Yolanda's Story 


 

The story of Yolanda’s year riding with us is just too good not to share! We welcomed Yolanda to the EARTH Centre in February this year.

From the first time she visited the centre to see what it’s all about, we knew that there was something special about this young lady. Thandi and Unathi, our miniature donkeys, took an instant liking to her, and within the first few weeks of her riding she had formed an unbelievable bond with both Peat and Sunny.

Yolanda has Arthrogryposis and has been riding in our Equitherapy programme throughout the year. She began on lead and with one side walker. Four months into the therapy, as a result of consistent weekly lessons, she had gone from never having sat on a horse before to riding independently!

When asked about her favourite part of the lessons, Yolanda said “giving Peat and Sunny love and scratches BUT also long walks on the sensory trail”.

When Tasneem, her Instructor, realised how quickly she was progressing, they began working towards competing in the Special Olympics Qualifiers. In July, we were invited to showcase equine assisted riding therapy at the World of Dogs and Cats (WODAC) expo at Gallagher Convention Centre. Yolanda enthusiastically agreed to ride her trusted steed, Sunny in a display at the show – although we were not surprised at Sunny’s calm and collected disposition at such an event, we really have to commend him on being so dependable. This was such great practice for Peat and Yolanda, who has been growing in leaps and bounds as a rider throughout the year. If you missed it previously, you can watch Sunny and Yolanda’s display below.

On 23 November, she could not have made us more proud. Yolanda competed in the Special Olympics at Shumbashaba and achieved a third place. Well done to Yolanda, her family, her special ponies Peat and Sunny, Natalie, and of course her wonderful instructor Tasneem.

Yolanda's story is incredible and inspiring. We are honoured to be a part of this talented rider’s journey!
Each day we work with many children like Yolanda who need this therapy, as well as the physical and mental development that horse riding provides them with. BUT most of them come from disadvantaged communities and cannot afford to pay. Help them by making a financial contribution, big or small - it helps more than you know!

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