8.5 Minute Listen or Read

In this article, I'll give you a glimpse into our Curious Equestrian Podcast episode where Anna Louise met Bryony Moss; we're stepping into the world of an extraordinary soul with a love for animals that knows no bounds. Bryony's home has become a mini farm —a bustling haven filled with the cheerful quacks of ducks, the clucking of chickens, the baaing of goats, and the heartwarming nuzzles of her beloved miniature horse, Lola. Each animal, from her faithful dogs to the hopping rabbit, is a cherished companion, creating a tapestry of affection and care. Our story begins here, but it's so much more than that. It's a tale that weaves threads of love, threads of healing, and threads of inclusivity into the rich fabric of the equestrian world. 

Imagine stepping into a world that seems a little too daunting, where the creatures are larger than life, and the unknown feels intimidating. This was where Bryony found herself, face to face with her fear. Horses, magnificent as they are, were at first a source of apprehension for her.  But, you see, Bryony's story isn't just about fear. It's about transformation and the magic that unfolds when you embrace the things that scare you. With the same tenacity that horses embody, she took the reins of her life in both hands, and something incredible happened — horse riding became her ally, her therapy.  Imagine the hooves' rhythm and gentle sway as Bryony found her balance. It's a physical language of trust and resilience. The sessions included physiotherapy, stretching out muscles, steadying her posture, and strengthening her resolve.

Each time Bryony climbed onto the back of her horse, she wasn't just confronting her disability; she was soaring above it, leaving her fears in the dust of the arena. In embracing horse riding, Bryony didn't just find a sport — she found her joy, her therapy, and her freedom. And that, my friends, is the power of pushing past your boundaries and discovering the therapeutic joy nestled in the heart of fear.

Para dressage is an art form, a ballet between horse and rider that requires precise movements, a deep connection, and a level of trust and communication that can only be forged with time and dedication. Bryony introduced us to this beautiful world, describing it as "dancing with your horse," and through her experiences, we are privy to the sheer grace of this performance.  Her journey is not just about competition; it's about the intimate relationship she nurtures with her equine partners. Imagine the thrill of moving in unison with a horse, executing each dressage movement with elegance. For Bryony, this isn't just a sport; it's a passion she pursues relentlessly. Her aspirations have carried her from regional events to the national stage, and she has her sights set on international glory.

What's inspiring is how equestrian sports become a space where the playing field levels out, welcoming athletes like Bryony with open arms. Para-dressage exemplifies how sports can adapt to the athletes, making it possible for those with different abilities to showcase their talent and determination.  This segment of para-dressage isn't just a dance; it's a statement about the possibility, a rallying cry for accessibility. The need for initiatives like the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) becomes clear as they work tirelessly to ensure everyone has the opportunity to dance, ride, and experience the profound bond between humans and horses. Bryony's achievements in para dressage aren't just medals and titles; they are milestones in a larger movement towards an inclusive sporting arena where everyone finds a place to shine.

But let's take a moment to address something equally important as the competitions and ribbons: Access and community in the world of horse riding. Bryony shed light on the harsh realities that riding centers face, especially when society's rhythms are interrupted, like during those unexpected lockdown times. It's not just about keeping the stables running; it's about maintaining a lifeline for people who find solace and structure in the companionship of horses.  The equestrian community has faced these accessibility challenges head-on, with a lot of heart and a bit of grit. It's about pulling together, raising awareness of the sport's therapeutic benefits that reach far beyond the physical. Horseback riding isn't only a sport; for many, it's a cornerstone of mental well-being, giving individuals the stability and structure they crave in their lives.

Bryony's own battle with PTSD and anxiety, hidden disabilities that so many silently carry, serves as a beacon. By bravely bringing her story into the open, she's started conversations, opening eyes to the diverse experiences and struggles within our own ranks. Through social media and her outreach, she’s woven a support network that not only understands but actively works towards building a more inclusive world on the backs of horses, embracing every rider and the unique strengths they bring to the saddle.   So here we are, digging deep into the communal spirit of this sport, realizing that every time we help improve access to horse riding, we're not just opening a stable door—we're unlocking a world of potential for healing, growth, and joy.

Bryony's journey with horse riding as therapy, may resonate with many out there. It's a tale that wraps its arms around the notion that in every trot and canter, there's a chance to rebuild, to be empowered, and to heal from the inside out.  So, if the thought of horse riding has ever trotted through your mind as more than just a hobby, perhaps it's time to consider it as a means to mend. Bryony is a living testament to the therapeutic wonders that horse riding can unfurl—the wonders that await just a hoofbeat away.

If you're feeling that magnetic pull towards the world of horse riding, if you're itching to tread that path, Bryony has some sage words for you. Her journey's shown that it's never too late to start, and the equestrian world is richer for having you in it.  And it's not just about learning to ride; it's also about the people you meet along the way. Bryony's experiences underscore the strength of the equestrian community. It's a space where friendships gallop at the same pace as your horse, where every shared sunrise on horseback weaves a stronger bond. Whether you're local or connecting with fellow horse enthusiasts from around the globe, you're part of a tribe now—a tribe that celebrates both your victories and your gentle falls.

The road ahead might be dotted with obstacles, but remember, every rider you admire started off with shaky legs and a beating heart full of dreams. Just like Bryony, with perseverance and the support of this amazing community, you’ll soon find your rhythm. So to anyone who's ever dreamed of cantering with the wind, know that there's a spot for you in this beautiful tapestry of hooves and heartbeats.

If you've been moved by Bryony's story of triumph and her remarkable relationship with horses, there's more to see and share. You too can become part of Bryony's inspiring journey. Just look up her Instagram handle, "defeating disability," a name that's a testament to her spirit and determination. There, you'll uncover a daily dose of inspiration. It's not just about cheering from the sidelines; it's about engaging, connecting, and being part of a movement that celebrates the transformative power of horse riding.  

If you've enjoyed my little recap of the podcast with Bryony, I warmly invite you to listen to the full tale on the Curious Equestrian Podcast.