Sophie's wish to ride an advanced dressage horse
Sophie finished her treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2015, she remained in remission for 13 months but then it returned and Sophie had to endure even more treatment. Sophie was first nominated for a wish back in 2016 by her oncologist Louise. Sophie and Louise shared each others passion for riding and even competed against each other in the Riding Club horse trials, with Sophie winning her section! Seeing how much Sophie had been through and what she still had to face Louise wanted Sophie to have something to look forward to.
Sophie’s wish was simply to ride an advanced dressage horse. As soon as Willberry’s fairies found this out they started to get things organised. However, Sophie had to spend a lot of time in hospital, really missing out on riding her own horses. Chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant meant that Sophie needed time to recover and regain her strength. She did this amazingly well and with such motivation especially when she found out what Willberry had planned for her!
Willberry got talking to the lovely people at Summerhouse Equestrian and discovered that they have some beautiful school master horses as part of their ‘Prestige Training’ department. It was organised for Sophie to spend two afternoons there having lessons with international dressage rider Sara Gallop.
On the first day Sophie rode the stunning Bes who helped her perfect leg yield and shoulder in. Mango, her second steed, new all the tricks! He couldn’t wait to do flying changes and Sophie had to master leg and body position pretty quick to stop him doing them. They then got to play with piaffe and passage - they looked like real pros.
After lessons, watching a professional ride and having video analysis of her sessions Sophie, her parents and Bazberry were able to enjoy a superb nights sleep in the glorious Hammonds Bed and Breakfast in Stroud. Sophie said it was out if this world! The luxury B&B is owned by Willberry supporter Bea Hyde and she really couldn’t have been more amazing or more helpful. Bea even organised for Sophie to spend the following morning at B & W Equine Hospital having a tour and even getting to watch some operations.
That afternoon Sophie was back onboard Mango doing leg yields and half passes followed by riding a horse called Larry who turned out to be her favourite as he was much more forward, like the race horses she used to ride. Sophie told us that the whole experience was amazing and something she will remember for life.
Sophie wanted to ride a school master to help her when riding her own horses and she has clearly been putting what she learnt in to practice. Sophie attended some BD training on her own horse Leo and they have been selected to represent Somerset at the inter county extravaganza! Everyone at Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity wishes them lots and lots of luck, love, happiness and health for the future.