Training enables more RDA places in Port Lincoln

The situation

Riding for the Disabled (RDA) centres provide the opportunity for severely disabled people to ride and enjoy all the activities connected with horse riding, which is a unique form of exercise and rehabilitation. The complex movement of the horse helps to improve coordination, balance, muscular development and fitness.

Volunteers (along with the horses) are critical to the program, as three people are required for each severely disabled rider: one to lead the horse, one to keep the rider on the horse, and one coaching the rider. All volunteers must undertake regular training, which is conducted some six hours drive (each way) from Port Lincoln. Like many regional organisations, the Port Lincoln RDA centre faced logistical and financial challenges in getting its volunteers safely to and from these State training workshops.

The Association also had only one accredited coach, which meant classes had to be cancelled if she was not available due to illness or unforseen circumstances. Therefore, getting more people accredited was critical to the group being able to meet increasing demand for the RDA program.

The response

Knowing the challenges, the local ANZ branch highlighted the annual ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant program, which is administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal, to Port Lincoln RDA’s Committee. Their application was successful and the grant funded training for its volunteers, and assisted in organisational succession planning to keep the centre accredited.

The outcome

The knowledge those who attended the training are now passing on to other volunteers at RDA Port Lincoln has been invaluable, and three volunteers have expressed an interest in signing up to become trainee coaches.

The availability of dedicated training funds for volunteers has inspired them to want to be trained to the highest standards to benefit the local Lower Eyre Peninsula and Port Lincoln disabled children and young adults who participate in their program, and/or others who are on the waiting list awaiting a place in the highly beneficial RDA program.

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