Riding into better health

Margaret Wilson, Krista Rasmussen, Morgan, Wyn Knighton and Jamie Guy.
Margaret Wilson, Krista Rasmussen, Morgan, Wyn Knighton and Jamie Guy.

DISABLED and able-bodied riders on the Gemfields have something to get excited about, as Riding for the Disabled is opening at Sapphire.

Coach and president Margaret Wilson said the riding school was looking for people of all abilities to attend.

"For our disabled riders it has been proven that the therapeutic movement of the horse is very beneficial," Margaret said. "One small achievement means so much for our special riders."

The classes will be held every Saturday and one other day each week.

"The feedback I have had so far is massive," Margaret said. "I've also had interest from schools."

During lessons, riders will play games, take part in trail riding and simply enjoy being on a horse.

Riders will have a leader with the horse and two side walkers for assistance if necessary. All horses and equipment will be provided.

The centre is hoping to have complete wheelchair access later next year, but Margaret said in the meantime there was "plenty of groundwork and money to be made".

"There was a Riding for the Disabled centre formed in Emerald and together we hope to provide a great service to both disabled and able bodied riding in the Central Highlands," she said.

Riders both able and disabled will pay a rider registration fee per year of $70, which gives full insurance to the rider, horse and volunteer. Disabled riders must have a medical certificate to say they can ride.

Each ride lasts up to an hour and costs $10 per session for disabled riders and $20 for able bodied riders.

"Riding for the Disabled is run in this area solely by volunteers," Margaret said. "We are a worldwide not-for-profit organisation relying on donations and fundraising."

Gemfields Riding for the Disabled is also looking for volunteers and horses of a manageable level. For more information contact Margaret Wilson on 0413 152 254.

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