A FIRST-TIME author and disabled horseback rider from west Dorset has written an inclusive children's book to raise funds for The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

Animal-lover Jade Leahy has released Horse's Can Roll but They Can't Roller Skate - a book aimed at helping readers with self-acceptance.

The 40-year-old author, who lives in Cattistock, based the book loosely on her relationship with her beloved fjord horse Odin - which she spent 14 years with, but died in 2018.

She said: "The book tells the story of a girl called Molly challenged by physical disability, who eventually learns about self-acceptance after meeting a horse named Odin.

"Molly wants to roller skate with friends and meets Odin - a fjord horse who longs to fit in with the rest of the herd and dreams of taking part in Pony Club games.

"Together they find fun, friendship and self-acceptance.

"I've always had a great love of horses, but I have mobility challenges and riding has always been challenging due to balance, pain and muscle weakness.

"Having struggled to find the right horse who was understanding of my needs, I was lucky enough to find Odin."

Ms Leahy described Odin as her soul horse, and she said his legacy continues to help others through the book, which was published in December.

She said: "With every copy sold, a donation is made to the RDA.

"My motivation to write the book was for Odin to continue helping people and to keep a little piece of him alive. I also wanted to have a positive focus during lockdown and it seemed a good way to give something back to the RDA, and I hope the book has spread a lot of joy during this grim time."

Ms Leahy decided to raise funds for The RDA to give something back to the charity after receiving support from RDA instructor Sarah Lloyd Harris, who helped her to begin a new chapter with her pony Rosie, which she has been caring for since May last year.

Going forward, the horse-riding author is due to attend the Olympia Horse Show 2021 in London, where she hopes to raise awareness of the charity's work.

For more information and to purchase a copy of the book visit www.jadeleahy.co.uk


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