By Suruchi Sharma
A young horse rider at an Elstree riding school is celebrating his win as junior champion at an international tournament in Belgium.
Michael Murphy, 13, from Mill Hill, went to Moorsele, in Belgium, two weeks ago with his trainer Sarah Healing and his mother Sue Murphy.
Michael has trained at Penniwell’s Riding Centre for the Disabled, in Edgwarebury Lane, since he was five years old.
He was selected to ride for Great Britain in the under 21’s International Para competition with his horse Vinnie.
Michael has Dejerine-Sottas disorder, which affects the nervous system. He attends the centre every week instead of doing physical education lessons at his school in Mill Hill.
He said: “The GB team was really very supportive and competing was a lot of fun. It was a really good feeling to be there. More people should definitely get involved with horse riding. I really enjoy it and it has helped me a lot.
“The staff and volunteers at the centre have been great and helped me develop as a rider.”
Ms Healing said: “It has been fantastic and it’s a great achievement for Michael. He is a dedicated rider and who knows we could be seeing him in the future as an Olympic athlete.
“If he carries on the way he is going we might see him not the next Olympics but the one after.
“It’s would be great to work towards that.”
Michael’s mother, Sue, said: “It was a huge arena and there was an amazing atmosphere. I am really proud of Michael and what he has achieved.
“Coming to the centre has really helped him out and also it’s allowed him such opportunity. I want to thank the staff here for their help and continuing support.
The centre is also looking for volunteers for their Sunday service. Some experience with horses is preferred but not essential as all volunteers receive full training.
Sunday hours are 9am-1.30pm but the centre welcomes volunteers for a minimum of two hours also.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the centre can contact Penniwells RDA Centre on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0208 207 4525.
For more information log on to www.penniwellsrda.org.uk