Sean is almost two and has Down’s Syndrome, his entire family love to horse ride together. They live very close to a farm where their horses are stabled and most weekends will take a stroll down the country lanes together on horseback. Mum, Danielle, applied to Family Fund this year for help with a basket saddle to support Sean when riding his best friend Casper.

“Casper used to be my daughter April’s pony and I wanted to keep him in the family. Sean couldn’t fit in a traditional saddle due to his low muscle tone so I started to research alternatives. I trawled ebay and there were lots of different options around the world and then I found a woman who made these basket seats based in the UK on facebook. She was so helpful and talked me through how it works. It sits on the pony as a traditional saddle would but it has a basket around the back to offer extra support and a clip around the front for safety. It came with cushions to make it more comfortable for him and it can be used up to age 10, so he will be able use it for years. Both his Occupational Therapist and Physio have approved the saddle; they said it would be great for his coordination, muscle tone and balance.”

“Sean has always loved Casper, he would push his head in the pushchair and Sean would stroke his nose. As we pull into the farm Sean gets so excited, if Casper stops when they are riding Sean will shout ‘Go Again, Go Again!’Casper is so calm, even if a double-decker or a tractor passes him on the narrow roads he will not flinch, he took to the new saddle really well. Sean has surpassed my hopes for him to ride with his brothers and other children and in the future I hope he will go on to do local horse shows with Casper.”

“All the girls at the farm love Sean and he is starting to think he is a celebrity, waving to everyone as they go by. But he has also taught the girls sign-a-long and a little Makaton, he will sign ‘friend’ whenever he sees them and the same when he sees Casper. I have ridden since I was 14 and I think it’s great that my kids enjoy riding too as it teaches them animal care and responsibility.”

“Without the help of Family Fund it would have taken us so long to save as we have other financial commitments. Now we can all go to the farm together and we are just waiting for the weather to pick up to go on a longer ride with a picnic.”