Surge Protection Devices Ltd are proud to announce that we will be continuing to sponsor Teemo from Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled Association in 2021.
As many of you may know Surge Protection Devices Ltd was set up in 2006 by my Father, Ian Johnson, and my Mother, Sandra Johnson. From a very early age Sandra discovered her huge passion for horses, despite both her parents not being horsey at all. Sandra spent every free minute she had at the stables, learning to care for the horses and riding. In 1979 Sandra was lucky enough to be offered the chance to buy her own horse, Colly, who she looked after and rode for the next 13 years. Sadly Colly passed away in 1992. Unable to be without a horse for too long she then bought Topaz. Sandra and Topaz found it hard to connect at first but eventually found their way. They did everything together, from hacking out, jumping, and eventually when she trusted Topaz enough she would let me ride him too. It was this horse that taught me to ride. I fell in love with him as much as my mum did. We owned Topaz for 17 years, sadly in 2009 Topaz had to be put to sleep.
During this time of horse ownership Sandra became interested in supporting the riding for the disabled association. Sandra was massive Neil Sedaka fan and her and my dad travelled all over the country to see him in concert. It was at the Nottingham concert that Sandra & Ian met a lady called Stella McBride, who was a volunteer at Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled. Their friendship blossomed and they met up with each other at numerous Neil Sedaka concerts around the country. Stella lived in Scotland so Sandra & Ian travelled up there a couple of times to meet with Stella. Stella introduced them both to Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled Association.
When Sandra passed away in 2015 we decided to raise money for this fantastic charity on her behalf. It is an absolute honour to be able to sponsor a horse for this charity, as the work they do is amazing.
Enriching lives through horses!
At Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), our horses benefit the lives of over 25,000 disabled children and adults. With fun activities like riding and carriage driving, we provide therapy, fitness, skills development and opportunities for achievement – all supported by 18,000 amazing volunteers and qualified coaches at nearly 500 RDA centres all over the UK.
RDA is an inclusive and diverse organisation. We welcome clients with physical and learning disabilities and autism, and there are no age restrictions. Through our network of member groups, RDA is at work in every corner of the UK, in our cities and remote rural areas, bringing the therapy, achievement and fun of horses to as many people as we can.
We are a charity, and we can only carry out our life-changing activities thanks to the generosity of our donors, the dedication of our volunteers and the good nature of our fantastic horses.
A bit about Teemo
Teemo was born in 2011, he’s a Irish Draught Cross and stands at an impressive 17’2 hands high. Teemo was bought from a horse dealer in the West of Scotland in 2016 as a four year old. Here at Ravelrig we prefer to buy young horses, hopefully they have not picked up bad habits or become set in their ways, and this allows us to train and mould them into a useful RDA horse with the potential of having a long and happy career with us.
When purchasing a new horse, we never see perfection, there has to be acceptable compromise but we always insist on a good, kind temperament and good manners. When the call was received that a potentially suitable RDA horse had been found, meeting our desired criteria, we went along, excited, anxious – all the feelings associated with buying for an organisation as opposed to personal use. Was Teemo impressive – his height was; did we immediately fall in love – no; so why did we pursue with the purchase – because we saw an immature youngster who had the potential to turn into a stunning horse. He did absolutely nothing wrong – he handled well, did not over react to sudden movements around his head or to some of the riders – he just seemed a really nice horse that could serve us well. He duly passed his vetting, the final comment from the examining vet being “I really like this horse” which we found comforting.
Teemo quickly settled into the routine at Ravelrig and found himself second in the pecking order. We knew he was very inexperienced and expected there would be a honeymoon period when all would be well and then, no surprise, the challenges began – one being when asked to canter he bucked and after giving him a full clip he would not let us on his back. As we did not want to create further problems we brought in professional help and the issues were duly resolved.
He quickly settled into his role as an RDA horse and became a gentle giant. Standing tall at 17’2 he copes really well with his bigger, taller and heavier riders.
Sadly Teemo sustained an injury some 12 months ago which remains undiagnosed. He was dropping a hip in trot and to determine the site of the injury, nerve blocks were used, but his pain threshold was low and in the interest of safety the procedure had to be aborted. He then had a bone scan but images were blurred. Muscle wastage was caused when the recommended treatment was complete bed rest for 10 weeks – thankfully he was the perfect patient and dealt with the confinement without fuss. A physio became involved to advise on an exercise programme to build up the wasted muscle but forewarned us there was no quick fix. In all this time Teemo has still very much been an RDA horse – riders have learned stable management and he is a much groomed and pampered horse.
Teemo is now 7 years old – he is still a young horse. Being an RDA horse can be a hard life but we remain optimistic that he will make a full recovery and resume his RDA career, however we have a duty of care to do what is right for Teemo and this will always be foremost in our minds.
An update on Teemo 2021…
There was very little good news in 2020, but at Ravelrig they see their glass as always being half full. One of the positives coming from the COVID-19 lockdown was all the horses benefitted from being turned away in to the fields and allowed to be horses.
The enforced chill out time was particularly beneficial to Teemo who was still showing signs of the injury sustained 18 months earlier. After 4 months he was gradually brought back into work to build up strength and muscle and I am delighted to announce that Teemo appears to have made a complete recovery from his earlier injury.
Before returning to RDA work, training was carried out to give all horses new skills to deal with social distancing. They were led to the ramp for mounting and ‘parked’ whilst the leader stands back two meters to allow the rider to mount unaided or with the help of someone from their household, after which they ride unassisted or led from the end of the lead rope.
Additional training has been carried out for hoist mounting for less able riders to be mounted safely with minimum handling. For both exercises, Teemo has been an absolute star, if he didn’t do it right initially it was because he didn’t understand. He is now our first choice of horse for demonstrating the new mounting techniques to both riders and volunteers.
Teemo’s life is good right now. He is back in full work, he is ridden regularly in volunteer lessons under the instruction of a qualified coach, he hacks out at least once a week and he also carries out his duties as an RDA horse. Teemo is a big, gentle giant and would be sorely missed if he wasn’t with us.
About Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled
Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled Group is a member of the UK Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and part of the Edinburgh & Borders RDA Region.
The group provides people with a disability the opportunity to ride and enjoy all the activities connected with horse riding. Ravelrig RDA was founded in 1986 and has grown from one little pony and 12 riders, to the present day capacity of eight horses and ponies and 75 regular riders.
Ravelrig RDA is run entirely by a dedicated group of more than 100 volunteers ranging in age from 12 to 75. The group is managed by a Board of Trustees who are also active volunteers with the group.
What your sponsorship means to Ravelrig RDA
- Financial support to coverr costs of feeding, shoeing and veterinary fees
- Allows to provide training to our volunteers to understand the power of horse therapy and rehabilitation to our riders
- Acknowledgement of the value of Riding for the Disabled
- Giving us a feel good factor that there is appreciation and support out there for something we are passionate about.
Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled, 21 Ravelrig Gait, Balerno, EH14 7NH
Charity Number: SC028670