Friday 3rd July
On our way back from the hospital yesterday, where I had minor surgery on my arm, we stopped at a large garden centre. I wasn’t really looking to buy anything, but then I saw an ornamental horse, suitable for the outdoors. There was a bigger one, quite a life-like, foal size, but we opted for a smaller brown and black one. You would have told me straightaway it was bay or roan, not sure which. You were incredibly knowledgeable with equine facts.
At sixteen you spent three years completing a Further Education through Horsemanship qualification. Your whole life then was surrounded by horses. You loved them. You became quite a proficient rider, and indirectly your life skills were improved. Communication, independence, awareness, empathy, general knowledge were all skills that were developed for you to have a better understanding of everyday life.
The use of horses enabled you to have increased cooperation, communication and concentration as far as dealing with people was concerned. Having autism, you shied away from contact with people you didn’t know. You found social situations very difficult to handle. But put you on a horse, you became a different person. You were in charge, you learnt how to control and care for the animal. The horse’s environment, needs and routine were then transferable to you. Teamwork, self-discipline, motivation and exercise became part of your every day life, and you thrived.
You continued to ride and work with horses for the next ten years. Going out on weekly hacks was a stress relieving activity; grooming, cleaning tack and mucking out were necessary tasks that you also accomplished.
We would all enjoy Open Days when you would showcase your skills of horse riding, whether in the saddle or bareback, in-saddle gymnastics, relay races and horse control (not quite dressage, but pretty good nonetheless). Oftentimes you would receive rosettes or awards, and then become very shy at the presentation event.
So, we have placed the small ornamental horse on your graveside, to watch over you. Not sure what you would have named it; Shreddie was one of your favourites.
Canter through the clouds.
Jump over all the obstacles.
Feel the wind blow your troubles away.
Love you so very much.
Angel horse rider.