I'm writing this blog for Hannah's Willberry Wonder Pony Charity for fulfilling my wish to go to Badminton Horse Trials on Saturday 6th May. I had the most amazing day, memories for my family and I to cherish - and my Assistance Dog Molly enjoyed herself too.
I'm Lucy Watts MBE, I'm 23 years old and I have a life-limiting neuromuscular disease. The condition has left me with multi-organ failure and with lung, bone, spine, metabolic, renal, Autonomic, urological and immunological complications. They mean I'm fed via a Hickman Line into my heart (TPN), I'm in a wheelchair and that my life expectancy is very limited.
I grew up watching Badminton on television every year, from the age of 7. A horsey girl at heart, I rode from the age of 6 until I became disabled and seriously ill aged 14. Had I not been physically fit from riding and working at the yard, I would've ended up in a wheelchair years before I did. I never had my own horse, rather riding 'Projects' for my riding teacher, loaning friends' horses and being the chief holiday horse carer, when people went on holiday I was the one they entrusted their horse's care to. I'd have loved to have evented, but not having my own horse put paid to that. Instead, I spent my time bringing on youngsters or rescued horses, with a particular affinity for nervous horses - even now, I've managed to get my electric wheelchair next to horses who are terrified of everything. Once a horsey person, always a horsey person. It never leaves you.
It's been my dream since I first watched Badminton aged 7, to actually go to Badminton on cross country day. It's just never happened; until this year. Willberry Wonder Pony granted me a Willberry Wish, which realised my long-held dream. I am so grateful for the opportunity they gave me.
We had an amazing day. I attended with my mum, my uncle and my nurse, who were suitably up to scratch on eventing, the rules and what riders to watch by the end of the day. We made our way to a few different jumps, me taking hundreds of photos, watching the action unfold, as well as looking round the stands. You don't appreciate the size of the jumps when you watch on television, nor do you experience the incredible atmosphere. Just being there was an experience in itself.
Then, at the end of the day, the Wishes Team made it possible for me to attend the press briefing with the top three riders. Michael Jung, Ingrid Klimke and Andrew Nicholson answered the press questions whilst we watched on with Rachel, Hannah's mum. Then, as the briefing finished, I got to meet Michael Jung. An amazing few minutes speaking to him, almost on par with receiving my MBE from Prince Charles. It was wonderful, the icing on the cake of a truly magical day.
I'm so grateful to all at Willberry and everyone who supports the charity. My prognosis is poor, we don't know how much longer I have left, so to have such a wonderful day and memories for myself and my mum to look back on are more precious than I can convey in words. Going to Badminton this year was a real highlight and something that I will be forever indebted to Willberry for making it happen.
Thank you all so much.