Horse riding trumps kidney disease

Maddie Collins road to winning at a recent competition was not the easiest. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Maddie Collins road to winning at a recent competition was not the easiest. Photo: Geoff Sloan
West Melton teenager Maddie Collins is not letting her kidney disease get in the way of her passion for horse riding.

The 15-year-old and her pony Trig came first in the 16 years and under dressage division at the Stringer Trophy equestrian competition.

Her team, Carnmore Equestrian, also took home the overall trophy for their combined efforts.

Maddie’s mother, Sarah Manson-Collins, said watching Maddie win was a special moment.

“For me personally, watching Maddie ride after being in the hospital for a few days with shingles and knowing how uncomfortable and painful they’ve been, is incredible.

“I do feel very proud that she can really dig deep and think: ‘I’m not going to let this disease and this failing kidney define me, I am going to do what I want to do’,” she said.

A week out from the Stringers Trophy competition, Maddie developed shingles.

‘She gave me the fright of my life. Maddie woke me up in the middle of the night saying: ‘Mum I have a rash all over my body,’ and I thought oh my god she has measles.”

Maddie has no immunity to measles and cannot be vaccinated. It could be life-threatening if she caught the disease.

“I bolted out of bed and as soon as I saw it I knew it was shingles. We started a course of medication to get rid of it but unfortunately, it kept spreading and we did end up in the hospital having to get IV treatment to slow it down,” Mrs Manson-Collins said.

The pair spent the next two days in the hospital trying to get rid of the infection.

“Shingles make you tired, grumpy and sore so it was very tough.”

The infection cleared up in time and Maddie was able to compete in the competition.

“There were so many teams entered. We had really hoped we could take the trophy away but there were a lot of great riders out there. We are very pleased with the result.”

Mrs Manson-Collins said her daughter gets a lot of joy out of horse riding.

“There will be days at home where she will be really struggling with all the medication, all the hospital visits and the tests and I can take her riding and you just see the stress and the worry fall off of her.

“She is at one with her pony Trig, it’s just amazing to watch,”

Maddie has been riding for about four years now and her skills have begun to outgrow her 27-year-old pony.

“Trig will always be her forever pony but we are desperately looking for a younger dressage pony for her.”

Since being diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome, a kidney disease, in 2008, Maddie has received two different kidneys.

More than $150,000 has been raised for Maddie’s journey which has seen her travel both around the country and internationally in an attempt to find a kidney match.

In 2012, a kidney from her father was rejected by her body.

Maddie’s current kidney was donated in January last year and she is currently attempting to fight off infections in order to stop her body rejecting it.

 - by Devon Bolger