Horse enthusiasts from Riding for the Disabled Association’s (RDA) Manning-Great Lakes branch hopped out of their saddles to enjoy a special retreat for participants and their families in early February.
The event was made possible by three local clubs, Club Forster, Forster Bowling Club and the Sporties Tuncurry, after each donated $1000 to bring to life what was previously just a dream for the RDA team.
“The money allowed us to invite families along as well as the riders,” RDA riding coach, Maureen Turner said.
“We hold lessons on different days of the week, so the camp was a fantastic chance for riders from different days to meet each other, relax and have some fun, without worrying about the financial burden.”
The retreat was held at the Darawank Discovery Park, which put on special rates for the riders, and provided pedal cars and paddle boards for a fun alternative to horse riding.
“It was so lovely for the riders to get a chance to try a different sort of exercise,” Maureen said.
“We had to just about drag them off the pedal cars when it got dark at night, they were just having such a great time.”
With 59 regular riders, family members and volunteers attending the camp, the weekend provided a great chance for building relationships and enjoying the great outdoors.
Maureen said she really enjoyed the chance to get to know the families and carers of her regular riders.
“I’m usually in the training ring with the riders the whole time, so I don’t get a lot of chances to chat with the families,” she said.
“The event was just a wonderful get together, everyone had so much fun and we hope to do it more often.
“We really want to thank the clubs that donated money for this to become possible, it was such a special thing for us and we really appreciate the work everyone put in to make it a reality.”
RDA is a charity that provides horse related activities to enrich the lives of people with disabilities.
The local RDA branch is open for horse riding from 9-5 on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.
There is also an opportunity for carriage driving on the third Saturday of each month from 9am to noon.
The group is always looking for new volunteers to get involved.
Roles include anything from being a leader or side walker, helping with carriage driving, ground maintenance, fundraising, financial support or working with the horses.
To get involved with the RDA, or for more information on how you can help, call 6553 6467.