ATV provides mobility for Para-equestrian
Farming Monthly National|March 2021
Donna Rooney has used Yamaha ATVs as mobility vehicles for almost twenty years. Following a serious horse-riding accident, she was hospitalised for almost a year. “I was categorised as having life changing injuries following a rotational fall which caused the horse to break bones in almost all parts of my body. My ankle is fused, and I have little feeling in my left leg, so I have to walk using crutches. I have since had twenty operations on my legs, but none have helped me to regain greater mobility,” she says.

Donna competed in eventing and was based in Surrey. However, following the accident, she was forced to revaluate her life and her future with horses. “I couldn’t afford the livery, but I wanted to keep my horses, so I sold my flat and moved to Wales,” she says. Now based near Cardigan on a twenty-acre farm, Donna has her own horses and a thriving equestrian business. She opened Shiral Equestrian Centre, in Cenarth, where she teaches riders and has her own tack shop. “I never wanted to be a burden and I knew I wanted to keep and continue working with horses. The only way was to sell up and restart,” she says.

With help from Riding For The Disabled, Donna was able to relearn how to ride with the limited sensation and use of her legs. “Leg movements control the horse and without full use of my legs I had to find new ways to communicate with the horse,” she says. Opening the riding school gave her the opportunity to teach others and also enabled her to keep horses. “At one point we had up to 60 horses here, but it was too much. I had help from my parents, who relocated here with me, but as they got older it was too much to ask. We have subsequently scaled everything down to focus on the tack shop and the lessons I offer,” she explains.

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