by Kathleen de Leon
It warms my heart when I visit a place that goes above and beyond in providing services to the community and have the potential to change lives for the better. The Crowson Park Riding for Disabled Association (RDA) is one of those places.
The Crowson Park RDA in Munruben operates on land provided by Professor Elizabeth Kendell who completed a study at Griffith University on vulnerable and at-risk youth. As with a lot of community services, they do not receive government funding and apply for grants and fundraise throughout the year. The RDA is totally reliant on volunteers and the kindness of others.
The RDA has rides/tracks that are created for various disabilities such as Autism. Horses take their riders through sensory ribbons and noodles to learn about texture. Games are also played to improve fine motor skills or life skills such as shopping on horseback or learning letters and numbers. Riders also use adaptive equipment such as bar reins, depending on the rider’s capability.
Horses are all donated and are usually aged geldings that can work for a few more years. Once the horses reach their time of retirement, the horses are offered back to their owners.
Trish Chellingworth, a volunteer of 10 years, says that coaches help the riders work to their strengths, and if riders can do some of the tasks on their own, they are encouraged to do so.
While I was visiting RDA, I witnessed Ben Jeffrey receive an award ribbon for winning 1st place in the Riding Disability Association Australia State Championships! Well done Ben!
If you are able to volunteer or have a horse that could be utilised by RDA, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org