‘He’s given me the confidence to keep going’: brain tumour survivor finds salvation in saddle

  • A rider who has had multiple brain tumours says her horse has been invaluable in helping her cope with her condition.

    South Yorkshire-based rider Katie Atkinson has shared her story as charity Headway marks its 2017 Action for Brain Injury Week (8-14 May), A New Me.

    A New Me intends to shed light on issues of identity following a brain injury and give survivors a platform to talk about these difficulties.

    Katie has had two brain tumours, one in 1990 when she was four and another in 2000.

    The 32-year-old told H&H that her eight-year-old cob Johnny has improved her wellbeing.

    “Having had two brain tumours, sometimes it feels like my life has been on hold, and I haven’t done as much as other people of my age, but Johnny has given me confidence to keep going,” Katie said.

    “We’ve competed at dressage and started to do pole work. We have a great partnership.

    “Riding allows me to turn all the negatives into positives and allows me to get on with my life — it’s just a bit different to other peoples’.

    Continued below…

    “People at the livery yard don’t judge me and accept me for the way I am. I do need lots of support for my riding— I can’t stand and groom for hours but just being there and being around horses is really good for me emotionally, physically and psychologically.”

    Katie receives support from Headway’s Wakefield branch.

    “A New Me has allowed people like me to tell my story about how riding has helped me,” she added.

    “It shows living with a brain tumour doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.”

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