Harpenden brain tumour survivor set for national equestrian championships

Ten- year-old Adam Sharp (pictured riding Simba), came first in the junior class at the Eastern Regi

Ten- year-old Adam Sharp (pictured riding Simba), came first in the junior class at the Eastern Regional Qualifiers at Oaklands College in St Albans. - Credit: Photo supplied

A 10-year-old boy left with various disabilities as a result of a brain tumour is “over the moon” after successfully competing in an equestrian event in St Albans.

Adam Sharp, a member of the Harpenden Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Group, came first in the junior class of the Eastern Regional RDA qualifier held recently at Oaklands College’s Smallford campus.

Riding Simba in the competition, he also achieved the highest countryside challenge score of the day, out of all classes.

Adam was one of four members representing the Harpenden group who successfully achieved the marks and position in their classes required to qualify for the national championships in Gloucestershire in July.

His win was particularly impressive as he has only been riding for eight months.

Adam’s mum, Jos Sharp, said: “Adam has various disabilities resulting from a brain tumour and even getting on the pony is problematic for him.

“It was fantastic to see him looking so professional on Simba and to see him using his left hand to hold the reins, which is very difficult for him to do.

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“The whole volunteer team at RDA do an amazing job, for which I’m very grateful – Adam hasn’t stopped smiling since!”

Her son said: “I was over the moon to win such a massive trophy and I am really looking forward to the national championships. Simba was brilliant.”

The countryside challenge consists of 12 “obstacles” which the rider has to negotiate such as circling a “duck pond,” picking an apple and dropping it in a bucket, while maintaining full control of the horse.

Lesley Stone, Harpenden RDA group instructor, said: “I was very impressed with how well all of our riders did, especially as it was so windy and cold on the day.”

At RDA, horses and ponies provide therapy, achievement and enjoyment to people with disabilities. Throughout the UK, a network of 500 volunteer groups organise activities such as riding, carriage driving, vaulting and showjumping for up to 28,000 people each year. The Harpenden RDA group is currently looking out for extra volunteers on a Thursday night between 5.30-7pm. It relies on voluntary help, donations and legacies to deliver services. If you are interested in helping p email tim@stagenhoe.co.uk or phone 07778 519569. Volunteers do not need to have experience with horses or disabled riders as this will be provided.