The Gunnedah branch of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) can continue its good work thanks to support from the community.
For the third year, Gunnedah Shire Council will subsidise the Crown License Fee for the RDA to use the Gunnedah Showground.
At the recent ordinary council meeting, councillors resolved to fully subsidise the annual $511 fee for the 2018/2019 year. The decision came after RDA requested that the council waive the fee.
“It’s a great organisation and should be supported,” councillor Colleen Fuller said at the meeting.
The RDA has also received support from another quarter, with the Parkview Hotel making a donation.
Publican Greg Thomas recently presented RDA president Max Small with the proceeds of the hotel’s Melbourne Cup raffle, which came to more than $250.
RDA volunteer Simon Lister said the “generous donation will help us feed our horses through this dry time”.
Riding for the Disabled is a worldwide movement which relies on volunteers to help provide horse-riding and associated activities for people with disabilities.
The Gunnedah branch was formed in 1986, when local community health nurse, Ruth Pope, and another resident, Barbara Lightfoot, saw a need for this type of activity for disabled children and adults.
It’s a great organisation and should be supported.- Cr Colleen Fuller
A public meeting was called and local residents volunteered the services of reliable horses, which were thoroughly tested for their ability to cope with a disabled rider. The group became accredited in 1988.
The group started with six riders and two horses and it was a great success, even though most of the committee members had little experience with disabilities.
In 1990, the Gunnedah Lions Club built a storage shed for the group and Brian Henderson constructed a ramp for the wheelchairs, which makes mounting the horses much easier, while Bert Wicks and Bob Welsh built a sulky for those who can’t stay on a horse.
Riding gives enormous pleasure to participants as they develop a relationship with their horse and the flow-on benefits include improved co-ordination, balance, muscle development and fitness.
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