Grindlow's Niamh Simmonds puts in a 'Cracker' of a ride in prestigious competition
Grindlow horsewoman Niamh Simmons has overcome a life-limiting condition to score joint sixth place in her class in a prestigious national competition for disabled riders – just months after getting back in the saddle.
Niamh, 41, whose mobility is severely restricted by multiple sclerosis, competed against riders from all over the UK to achieve the accolade in the Countryside Challenge section of the Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Virtual National Championships 2021, held on September 25 and 26.
She represented Buxton-based Helen Atkin Group RDA in the senior class for riders with a leader or side walker, and said she was delighted to do so well on behalf of the group at such a high level.
“I’m very pleased – not just for myself, but also for Helen Atkin Group RDA, which made it possible for me to start riding again earlier this year,” said Niamh, who lost mobility from the waist down overnight in 2014 and steered her mount Cracker to victory using only her hands and voice.
“When I suddenly lost the function of my legs I thought I had hung up my riding hat for good, but RDA has not only given me the opportunity to get back into a sport I love.
“I’m very fortunate to have had the chance to take part, riding such a lovely horse as Cracker, and being helped and supported by the dedicated team of volunteers at Helen Atkin Group RDA.”
Riders, volunteers and supporters of the group joined Niamh at Buxton Riding School to watch her class being live streamed from the competition at Hartpury in Gloucestershire.