Our ethos is ‘Improving Lives’ – be it rider, volunteer, parent, horse… some of the people we work with have been kind enough to share their stories below.
Hello my name is Joe and I am 17 years old. I left school and my Mum helped me to get a placement at Conquest Centre as a BHS (British Horse Society) Level 1 student. I have a reading and writing disability and I have been coming here since September of 2015. My duties are to lead horses for clients, groom horses, muck out stables, tack up horses and any other general yard duties. I am hard working and especially like working with horses. Until I came to Conquest I had never ridden before but I am now having lessons and I am doing really well.
I used to get up late in the mornings but now I have to be up to attend my placement and since I have been here I have managed to get a job at McDonalds and this is due to all the confidence I have gained since coming to Conquest, mostly from working with horses and lots of other people. I felt my interview with McDonalds went really well and that’s why they gave me a job.
When I am here I really enjoy working with other people of all ages. I enjoy leading the horses for the clients and this helps me to build friendships with them and I hope they enjoy me leading them.
I have to do a lot more reading and writing as part of my course and yard duties, for example, I have to look at the tasks list and look at the blackboard to read which horses are needed for the lessons, I have noticed that this has greatly improved my reading and writing ability as a result.
My goal is to get a job working with horses and I know that working and studying here is definitely going to give me a greater chance of this happening.
My name is Laura. I have Cerebral Palsy which was diagnosed when I was 18 months old.
I began riding when I was 2 and loved it! When I was 8 I started coming to Conquest Centre to develop my riding and, thanks to expert Saturday morning tuition provided at the Centre by Nina Venables I was able to take up dressage. I found I had a real talent for it! In 1996 I started competing in dressage competitions and since then I have competed at the RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) National Championships many times. I have also twice got through to the final selection process for the British Paralympic Equestrian Team!
In January 2014 I took on a new challenge and began Carriage Driving. In September of that year I began competing against able-bodied drivers and I now compete as often as I can – normally coming away with a rosette! In addition to all this, I have been Instructing at Conquest Centre since 2010 and I regularly assist in running Training Days for new Centre Volunteers.
I have now been coming to Conquest Centre for 20 years and it has benefitted my life in so many ways, here are just a few…..
Riding, Dressage and Carriage Driving have allowed me to excel on a level playing field without my disability getting in the way. As Mum says, riding meant I always had something really interesting to take to ‘show and tell’! My activities at Conquest have given me an enormous sense of achievement and enabled me to really grow in confidence. The improved balance, muscle strength and tone I have gained through riding have minimised the physical impact Cerebral Palsy has on my body – for example thanks to riding I have much less muscle wastage in my legs than would normally be expected.
Conquest Centre is such a welcoming, non-judgemental place and it is a real pleasure to spend time there. Most importantly I know from experience that the opportunities it has given me would not have been available anywhere else in my area!