Staff at Oakview Lodge Care & Nursing Home in Welwyn Garden City helped resident Jacqui Blandford fulfil her wish to go horse-riding again. The wish was fulfilled as part of a ‘Make a wish’ initiative run by Country Court, the company behind Oakview Lodge Care & Nursing Home. Residents are given the opportunity to tell staff about somewhere they have always wanted to go or a special activity they always wanted to do.
Seventy-three-year-old Jacqui, who is registered blind, has been a keen horsewoman all her life. She first sat on a pony aged four-and-a-half and over the years she continued her passion for riding and spent lots of time with horses. During the last five years, and throughout the pandemic, Jacqui has been unable to ride so she jumped at the chance to tell staff about her wish.
“Jacqui loves to ride and be out in the fresh air,” said Wellbeing Coordinator Rachel Davies. “When she told us about her love of riding, we got in touch with Riding for the Disabled at Digswell Place, who have been absolutely amazing with their support. We’ve been coming every week and it’s been so good for Jacqui’s health and wellbeing. Riding at Digswell Place has given her a fantastic opportunity to be independent and enjoy her lifelong passion for horses.”
Jacqui has been having regular riding sessions at Digswell Place. Accompanied by volunteers, she has been riding a lovely pony called Darraugh around the outdoor arena and getting used to being back in the saddle.
“I just love riding,” said Jacqui “I’ve been doing it for years and years, all my life really. It’s great to come here after being stuck inside because of the lockdown.”
Digswell Place is a purpose-built, voluntarily run riding stables for adults and children with most kinds of disabilities. The Digswell Place Group was founded in 1972 and around 80 people ride there each week. The aim of the Riding for the Disabled Association is to give the opportunity of riding to any disabled person who might benefit in their health and wellbeing.
The ‘Make a wish’ initiative has seen residents from across the Country Court group enjoy special outings and activities. From scoring goals at Sheffield United Football Club to off-road driving and many special day trips and outings.