Jake benefits from his involvement with Riding for the Disabled.
Jake benefits from his involvement with Riding for the Disabled.

Riding group needs leg-up

After years providing a therapeutic outlet for less able residents on the Sunshine Coast, community group Riding for the Disabled needs a leg-up of their own.

And that “leg-up” is in the order of $1 million.

Through the gentle nature of the noble steed, RDA has been assisting people in the Noosa region, particularly children with disabilities, to get the exercise required in their course of therapy.

The group, with a 30-year-plus history on the Coast, has been leasing a property at Yandina but the owner has put it up for sale and now 100 riders, eight horses and about 60 volunteers have to find a new home before March next year.

RDA coach Sarah Shaw said it was a difficult situation but they were trying to stay positive.

“If 100,000 people donated $10, and we’d spend more than that on Christmas wrapping paper, we’d have $1 million,” she said.

Considering that it’s on the market, they’d like to buy the property they’re already on.

Sarah said she believed the group provided an essential service for children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, accidental injury, impairments such as autism, developmental delay and emotional disturbances.

“The motion of the horse mimics your walking action and you’re exercising every muscle in your body,” she said.

“It’s also the interaction with the animal, the hugging and touching while they’re sitting on the horse.”

Twenty-year-old Luke is a case in point.

He was involved in a car accident at 12 years of age and sustained an enormous acquired brain injury.

Riding forms an essential part of his therapy and since he started with RDA his core strength has improved so dramatically he is now better able to support his own weight, meaning that his posture while sitting is straighter and he is able to walk short distances with minimal assistance.

Now he can carry his saddle from the horse to the tack room – something that pre-riding would have been impossible for him.

For information, go to www. sunshinecoastrda.com.au, or call Sarah on 5447 5175 or 0407 694 078.


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