Ruth Mathieson – the event rider paralysed in a fall last year – is riding again.
Ruth, 39, broke her back in a fall on the novice course at Nurstead Court Horse Trials.
She had competed at intermediate level and was on a career break to event full-time when she was injured. Ruth now uses a wheelchair.
“Initially, I thought I wouldn’t go back riding again, because I’d ridden at quite a decent level,” she told H&H.
“I didn’t want to just go round in circles.”
But she later changed her mind and on 24 February – under the guidance of Clive Milkins at South Bucks Riding for the Disabled (RDA) – got back on a horse.
“I got to ride Lambrusco [Sophie Christiansen’s Paralympic gold medallist],” she said.
“It felt a bit strange, but a lot better than I thought it would. Clive was laughing because I’d just got on and I was trying to get the horse on the bit!”
Mr Milkins told H&H that Ruth fared far better than he had expected.
“I think it was her sheer determination and strength of character that meant we got her on and within five minutes she was riding independently.”
Ruth is hoping to compete at para dressage on her mare, Ameya, who will continue eventing with Tim Rusbridge.
“She has a really lovely temperament and is quite flash on the flat,” she said.
Ruth’s positivity has inspired well-wishers and friends – including event rider, Gemma Tattersall – to raise funds for spinal research.
She has just set up a charitable trust, Eos, which will dispense funds to causes such as the RDA and spinal research. It will also work to raise awareness about safety.
For more information about Eos, contact trustee Lisa Dodd: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (8 March 2012)