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    Horsham Riding for the Disabled are returning after nearly a year due to COVID-19. Volunteers, from left, Tia-Rose Turner, Venie Jolley, Maree Liston, Julie Monaghan, Liz Voigt, and back, Alison Silcock, Marion McKenzie and Jan Croser.
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    GIVING BACK: Horsham Riding for the Disabled volunteers, from left, Alison Silcock, Marion McKenzie and Jan Croser saddle up after almost a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Four decades of community service at Riding for the Disabled

A voluntary community group with a focus on providing horse riding opportunities for people living with a disability will celebrate its 40th year in July.

Horsham Riding for the Disabled, RDA, participants will make a return to horseback this month after a long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The program has provided people with a disability an opportunity to develop skills in pathways including horse riding, carriage driving and vaulting, experience a sense of achievement and improve their quality of life since 1981. 

Horsham RDA president Jan Croser has been part of the organisation since its inception. 

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She said many fundraising efforts and hard work from volunteers contributed to the ongoing success of the group.  

“There was a need in the community and I think that’s why it is a success, because it has been driven by the community and people can see the advantages,” she said. 

“If you are a person in a wheelchair and all of a sudden we put you on a horse, it provides this amazing opportunity you can’t get in other sports.” 

Mrs Croser said while the program focused on helping children and adults with special needs, it was also an enriching process for its volunteers.

“While our main business is giving riders an equine opportunity, nearly every volunteer gets involved because they love the horses, socialising and to see the riders achieve things they otherwise couldn’t achieve,” she said. 

Mrs Croser said the group made the decision to cancel carriage driving and vaulting during the first term in 2021 due to COVID-19 requirements around social distancing.

“We are hoping to get back to running as we normally would, but we’re pretty convinced we will continue operating in this COVID-normal way for the foreseeable future.” 

– Dylan De Jong

The entire February 17, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!