By Rebecca Peppiatt
FOUR years ago Forrestfield resident Vivienne Waghorn couldn’t even sit on a horse without three people holding her in place after a debilitating stroke left her struggling to perform basic tasks including walking and talking.
Now she has won an award for her riding and says she owes it all to the team at Horsepower Swan Valley.
“I’ve ridden all my life, but since the stroke four years ago, I lost everything and that’s when I lost my hope,” Vivienne said.
Vivienne, 57, spent two months in hospital recovering and not long after had to deal with the death of her husband whom she had been caring for.
A former horse rider and race track rider, Vivienne’s physiotherapist suggested horse riding as a way to get her body moving again.
Ultimately, she’s got much more from it than that.
“After I was introduced to Horsepower it gave me something positive and motivating to look forward to every week,” Vivienne said of her weekly sessions.
“They’re such an encouraging team and I love being able to interact with them and the horses.
“It’s my freedom and I’d be lost without them.”
At the start, Vivienne had to be held on to the horse by three people.
Her balance was off and her body was not strong enough to stay on top alone.
“I started off only being able to get on the horse,” Vivienne said.
“I had a person leading me and one each side and one behind me in case I fell off.
“I did that for a good 12 months.”
Her riding has improved so much she’s now the independent walk and trot Horsepower Australia Dressage champion.
There were around 14 other riders in her class from Horsepower branches all over WA and Vivienne was announced as the winner in late November.
Now she’s got bigger ambitions to keep progressing her riding and her recovery.
“I’ll try and go up to a bit more trotting and try and go over some poles and keep improving,” she said.
“No doubt the team will know when I’m ready to do something new.”