Photos Steven Collis
Thanet Disabled Riding Centre in Broadstairs has had a special visit from former member and Paralympic Games 2024 hopeful Katie Radzik.
Katie, 33, had her first riding sessions at the centre when she was just three-years-old to help with her balance and co-ordination.
The dressage rider has cerebral palsy ataxia and short term memory loss but these are not conditions that define her.
Katie, from Ashford, has built a strong international competitive career and made her first appearance competing for Great Britain in 2018. She hopes to be selected for the 2024 Paralympics.
Katie took time out of her schedule to meet staff and riders at Thanet Riding for the Disabled, accompanied by her horse Teddy.
Lorraine Knell, from the riding centre, said: “She was just a beautiful woman who could not do enough for everyone. It was a lovely day.”
The centre has been running for more than 40 years and has been at its current site at Maurice House in Broadstairs for 30 years. It is entirely self-funded and relies on donations from groups and individuals.
The centre is headed up by Nora Setterfield, 82, who received an MBE in 2013 for her dedication to the centre which helps children and adults who suffer from disabilities by providing riding lessons or just time with the horses and other visitors. There are some 48 students each week as well as a number of children with special needs who help at the stables and 19 volunteers.
Riders are aided by leaders and side-walkers and being at the centre, as a rider or helper, aids the building of strength, boosts confidence and improves communication skills.
The cost of keeping the centre open more than £150 a day, covering everything from utilities to straw and feed.
Upcoming fundraisers include an open air Christmas Carol service with farm animals, carols, cakes, raffle and the TDRC ponies in their Xmas outfits. The event is at the centre on Saturday, December 11 from 2pm-4pm. Donations welcomed.
To help with a donation call the riding centre on 01843 863481 or find out more on the website here