Telegraph Travel Feature – Riding Holiday with Special Needs

By |2019-09-27T11:25:34+00:00February 15th, 2019|

Careful planning let my sister achieve her dream' – a siblings-only holiday horse riding in Dartmoor In a rare moment of peace, my sister Tamsin and I sat side-by-side on our horses at the top of North Hessary Tor. It was early morning. The curling Dartmoor mist had receded to the valleys and the rolling hills beckoned with tufty grasses and mysterious megalithic monuments. Everything was still. One of the horses harrumphed and a ground nesting bird chirped as it took sudden flight. Tamsin is autistic so travelling hasn’t always been easy; she doesn’t cope very well with change and gets anxious in unfamiliar places. I wasn’t sure if I could pull off a holiday on our own. Those with close relatives on the spectrum will know the stomach-churning struggle: tantrums under restaurant tables, arguments over wearing suitable clothes, refusing to get off the floor of a plane aisle – refusing to get on the plane at all (New Zealand, 2011). And if it’s not the constant stares and the terrible arguments we’ve had with strangers who don’t understand that Tamsin doesn’t have an “indoor voice” (especially because they see she’s a 24-year-old adult), it’s the feeling of constantly needing to apologise. Next usually comes the gut-wrenching guilt after an unfair snap at her to – for goodness sake – shut up and get on with it. As frustrating as it’s been, the laughs outweigh the tears. At times she’s had my 21-year-old brother and me in such uncontrollable states of laughter that my parents have publicly told us off for behaving badly (most recently in Puglia, 2018. I was 28.) In fact, Puglia is very close to our hearts. My parents tackled the holiday [...]