Team Scoot Boots had the recent pleasure of meeting an impressive young man doing a two-year trail ride across Australia.
Born with cerebral palsy, 14-year-old Angel Copley is an inspiration to us all.
His Mum Sascha and step-dad Tom decided to take the ultimate ‘time-out’ on their busy lives in Victoria to focus on Angel’s health.
Therapy? Yes! But not the type you would first think of.
Angel’s therapy is astride his beloved Pippin, taking on up to 30 kms a day on the trails, camping under the stars.
And it’s not just a short trip of a few days or a couple of weeks.
Angel, Mum Sascha and Step-Dad Tom together with assistance dog Celeste and four horses Pippin, Rafferty, Phoenix and Bodhran are in for the long haul - 12 months or even up to two years.
“At our own pace, step by step as long as we are safe and happy,” is the family motto as they go across Tasmania to Dover, then back to Victoria and right up to Far North Queensland.
When they left for the trails just six weeks ago, Angel was walking on his toes with visible twisting of his spine.
But before that, when his doctor suggested horse riding would be good for him, Angel would have three assistants to support him on horseback.
We caught up with them this week in New Norfolk outside of Hobart in Tasmania and Angel was walking straight, flat on foot and able to bend and squat.
Clearly his mobility and motor skills have improved significantly and this, as his Mum stated, was the very reason why they were here.
“He is now riding only with a lead rope and can navigate trees and rocks, go up, down and through some very rough country,” said Sascha.
“We’ve already noticed his walking has improved, his core is stronger, his back is straighter.”
But Sascha is a woman more used to seeing miracles than most.
She ignored what doctors told her when Angel was born and fought to get him home and get him feeding and eating solids as a baby.
Now, 14 years later, he is doing what most kids dream of.
When we asked Angel about his experience he said; “The trails are like the hills we are moving through, high and low. I definitely want to plan another trail after this one if I am strong and capable enough.”
Apart from the scenery and camping, Angel enjoys riding through the townships and meeting people, making friends and cafe stops with lots of food they can’t have on the trails, like pies.
Any hint of a festival too, and his eyes light up.
Now with all four horses refitted with Scoot Boots, they are ready to embark on the section from New Norfolk to Dover.
We will follow their progress and Angel’s too as he spends his days on Pippin and nights by the campfire or in his tent reading his kindle.
He’s reading up on the Trail of Genghis Khan written by Tim Cope.
We all have dreams, but perhaps not as impressive as Angel.
* Angel is raising money for other children with disabilities through his partnership with the Riding for Disabled Association (RDA)in Australia.
All funds go directly to the RDA. Look for Angel’s Ride on www.rda.org.au.
If anyone in the Scoot Boot family can offer help such as a night stay, fresh supplies or cafe catch-up for support as they travel along the National Trail, please let us know. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org