Mark Bulow and Bob McClay participate in the popular carriage driving program.
Mark Bulow and Bob McClay participate in the popular carriage driving program.

Riding for the Disabled need help

GYMPIE and District Riding for the Disabled urgently needs volunteers.

The organisation prides itself on jobs for everyone and full training is given to help with RDA programs.

No horse knowledge is needed and the jobs are interesting, varied and rewarding.

Trained volunteers and coaches provide a riding program on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Participants who are unable to ride are offered a place on the popular carriage driving program on Thursdays.

Coach Katy Ash said these activities were far from “just a pony ride”.

“For some this is the only physical activity they do all week,” she said.

“For many it is a method to increase confidence and improve wellbeing, fine motor skills, language and working with others.

“Their bond with their horse or pony improves their social interaction, as well as being a calming influence on children and adults with emotional problems.

“Just the action of sitting on a walking horse mimics the action of walking, so the individual is building up core and muscle strength while having fun.”

Riding for the Disabled is a worldwide voluntary organisation with programs provided by dedicated trained volunteers from all walks of life.

Individually incorporated, there are many and varied opportunities to become involved, trained and go as far as you wish with RDA.

“We rely on the support and goodwill of local businesses and the community to provide our service,” Katy said.

“We are based down at Long Flat, where we keep 10 horses and ponies, all maintained by volunteers.

“We do a fantastic job but need more community support. Just keeping one of our horses costs $2000 per year and we don’t receive any government funding, so it’s always all hands to the deck on the fundraising wagon.

“Our goal is to have every one of our equine friends sponsored by local businesses.

“The sponsors could really get involved if they wanted and visit ‘their’ horse during a lesson, enjoy a morning tea on-site and watch a class so they could see exactly where their money was going,” Katy said.

“We urgently need more volunteers to help us continue.”

Training mornings will be held on Wednesday, July 14 and Saturday, July 17 from 9am.

If you are interested in assisting, leave your details on the centre phone (0407 161 246) and your call will be returned.

It is an opportunity to learn new skills, make new friends and make a difference.

Contact president Nicole Torrens 0419 874 805 or coach Katy Ash 0410 553 202 for more information.

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