Dream ride for Christopher

Christopher Bandeen on his horse with, left, Stephen Smith, and Hawick Cornet Ross Gibson
Christopher Bandeen on his horse with, left, Stephen Smith, and Hawick Cornet Ross Gibson

Hawick man Christopher Bandeen, who has celebral palsy, achieved one of his dreams at the weekend, taking part in the Mosspaul rideout.

The 27-year-old has been riding for six years through Riding for the Disabled at Ian Stark’s equestrian centre, near Selkirk, and always wanted to join in with one of the Hawick Common Ridings.

Assisting Christopher for the past eight years has been Stephen Smith of Penumbra Borders Supported Living Services, whose colleague first suggested Christopher could take up riding.

Stephen said: “Christopher has become a competent rider, – able to walk, trot and canter on a horse.

“He has also gained several certificates of competence, taken part in residential RDA courses in Yorkshire, and completed a riding project which won him an award in 2013, and is now undertaking a second award project through RDA.”

The Hawick Common Riding Committee assessed Christopher’s riding ability before agreeing to him taking part in the closing part of the rideout, as the Cornet and followers rode into the town.

Andrew Hermiston from the riding centre accompanied Christopher on the ride in from Balcary House.

Christopher told The Southern: “It has been a dream all my life to take part in a rideout, so it was a great experience.

“I have been riding for six years now and want to try and get a job working with horses, and I hope to be able to take part in some of the Mosspaul rideout again next year.”

Stephen added: “It is a great achievement for Christopher to take part, and something he will never forget.

“All the Hawick Common Riding folk were very kind and considerate to Chris, for which they deserve much credit.”

Cornet Ross Gibson took time out to chat to Christopher during the rideout.