come to Alder Hey Hospital as everyone who new him fought so hard to being him out of the coma he was in. The three of them sat for a long time talking to Daniel has he lay in his hospital bed willing him to pull through like the rest of us.
Today was the Riding Centre`s Christmas Fayre. We headed into the main arena to have a look around. Many familiar faces met us along the way there were many hugs and tears around the centre today. We looked around the stalls, at the vintage fire engine and the dog agility show.
We eventually found the chairman of the centre. Aaron handed her a cheque for £500 from the money we had raised on behalf of Daniel in his memory.
Next we visited the stable block, there in front of me stood the little dun gelding Daniel was so very fond of Teddy. Tears began to flow, I put my arms around the little pony and sobbed my heart out. It was so hard Teddy has given Daniel so much pleasure over so many years. Seeing Teddy, Daniel would actually talk. On entering the riding centre Daniel would shout "Hiya Teddy" clear as day. Seeing teddy was the only time Daniel would ever talk it amazed everyone.
After pulling myself together we headed up the field`s to see Homer the pony Daniel rode during the last year of his life. he spent a different week on each horse as he was getting to big for Teddy and Homer was his next size up. Homer is a coloured cob gelding, a very friendly pony with a sad history. His face is badly scared due to ill treatment. As a foal he was left by gypsy`s his head collar grew into his face leaving it embedded into his face leaving him very badly scared. We only managed to see Homer from a distance as he was out in the field with most of the other horses.They wouldn't let him come over to see us.
Heading back into the centre we met up with the centre pshyio, she has been fighting her own battle against cancer. Like everyone she was very fond of Daniel as he was such a character. Before leaving we said out goodbyes to everyone.
I was reminded I have a green card to work with the ponies and the disabled children. I did all my training to work at the centre over the years whilst Daniel was there and often helped with the horses and special need clients whilst I was there with Daniel. I have said when I feel I can come to the riding school without the floods of tears I will get involved again. There is no better job than working with both horses and disabled people as both our close to my heart. Below are photo`s of the ponies along with at the bottom of this blog a piece on Daniel`s riding career.

Above and below Daniel`s beloved Teddy

Below Little Barney

Below the RDA Horses and Ponies

The coloured pony in the background rugged up is Homer

Above and below RDA Horses

Above Teddy, below views of the centre

Daniel riding career started when Daniel was very young. Jingle our miniature stallion was his host for many years before both the boys became to big for him. He then became the family pet. During those years he looked the part all tacked up with saddle and bridle, the children also dressed in jodhpurs and riding hat. Linda and I would spend many hours each week teaching both boys to ride.
As Daniel grew I managed to get him a place at Clwyd Special Riding Centre. For many years Daniel became a regular rider at the centre every Tuesday. I was working at the time but gave up my Tuesday`s to spend with Daniel.
We would start the day heading to the swimming pool in Oswestry, here I developed a physio swimming programme along with the help of his phsyio therapist to help Daniel development his muscles. After swimming we would head to a country park just outside Wrexham, here we would have some lunch.
Next we would go cycling around the park, also giving Fred our dog a walk at the same time. As Daniel got bigger I found him hard to manage getting on his bike. Steve who ran Daniel web sites at the time would sometimes meet us in his lunch hour to help, he was very fond of Daniel as Daniel was of him. He didn't like to see me struggling with Daniel, as he new I was always on my own trying to cope alone with him. He would encourage Daniel to cycle on his own. Daniel ended up independent on his tricycle able to steer and peddle on his own. The only problem was he didn't understand brakes. We had a bar on the back of the tricycle to stop him if needed.
I was grateful to Steve for his help and giving his time to help Daniel. Afterwards we would go in the cafe for a coffee and a chat before I headed off to the centre.
At Llanfyndd Daniel would reach for his riding hat to go into the arena. He was placed on the adjustable platform and loaded onto the pony for his lesson. Daniel started a hip a therapy programme a couple of years before he died. We learnt he would sit up and control his body if he rode backwards it was unique way of riding and he spent a large part of the lesson facing the ponies tail.
Daniel also hated having the side walkers close to him. He would push them away and wave them off wanted to ride alone. A few times he hit the deck over balancing. Once falling he sat playing with sand on the centre floor whist the rest of us ran to him panicking. He was a star full of character. Daniel surly was the life and soul of the centre. Anne the centre phsyio had her work cut out as he would look at her with vengeance in his eyes if she made him do something he didn't want to. She would get a sly pinch as soon as he got near her, he always got his own back. Daniel could also reach to touch the ponies ears, tail and his own toes when asked to. He also enjoyed trotting around on the pony, the jigging about brought on lots of giggle he would squeal with excitement. Daniel loved his riding like I said before he would actually say the pony`s name "Hiya Teddy" He new each pony as he would wait eagerly to see which one would come into the arena for him to ride.
Clwyd Special Riding Centre played a large part in his life and we really enjoyed our days at the centre. I no Daniel is sadly missed by everyone that new him there. I am very grateful to everyone at the centre including the ponies who gave Daniel so much pleasure during his life time i just wish he was still here today enjoying his riding as he used to. Daniel`s last riding lesson was only 3 weeks before he died that is how fast his final illness took hold. The illness that ended his happy fun loving life. Thank you CSRC for giving Daniel so much pleasure.

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