Welcome to our Website Find out more

Skip navigation

In memory of Lesley Furnell


A special message from Heather Falconer about this incredible lady.

With great sadness we share news of the recent death of our much loved friend and colleague Lesley Furnell. Lesley passed away on the 13th September following a brief illness.

Lesley’s funeral service will be held on Thursday 5th of October at 2pm, at Stirlingshire Crematorium.

Lesley was an active member of ACPEA for many years; she has known the association through all of its various incarnations. She served on the executive committee with a special interest in forging international links.

Lesley lived in beautiful Glendevon in Scotland, latterly working as a specialist physiotherapist with MS patients. However, her great love was using equines for therapy with children and adults, which she did through her hippotherapy practices at Glasgow RDA and Shiresmill RDA in Dunfermline.

Lesley was very active within the RDA, especially in Scotland where she served as Regional Physiotherapist for Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders. She dedicated a huge amount of time to training sessions and conferences, locally and nationally. She volunteered with the Drum RDA in Edinburgh and with her own group, Shiresmill, and regularly visited other groups in need of her expertise right across Scotland. Even after Lesley retired from physiotherapy, she continued her involvement as an RDA instructor and as chair of Shiresmill RDA group.

Lesley was a very special lady. She was passionate about hippotherapy. She was passionate about horses. She was passionate about learning, and even more about passing on what she learnt. She attended more courses, and had more textbooks than anyone I’ve ever met. She brought us Centred Riding from Sally Swift in the USA. In the last few years she had been studying Equine Facilitated Learning. I loved Lesley from the day I met her. She was the most amazing mentor who adopted me right at the start of my hippotherapy career, and continued to teach me for more than 15 years.

To those of us in Scotland, Lesley was our friend, our teacher, and often our partner in mischief!  She may not have acknowledged it but she has influenced every hippotherapist in Scotland. Even those who have never met her will have been taught by someone who learned from Lesley. As Fiona says, “She always seemed unstoppable, she had such energy and enthusiasm; it was quite catching.” So many more patients have been affected by her learning and sharing than she ever knew. I personally know hundreds of children in Scotland and here in Ecuador who have benefited from what she taught me!

Lesley leaves behind her beloved husband Jamie, 2 daughters, 4 grandchildren and her highland pony, Harry.

In loving memory of a very special lady.

We will never forget you, Heather

Hippotherapy four point kneeling rear facing

Here's a lovely photo of one of Lesley’s boys pointing right back at her! (she is just out of shot)