A rider with cerebral palsy who was badly bullied at school has credited the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) for saving her life.
Bryony Moss, now 22, said her weekly sessions at the South Bucks RDA group kept her going through dark times as a teenager.
“I was bullied for a lot of reasons,” Bryony told H&H. “My disability, the way I look and the fact I’m adopted — other people didn’t take kindly to that — and people would pretend to be my friends but they bullied me. Over time, I realised that’s not what friends do.”
Bryony first went to the RDA at the age of 12, and she was nervous before her assessment.
“I was really nervous, and didn’t even want to get on the horse,” she said. “I was scared of heights, but now I’m not at all scared; I want to be on them all the time.”
Bryony kept riding throughout her time at school, during which the bullying continued.
“I attempted suicide several times but it was the RDA that kept me going,” she said. “It was the place I felt safe.
“Horses don’t judge you, don’t look at you and dislike you, it’s like friendship, and I felt I could just be me. They helped me realise I could do things, that it was ok to be different.
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“I always say the RDA saved my life. Without them, I don’t think I’d still be here.”
Bryony, who writes disability and mental health blog Defeating Disability and also featured in the RDA’s 50 Faces campaign last year, wants to raise awareness of invisible disabilities and mental health issues.
“Mine looks invisible so people don’t always know,” she said. “Riding also helps me physically, it’s like physio, and when bad things happen, it’s my sanctuary.”
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