Disabled rider Monique's inspirational story makes her a Face for RDA
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 May 2019
A horse rider using a Dartford stable has become one of 50 Faces, a campaign to champion the disabled getting on horseback.
It is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Riding for the Disabled Association.
To mark the milestone, it is highlighting the incredible stories of 50 Faces.
One of those is Monique Lock who began riding as a form of physiotherapy to help with a rare chromosome disorder and ataxic cerebral palsy, that she was born with.
Her passion for horses didn't really take off until she began riding at Arrow Riding Centre, in Dartford, six years ago.
Monique said: "Riding with RDA has enhanced my vision of being independent and the training increases my strength, stamina and self-belief."
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She has even competed at the RDA National Championships in 2018, and said it opened her eyes to the wide range of opportunities the organisation can offer from showjumping and carriage driving to vaulting.
"I was swept up in the general camaraderie and the atmosphere of the whole event," added Monique.
One of Monique's RDA highlights so far is winning the sculpture class at the 2018 National Championships, naming her artwork 'Independence' to reflect her progress through riding and her long-term goal of gaining greater independence.
The scene features Monique, her horse, her empty wheelchair and her trainer which tells the story of her RDA journey.
Monique's enjoyment of riding helped at a time in her life when she was in quite a dark place, as well as helped her rediscover her creative side and opened up a world of new hobbies and interests such as taking part in jointly inclusive sporting events, where participants are encourage to start together, finish whenever.
She said: "Riding has given me the confidence to challenge myself in more ways than just on a horse."
Caroline Ward, communications manager at RDA UK, said: "A 50th anniversary could be a time for looking back, but we wanted to celebrate where we are now, as leaders in disability sport, and also look to our future - helping even more disabled people to benefit from time with horses."