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Dean Johnston

 
"Hydro and horses"
 
My name is Dean Johnston. I live with a condition called Hydrocephalus, following premature birth. I have a medical device called a shunt implanted in my head and I need to be careful to protect it, but also to prepare for times when it may break and I will need surgery. This has happened many times.
 
I have experienced isolation, limitation, bullying in growing up with a 'disability'. My life changed when I started to ride and love horses and learned to challenge and believe in myself and my achievements in and out of the saddle. I found something I CAN do amongst so many things I CAN'T do. With the help of wonderful horses, supportive and encouraging riding instructors, I have achieved many things and I've never had so much fun, doing something that I CAN do and its fun! Its said "When you a ride a horse, you borrow freedom" - I've felt that and seen it in the expressions, giggles and smiles of others.
 
As a RDA rider and volunteer I encouraged others and learned about myself. I competed, won ribbons and experienced a different kind of riding. I've seen that RDA horses and volunteers can support and encourage anybody to experience joy and independence through riding and loving horses. I've seen blind people compete in dressage and showjumping. I've seen eyes light up as a rider enjoys games, or the trail ride they waited all year for.