The mother of a nine-year-old girl with cerebral palsy says introducing her daughter to riding “was the best thing she ever did”.

Sophie Wade has been able to maintain mobility thanks to time in the saddle and the help of a very patient pony.

Her mother, Gina, told H&H how riding has enhanced Sophie’s life.

“Sophie has been brought up with horses and she’s always wanted to come up to the yard,” Gina said.

“Her riding started with the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).”

Sophie was introduced to the Haworth branch of the RDA, and greatly enjoyed being involved with the group.

RDA volunteers encouraged Gina to buy Sophie her own pony and it was a decision she hasn’t looked back on.

“It was the best thing I ever did,” Gina said. “I’m always looking for ways to help Sophie’s cerebral palsy and riding has played a huge part in keeping her mobile. She now rides every day.”

Sophie’s mobility and strength have also been improved by swimming, hippotherapy and riding a mechanical horse simulator.

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“We try to do as much as possible,” said Gina. “Sophie always been a bit of a daredevil.”

Sophie’s much-loved pony Roxie sadly died earlier this year.

“She was a very special pony,” said Gina. “She was so gentle — I would put Sophie on and she would do everything she was told to do.

“She was beautiful as well as calm. Sophie couldn’t cope with anything too bouncy but Roxie was perfect.”

Gina has since bought another pony for Sophie, named Pickles.

Pickles is showing promise and is hoped to form a strong bond with Sophie in time.