Tina’s story: Back in the saddle

Tina, who back up helped with independence after spinal cord injury, riding a horse on one of our multi activity courses

Meet Tina:  

  • Sustained her spinal cord injury through Cauda Equina syndrome  
  • Recently boosted her confidence on a Back Up Multi Activity Course 
  • A long-term horse lover, Tina previously competed in many riding competitions with her horse, Marmalade  

Tina’s spinal cord injury caused a devastating knock to her independence. After being diagnosed with Cauda Equina syndrome in 2017, Tina’s spinal cord was damaged on the L5-S1level. This greatly affected Tina’s mobility. Although she could still walk short distances with a stick, she chose to use a wheelchair to manage pain and fatigue.  

“I was always an outgoing person, but that changed quickly. My injury meant I had to sell my horse and move house. I had just started using a wheelchair full-time, without really knowing what to do.

“Accessibility was a big challenge because of this. Just going to the shops became a struggle.”  

In order to regain her independence, Tina realised that she needed support from people in a similar situation. This led her to apply for a place on a Back Up Multi Activity Course. This service is a chance for people with a spinal cord injury to boost their confidence through trying out adaptive activities, practice wheelchair skills, and get support from others who understand.

However, Tina felt nervous before attending the course. As she sustained a lower-level injury through Cauda Equina, she was worried that she would feel out of place among those with higher-level injuries.

Fortunately, the course ended up meeting her expectations and beyond.  

“I was worried that people would think I was a fraud, because I can still stand and walk with my stick. Fortunately, that was not the case at all.

“From the moment I arrived, I felt at home. It was like Back Up was one massive family, there to support each other.”

As well as finding support from others with a spinal cord injury, Tina had the chance to take part in a range of exciting activities. This included zipwires, archery, as well as horse riding. 

For Tina, having the chance to ride a horse again felt fantastic.  

“It felt like I was back on my own horse. It completely cleared my mind and made me smile.

“I was just elated that I had the chance to ride a horse again.”

Thanks to the skills and knowledge she gained from this course, Tina is now living much more independently. Equipped with newly learned wheelchair skills, Tina is now ready to tackle any challenges she may face.

“On this course I learned how to get up and down curbs, push backwards, and negotiate anything you may find in your local high street. Now I’m making sure to practice my wheelchair skills at home with a spotter behind me.

“I’m determined to keep persevering! If there’s a barrier I can’t get past, I’m going to challenge it.”  

All of our Back Up courses are designed to boost independence after spinal cord injury. Follow this link to browse our courses calendar.