There was magic in the air when Lydia first set eyes on Lennon. She loves animals but somehow this was different. Lydia in her bright pink helmet, unsure at first, walked slowly towards the little grey horse her eyes getting bigger and bigger. Mia, my daughter, formally introduced them “Lydia this is Lennon. Lennon this is Lydia. . . . “ but she wasn’t listening. She was standing in awe.
Lydia was born with a sideways curvature of the spine which can lead to damage of internal organs in severe cases. After trying uncomfortable plastic jackets which made Lydia sweat in summer and various forms of ridged braces, Charlotte and Chris, Lydia’s parents, accepted the surgeon’s advice that major surgery was the only way forward.
They were not horsey people and had never heard of the RDA until a physio suggested they try riding. They were initially worried about safety – “what if she falls off?” they asked. It didn’t take long for them to relax safe in the knowledge that Lennon was looking out for Lydia and that side walkers and someone on lead reign had everything under control. Confidence established Judy Olby the instructor set about improving Lydia’s posture and establishing and strengthening her body core, a complex series of muscles extending from the abdomen outwards. Lydia needed to be in the best possible condition for the operation when two titanium rods would be inserted next to her spine.
Each week Chris and Charlotte came to Otley RDA to watch Lydia ride. Lydia began to smile, then grin, then laugh as she moved from gentle walking to fast trots and manoeuvring around obstacles. She became a skilful fun-loving rider and demonstrated to everyone what can be achieved by enthusiasm and determination.
When the time came to leave she gave Lennon a very big long hug and said “Thank you so much Lennon.” The operation went very well and Lydia grew taller and straighter. The last time I saw Lydia was after her recovery from the operation. She was striding confidently away towards her new life. A few weeks ago I spoke to Chris on the phone and he told me that Lydia had undergone her second operation to extend the titanium rods as she grew taller, and that it was a great success. She recovered quickly and was back at school. Well done Lydia, thanks Lennon.