‘Like running the London Marathon’: five-year-old disabled rider takes on charity trek

  • A five-year-old boy with cerebral palsy is defying the odds to complete a horse trek for charity.

    While the 0.6km ride may seem a short distance for most of us, it will be a big accomplishment for Daniel Lee Barrett, who doctors said wouldn’t survive past the age of two.

    Daniel, who is registered severely visually impaired and has serious mobility issues, will undertake the challenge with Maddie, his favourite pony at Riding for the Disabled’s (RDA) Woodbridge and District Group.

    He is unable to hold his head for long, or sit or stand independently and relies on a wheelchair. Over the past two years, he has gradually learned to sit on a horse with weekly sessions at the group based in Sutton, Woodbridge.

    Daniel’s Mum, Stephanie Lee-Barrett said “Daniel really enjoys the sessions and has come on leaps and bounds since he first started. It has improved his confidence in different environments and situations, helped with his posture and muscular control of his body and has enabled him to have fun whilst doing physiotherapy”.

    The Woodbridge and District RDA is moving to a new home in Clopton in autumn this year and Daniel’s trek will be raising money to help fund the transition.

    “They provide Daniel and other children with additional needs the ability to be able to ride. The staff, who are nearly all volunteers, have the knowledge and expertise needed to support the child on a horse and to care for the horses and ponies themselves,” Stephanie added.

    “What they do is amazing, they give children and adults the opportunity to feel free, relaxed and happy. We just had to help raise awareness of the job they do and raise money for the move.”

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    Viv Sadler, one of Woodbridge’s volunteers, said “We are so grateful for everyone who raises money for our group. We are self-funding and our move comes as an extra cost, over and above our day-to-day running costs.

    “We are overwhelmed by Daniel’s ambition to raise money for us. This is a huge undertaking for him – it would be like running the London Marathon for most of us. He has made so much progress and we will all be there supporting him.”

    Daniel’s horse trek takes place at the RDA (Woodbridge and District Group) farewell party on Saturday 15 July at noon at Pettistree Hall Farm, Sutton, Woodbridge.

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