Public meeting to establish Riding for the Disabled

November 1, 2010

On August 30, a meeting was held in Warialda to gauge support for establishing a Riding for the Disabled (RDA) in the Gwydir Shire. The meeting was well supported with an unanimous decision to start an RDA centre. The next step is to hold a Public Meeting.

Anyone interested in the RDA programs, including volunteers, potential riders and their carers, are asked to attend the Public Meeting on Sunday November 7 at 1pm in the Warialda Visitor Information Centre.

An RDANSW Board representative, Bev Amery, will travel to Warialda to chair the meeting, to explain more about RDA and to answer any questions, as well as conduct an inspection of the proposed riding areas.

Photo: Rhys Daley from Gravesend, one of the children who will benefit from an RDA centre in his region.

It is suggested that the new centre initially operate from the Warialda showground. However, it is envisaged that an area will also be developed at the Warialda High School to encourage and facilitate volunteering from the students.

Students have shown an interest in enrolling in the nationally accredited Equine Coach course available through RDANSW which is also available to other interested volunteers. In addition, it is proposed that the school offer other equine related courses at the High School as part of the Gwydir Learning Region program.

RDA Centre activities are available to all community members with a disability. Horse riding offers many benefits to those with physical disabilities, including increased core strength, improved balance, improved self esteem, a sense of belonging, and a feeling of self worth.

Similarly, Equine Facilitated Mental Health (EFMH) programs are offered at RDA centres to help people with mental health difficulties. These programs have had some very positive results. Horses are used as facilitators during these programs and riding does not generally take place.

RDA centres are run wholly by volunteers and are self-funded through fund raising activities and grants. Volunteers are crucial to ensuring the success of the centre. Volunteering with RDA can be very rewarding, just knowing that you can make a difference in the lives of others in the community.

For further information please contact the RDANSW North West Regional Representative Louise Campbell on 0488 242 242 or email: