A West Sussex woman, who has been battling ME and Lymes disease for 18 years, has achieved a major success winning the Open Carriage Driving Class at the Riding for Disabled Association’s National Championships at Hartpury, last week.
Sue Sherlock of Ashington, and her pony Serenade, went into the lead after the dressage and cones, going on to fly round the obstacle course, with Serenade loving every minute of it, finishing well ahead of all the other competitors.
Sue said: “Serenade is a fantastic and very special family pony. My grandchildren and friends ride and drive her as well, while I compete with her in open competitions.”
A member of RDA Happy Landings Carriage driving group, Sue was quick to point out that they wouldn`t even have been able to get to Hartpury without the help and support from friends from the Group and family members .
“It is very much a team effort, not only at the championships, but also with the people who help me drive her and keep her fit even in the terrible winter weather,” added Sue.
Eighteen years ago her life had changed dramatically. Sue had always led an extremely active life, ranging from riding horses to climbing Ben Nevis. Suddenly she was struck down and spent almost nine years flat on her back, but actively campaigning for more recognition of M.E. and Lyme Disease.
She said of her victory: “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think anything like this could happen.” When I was bedridden, I thought I would never be able to have anything more to do with horses, and certainly nothing like this.”
Sue’s steadfast courage and determination never to give in has been a significant factor, but Lancelot, Sue’s canine partner has played a major part since he joined her four years ago. Lancelot was part of the group which went to Hartpury and he has been instrumental in tranforming her life.
” I would never be able to manage without him. At the end of that day I was absolutely exhausted, but he just pulled my clothes off and I flopped into bed. We stayed there two nights and when we got home, we both slept for most of the next two days,” said Sue.
Lancelot not only helps her undress also takes coats but he picks things up when she drops them, and brings her the phone when it rings. He opens and closes doors and gets her shoes out of the cupboard and helps her to transfer from wheelchair to bed. He accompanies her on our RDA outings, where she is a regular competitor.