17/01/2011 Riding for the Disabled Horse Retires to The Horse Trust

A horse from an Oxfordshire Riding for the Disabled group has retired to The Horse Trust’s sanctuary after 19 years service, during which she has given hundreds of rides to disabled people.

26-year-old Topsy, a 14.3 hh skewbald mare, has worked at the New Yatt Riding for the Disabled Association (NYRDA) in North Leigh, West Oxfordshire since 1992. She provided riding sessions to children and adults with physical and learning disabilities, as well as taking part in sponsored rides and local shows to raise money for the group. Topsy even took part in a musical ride for HRH Princess Anne, who opened New Yatt RDA's new centre in 1996.

Pat Kelly, a volunteer with New Yatt RDA, said that Topsy had the perfect temperament to be a Riding for the Disabled horse.

"Topsy was very patient with our disabled riders and loved being made a fuss of," said Pat. "She was good with nervous riders and would always stand calmly by the mounting blocks even if they took a long time to mount."

RDA horses such as Topsy help build the confidence of people with disabilities, giving them mobility and a different outlook, according to Pat.

"Riding gives our disabled riders more confidence and a new view of life. Some of our riders are in a wheelchair where they get used to looking up at people. When they are on a horse, they see the world from a higher perspective and can move around freely," said Pat.

The New Yatt RDA group needed to retire Topsy from active service as she has developed ringbone, an arthritic condition, in her front legs. Pat is delighted that Topsy is retiring to The Horse Trust, where she will have access to 200 acres of paddocks.

"The ringbone made her a bit pottery and we couldn't risk her tripping when she had a rider on her," said Pat. "I'm absolutely over the moon she's gone to The Horse Trust - it's such a lovely place for her to spend the rest of her days. All the riders and volunteers will miss her, but we're looking forward to visiting her in her new home."

"We are delighted to welcome Topsy to The Horse Trust after all her hard work for New Yatt RDA. We hope she will have a happy and healthy retirement here," said Jeanette Allen, Chief Executive Officer of The Horse Trust. “Working horses, such as Topsy, is our business.  Giving them sanctuary and a place to pass the last years of their lives is our way of saying thank you to these horses who give such loyal service to mankind.