Chris Rogers not only has a love for horses, but for coaching people to perform acrobatics on them!
“It’s basically gymnastics and dance on horseback” explains Chris, head coach at Talygarn Vaulters.
The Equestrian club has been running for six years, and working with disabled riders for the last three.
“Watching the children make huge personal improvements is why I do it” says Chris. “When they first arrive, many of them can’t get on the horses, but then you see their confidence grow.”
Thanks to Chris’ patience, dedication and hard work, able-bodied and disabled children are keeping active, and even competing in the sport.
In fact, she has helped train three international vaulters and a number of Welsh Champions within the group.
“No matter whether the achievements are big or small, it’s about progress – and for each child that is really important” says the South Walian coach.
Chris runs three groups, including a session with the local Special Education Needs (SEN) school.
She is pro-active in promoting club membership. She takes her role seriously and is always striving to improve her knowledge and training in disability issues and more generally.
And her efforts are not confined to coaching, she is often busy with club administration, kit washing and general maintenance of the grounds.
“I love the whole thing” she says. “I’ve always been involved with horses and especially love the creative side, from costumes and music to themes and routines.”
Chris dedicates her days, evenings and weekends to the club – and gets a huge amount of enjoyment from it.
She says that horse vaulting can make you fitter, stronger and improve core strength and balance.
“It is great to see the children starting to think of their own ideas of what they’d like to perform – my job is to encourage them” she adds.
She recommends coaching in sport to everyone.
“If you’ve got a love for something, do it. It is so worthwhile.”