This winter, five youngsters ranging from the age of 13-20 have participated in courses held by the Hörður horse club and arranged by their educational committee.....
"We arranged these courses for riders with some kind of disability or handicap. The kids have been attending our courses all winter and recently they attended a special competition seminar with the aim of preparing them for a tournament which will be held next Friday" says Auður G. Sigurðardóttir chairman of the educational committee. Most of the youngsters who have participated in the seminar this winter had been riding horses before, but then mainly as means of physical therapy. “They have all been practicing the same program this winter, but their disabilities are very diverse and next Friday they will, each an every one of them compete on their own merit, which is a test of their own ability" Auður said.
“We have been working in cooperation with Berghildur and Þórhildur at Hestamennt because they are very experienced as riding instructors for the disabled. Also, Heidi Andersen physical therapist been a great assistance to us as far as advice and assistance with our riders. The object of this seminar was mainly to offer a seminar that the youngsters could enjoy together in an enjoyable environment, where they could associate with horses in safety and without fear. They get to know the horse and learn the basics in the care of the horse, they increase their own independence and ability with horses at the same time as they increase their own bodily awareness and increase coordination of their hands, feet and sense organs, they strengthen their role as leaders by their interaction with the horse" Auður says and adds that increased interest from people in all age groups have been showing interest and these are people with diverse abilities but all of them want to ride horses. “For example, we have received inquiries from people who have been in rehabilitation and people who have never interacted with horses before but need assistance today in order to keep on practicing their interest in horses," she says.
The competition tournament for disabled youngsters will be held at the end of May in the Hörður riding arena in Mosfellsbær. “The competition is an agility tournament and the model for the rules are competition regulations from international associations which specialize in competition events for disabled riders or "International Para-Equestrian Association". Although, the competition rules have been altered in order to conform to the small scale competition form here in Iceland. The competition will be held in agility where the competitors ride a certain track within the arena and they will be given scores according to their technical ability, coordination between horse and rider, rhythm and flow as well as the usage of the track,” says Auður hoping that the competition will be an encouragement for all those who are dealing with some kind of disability and are interested in horsemanship as a competition event.