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A Tribute to Lesley Furnell

Lesley had been volunteering with the RDA for almost 35 years. Throughout her years Lesley performed many roles including Hippotherapist, Regional Physiotherapist, Group Chair of STRC, Participant Coordinator of STRC, Coach, and Coach Developer, and in 2020 she received the RDA Presidents Award from HRH Princess Anne for her work with the organisation.

During her time with the RDA, Lesley has helped countless participants, as well as being a friend and mentor to the volunteers that worked alongside her in all of the groups that she had been affiliated with over the years. Words really can’t describe the impact that she had on the lives of so many.

Lesley was always an advocate of the therapeutic power of horses, whether that be the physical or emotional benefits that they provide, and she spearheaded us as a group to introduce equine facilitated ground sessions to the services that we provide. Lesley even had two of her own horses working for the RDA, Harry, who is still with us at Shiresmill, and Jura, who will have been waiting at the rainbow bridge to meet her.

All of us at Shiresmill will miss her guidance, knowledge (both human and equine), determination, and her subtle ability to talk people into doing things.

"I thoroughly enjoy the lovely enabling atmosphere at RDA sessions and am still often surprised by the amazing things that happen when a horse and human meet. As a retired physiotherapist I feel it is a movement session that is hard to replicate by other more traditional methods.

 I love seeing the joy on a participant’s face when he or she take control of the pony whether that be riding or in a groundwork session.  It is amazing. I hope to encourage many more therapists to become involved."  Lesley Furnell.


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