A TEENAGER who is recovering from major surgery is determined not to let it stand in the way of his Paralympic dreams.

Michael Murphy, 14, from Mill Hill, lives with rare condition, Dejerine-Sottas, which causes severe muscle weakness and loss of sensation in his limbs.

It was during treatment for this condition nine years ago that he was introduced to horse riding.

With the help of Elstree-based Penniwell’s Riding Centre for the Disabled, in Edgwarebury Lane, Michael has become one of the most promising paralympic prospects in the UK.

Four weeks ago he underwent an agonising five-and-a-half hour surgery to straighten his back and is now virtually housebound until his spine fuses, which may take until December.

“I want to get back on a horse so badly,” he said.

The operation has seen Michael grow an extra 3.5inches, and despite the pain he still experiences in the evenings, says “it’s amazing”.

“I don’t have to try – I’m relaxed but I’m sitting up straight.”

“It will change the way I do things on a horse because the way I sat when my back was curved was twisting my hips and putting pressure on other parts of my body.”

The operation comes just three months after Michael became the youngest ever winner of a senior Para competition in UK, winning an International dressage event.

“It was the most amazing experience ever; I really wasn’t expecting to win the whole thing,” he said.

The International competition was Michael’s first senior event, and saw him win against Canadians who will ride in the 2012 Paralympic Games.

“My dream is to go to the Paralympics and the World Championships,” he said.

With Penniwells RDA Centre instructor Sarah Healing as coach, Michael is determined to be in Rio for the Paralympic Games in 2016.

Once recovered from surgery, he will train up to six days a week at the centre’s yard in Elstree.

Sarah said: “He’s an inspiration for other riders coming in, showing them what you can do and what’s out there.”

Micheal says when he started riding for therapy he needed a helper either side of the horse to hold him on.

“Riding has made a massive difference to my life.”