How to stay active with cerebral palsy – from riding to running
Bryanna told Horse and Hound that she loved horses since childhood but her parents were unable to find a safe place for her to ride. Eventually they discovered a therapeutic center and Bryanna describes the first time she encountered a horse close up: “I still remember that day: it was amazing to finally touch a horse.”
Bryanna has now been riding for five years and has found that riding has really improved her physical health. She told Horse and Hound: “I can’t really walk on my own…I feel a different person because of riding, I have much more confidence in myself because this is something I can actually do on my own.”
Bryanna’s ultimate goal is to compete in the Paralympics in dressage but is also passionate about sharing her love of riding with other people affected by cerebral palsy.
Riding for the Disabled Association
Cerebral palsy affects different people in different ways but, regardless of a person’s abilities, everyone deserves to stay as active as possible. Bryanna describes the way in which riding has improved her confidence and so, being pretty fond of riding myself and understanding the sense of freedom it can bring, this blog would be incomplete without highlighting the amazing work of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).
I asked Caroline Ward, Head of Communication at RDA what makes the organisation special and how it helps differently-abled people stay active:
“RDA delivers therapy, achievement and fun to children and adults with disabilities through riding, carriage driving and other horse activities. RDA’s activities have been shown to deliver physical benefits - like improved coordination, muscle strength and balance - as well as other benefits including building confidence, communication and overall wellbeing”.
The RDA needs our support more than ever at the moment, as the COVID pandemic has seen riding schools really struggling to manage the ongoing cost of looking after horses who are not being ridden.
Cerebral Palsy Sport
If riding isn’t your bag there are other sporting options. Cerebral Palsy Sport for example is committed to helping children and young people with cerebral palsy enjoy a whole range of sports.
CP Sport offer lots of opportunities to get involved with sport from athletics to frame football; race running to swimming. CP Sport can even help put you in touch with local clubs.
Although participating in sport has been tricky throughout the pandemic, CP Sport is keeping people active through virtual fitness classes and virtual challenges with expert coaches and speakers.
This month, CP Sport celebrate their 20 year anniversary and to mark the occasion everyone is invited to walk, run or push for 20 miles to fundraise for this brilliant charity.
As the Prime Minister sets out the roadmap to the end of lockdown, CP Sport is hugely excited about seeing a return to sport.
We spoke with Katrina Hart, a Paralympian and Commonwealth Gold Meddalist who is sponsored by our firm, in 2019 about the value of staying active with cerebral palsy:
WheelPower supports over 62,000 differently-abled people to participate in sport and activities across the country. The range of activities covered by WheelPower is enormous, from boccia (I had to look that up!) to gymnastics.
At the moment, Wheelpower are running online exercise classes and yoga classes to keep us moving during lockdown but look forward to welcoming everyone back later in the year.
It is a huge privilege to work with children and young people living with cerebral palsy; representing those who are affected by cerebral palsy as a result of substandard medical care, normally at the time of their birth.
It is also a joy to see how our clients’ lives can be transformed by the provision of funds to enable them to stay as active as possible. Just like Riding for the Disabled Association; Cerebral Palsy Sport; and WheelPower, enabling people affected by cerebral palsy to reach their full potential is at the heart of what we do.