Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) stalwart Hercules has made three very special wishes for 2021 — thanks to his equine fairy godmother.
The 15-year-old much-loved cob has, with a little human help, made a video to spread the word that Scropton RDA, Derby, will re-open, as soon as it is safe and viable to do so.
The video shows him looking for his companions; the equines who have been living in foster homes since the start of the pandemic, and the humans who have not been able to visit him since March.
Scropton RDA trustee Glynis Dalley spoke to H&H on Hercules’ behalf, as his income does not stretch to his own phone. She explained that Scropton is solely an RDA centre, and as so many riders need support that is not compatible with social distancing guidelines, it has not been open since March.
“Most of our ponies have been fostered by friends and supporters while we’ve been closed and there’s only a handful left,” she said. “It’s very quiet, and very different, and the horses have noticed it too.
“Hercules has been wondering where his friends are; he asked when they were coming back, and we had to say unfortunately, because of the Covid thing, it’s not safe. He mulled it over, and said he thought he could do something to help let everyone know we will be re-opening, and it will all happen.”
The video shows Hercules exploring the empty yard, and then the arrival of his fairy godmother, who bears a striking similarity to his stablemate Faith.
She promises to grant his three wishes: for the horses to return, and the riders, and for everyone to be smiling.
“Hercules and Faith got chatting, and came up with this idea of a video to give everyone a bit of hope for 2021,” Glynis said.
“We got roped into the filming, and the video’s been sent to all our riders and volunteers. We want them to know we will be open again, and they’ll be able to get back to the activities they love, with the horses.”
Glynis added that if anyone feels able to make a donation, as it has been a very expensive year with no income and fundraising efforts affected, it would be hugely appreciated.
“We’ve called it our road to reopening, and everyone who’s helped us will have their name added to a mural we’ve painted,” she said. “Then everyone can see how much we’ve been supported so we can get back to doing what we love.
“The driving force is also to send out that positive message. Things will be better. It’s been a long time to be closed, and for all the riders to miss out on all the benefits they get from coming to the centre, and having time with the horses, as a time they probably need it the most.”
Glynis added that Hercules, who has been at Scropton for five years, is an “absolute stalwart” of the group.
“He’s much, much loved,” she said. “He does everything from therapy rides to those who are starting to compete. What’s special about him is his nature; he gives so much to everyone, whatever their ability.
“His new year’s resolution will be to get fit and ready for us to reopen in the spring.”
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