Brave Toftwood girl’s horse riding success

Eleven-year-old Georgia Lyons has only been riding for 18 months and is already notching up an impressive haul of rosettes.

But her achievement is all the more remarkable because she suffers from cerebal palsy.

From a holiday pony ride she has taken to the sport of dressage like a natural and with her riding school, the West Norfolk Riding for the Disabled Association at the Magpie Centre near Downham Market, she has started competing at regional and national levels.

Georgia, who lives with her family in Toftwood, near Dereham, took part in the regional qualifiers for the RDA National Championships on Sunday and came second in the 1a class, 1st junior against young people from all over East Anglia.

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She will now head off to Hartpury College in Gloucester in July for the national finals.

Her father Michael Lyons, a professional photographer, said his daughter was 'so excited, fit to burst' at her achievement.

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'It is great because this is her thing,' he said. 'None of her friends go horse-riding and they can do so many things that she can't do. This is something she can do and she loves it.

'Georgia was born at 27 weeks weighing 1lb 4oz and we were told by Great Ormond Street Hospital that she wasn't going to make it. She was on life support and they discussed turning it off. But we stuck with it and we are so proud of her today enjoying life.'

Georgia also came fourth in the WNRDA Dressage 2010/2011 winter league.

For dressage competitions she rides piebald mare Daisy. Class 1a is for the most disabled riders who have limited use of all four limbs so she is on a lead rein but has to negotiate the course herself with a caller giving the instructions.

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