Telford boy saddles up for national championships
A Telford schoolboy has qualified for a national riding championship for disabled people.
Fraser Sollom, 12, rode in the Riding for the Disabled Association's (RDA) regional competition and performed well enough to qualify for the national contest in July.
Fraser lives in Admaston and has autism, dyspraxia and hypermobility. He has been riding with the Shropshire-based Perry RDA branch for three years and has become firm friends with a pony named Stubbs, also taking time to volunteer for the charity at weekends.
He has also taken to the Perry RDA's new Cavalier Centre, which opened near Much Wenlock last month.
Fraser said: "I really enjoy going as it gives me pleasure and release from the stresses of school. I feel calm and peaceful when I’m around the ponies.
"I love the ponies and some of their different personalities. I sponsor one of the horses called Stubbs, he is a character and a fun horse to ride.
"As much as I enjoy riding him, he enjoys being ridden and especially when jumping, which is one of the skills I’m currently learning and absolutely love.
"All the people at the centre are dedicated to what they do within the charity. I have competed every year since I started riding with Perry in the regional qualifiers and enjoy these days, I’ve won lots of rosettes and even a trophy."
Fraser represented the Perry RDA at the West Mercia regional competition alongside teammates Blossom Burton, Carys Haskell and Madison Johnston-Morris.
His mother Allison Sollom said: “When Fraser started riding three years ago, he was scared of horses and struggled to even be close to a horse.
"We wanted him to try horse riding due to the therapeutic benefits horses can provide for children with specific needs. His horse riding has given him physical benefits, such as increased limb and core strength and good posture.
"We have seen his confidence increase significantly and more than anything, when he is around the horses, we observe a sense of calm and pleasure that he doesn’t get from other activities.
"Not only has Fraser learned to ride, trot, canter, dressage and show jump, his time with Perry is now his passion and he spends his weekends volunteering and caring for the horses.”
Jane Barker, RDA coach and founder of the Perry RDA group, said: "The riders all rode to the best of their ability and the ponies behaved impeccably.”