Award recognises Kelsey’s resilience, courage and tenacity

Kelsey Power with dad Gary and auntie, Carla.

A young horse rider has been presented with a prestigious award which recognises her courage and tenacity.

Kelsey Power was presented with the Maggie Tansley Award 2022 during the Saturday afternoon ride at Catterick Garrison Saddle Club.

It was presented by regional chair of Riding for Disabled (RDA), John Chuter, and county chair Cass O’Brien.

Richmond & Catterick Riding for Disabled (RDA) coach, Sheri Wild, nominated nine-year-old Kelsey, the youngest rider in the group, for this award.

Kelsey has Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 3.

She joined Richmond & Catterick RDA in February 2018 as a five-year-old.

Although she uses a wheelchair, Kelsey does her best to walk whenever she can.

The Maggie Tansley Award is named after the regional chair who died in 2017 and had been involved with RDA for many years.

The aim is to recognise the rider who shows resilience, courage and tenacity– something that Sheri said Kelsey had in “spades”.

Run by North Yorkshire and Cleveland region, the committee voted on the nominated individuals and Kelsey was selected as the best candidate.

Sheri Wild said: “Initially we’d lift Kelsey onto Tiddles, her allocated pony.

“Once settled in the saddle she has a good seat. However, due to her weak lower torso, Kelsey can very easily lose balance.

“She has a balance bar and two side walkers to maintain her stability and confidence.

“Her insistence on using the bridle reins ‘like the others’ was an early indication of her strong character.”

Since joining Richmond & Catterick RDA, Kelsey has progressed from slow, gentle walking for a limited time to accommodate her weakness and fatigue, and to gradually overcome her initial nervousness, to steering her pony and trotting for short distances.

She passed her Proficiency Test Grade 1 in both Riding and Horse Care.

She then went on to gain her Proficiency Grade 2 Riding and Horse Care.

Combining a new drug, Spineraza, to slow the progress of her disability, with Kelsey’s incredible strength of character and considerable determination has seen her go from strength to strength.

In February 2020, just before lockdown, she was able to take her feet out of the stirrups without assistance.

During stationary exercises she suddenly rolled her ankles.

Following the long Covid layoff, the growing Kelsey was now too tall for Tiddles.

While a wrench for her she graduated to the larger Billy and is getting stuck into improving her riding with her usual determination.

Sheri added: “Clearly the equine therapy of RDA and Kelsey’s own indomitable ‘can do’ determination and ever-cheerful personality, combined with her Spineraza treatment will see her achieve every goal she sets herself.

“We are all so very proud of her achievements to date and know she’s going to continue to amaze us all.”