Sarah, one of our 2016 Youth Grant recipients, is a talented equestrian and aims to compete in the 2019 Special Olympics, as well as inspiring other young deaf people with additional needs to chase their dreams. We wish Sarah all the best in achieving her goals and look forward to bringing you more Youth Grant stories soon!
Sarah wrote about the positive effect riding has had on her and how much it has improved her life. Sarah says, “When I was 4 years old I was unable to walk due to my Cerebral Palsy. My mum heard about Rockhampton Riding for the Disabled and how it might be good to strengthen my muscles as they were very weak and I could not walk. I joined RDA Rockhampton and have now been a member for over 10 years riding every Sunday. The riding has helped me immensely and I can now walk unaided. My riding has improved over the years. RDA has also given me a passion for horses and so I have been lucky enough to get a horse of my own named Phoebe who is 8 years old.
In 2014 I was selected to represent QLD at the Queensland State Special Olympics. I competed in Equestrian in dressage. My State coach specially learnt Auslan so that she could interpret the Dressage test for me at each event which I greatly appreciated. I went on to win Gold and 2 Silver medals. I was then selected to represent QLD in the 2015 Special Olympics National Games in Melbourne where again I went on to win Gold and 2 Silver medals.
I have also competed in the Riding for Disabled State Games and also won a First place. I really love practicing with my horse Phoebe and competing in all the events. Some events I am unable to take my horse due to the cost of transporting her to the competition and so I have to borrow someone else’s horse, luckily I have still done well on these horses.” Sarah also acknowledged the support of her mother, saying, “Throughout the last 5 years my mother has helped me to achieve these goals in Equestrian on her own as my dad passed away in 2011. She has also gone through Breast Cancer in this time. It has been a struggle financially and emotionally for my family but my mother has taught me to take one day at a time and to never give up on my dreams.”
Youth Grants for 2016 are now closed and recipients have been notified. Keep an eye on our website for more upcoming stories on our recipients and the amazing goals they achieve!