Jessica and Sparkle

My name is Jessica and I was born with Muscular Dystrophy.

I started riding at RDA Tall Timbers when I was 4 years old. I have been riding at the Ryde centre for 5 years.

I look forward to my riding days because I love the horses, especially Sparkle. A few years ago I started learning dressage and it is a challenge for me because I have to think about which way to go. After the class I am very tired because I am using my muscles, which is good therapy. I like learning about how to look after the horses. We learn about all of the gear and how to groom the horses.

I really like it when Kaye Hannan comes to visit the centre. She has two beautiful horses called Chubby & Wally. It is great to see her ride and see what dressage is all about.

A big thank you to my coaches, Louise & Sara and all of the volunteers that help us. I have learnt a lot at RDA.


Amber and Calvin

My name is Amber and I was born with dyspraxia, a disability that effects my muscle tone and speech.

I have been riding since was 3 years old and it is my passion. I love riding horses because it is something that I can do well. Many of my ancestors were horseman, farriers and blacksmiths. Riding is in my blood and I felt so natural from the first time I sat in a saddle.

I have been riding at the Ryde Centre since late 2012. I volunteer at the centre and also join the dressage class with Louise and Sara as my coaches. I enjoy volunteering and help with feeding, mucking out the stables, grooming, learning how to saddle my horse, etc. I have made many friends at the RDA and really enjoy the social interaction with the other volunteers.

In the future I would love to go to the Para-Olympics and represent Australia. This is my dream and goal. I would like to thank the private benefactors who loan the horses to us. The RDA is a great support network for people like myself.


Amy and Kade

This is a picture of me on Kade. He is one of the horses at the Ryde Centre of Riding for the Disabled (NSW). He and I have been a ‘team’ for 2 years now, he is a great horse, really placid and patient while the volunteers get me on his back at the beginning of my weekly lesson. I have Spina Bifida, which means I have limited mobility in my legs among other things. I need to be lifted onto Kade from the mounting platform and then my legs need to be slowly moved into position – I have very tight adductor (hip) muscles so this is painful for me, but as they say ‘no pain, no gain’. Each rider and horse are paired up specifically with the rider’s needs in mind. Kade is very calm and prefers to be standing still than moving fast, which suits me and the volunteers who help me while I ride. Riding him each week has helped me with stretching my muscles and also with my balance and co-ordination. I can roll over in bed much easier now after his help to stretch my hip muscles. Kade and I are a good team – we both have four ‘legs’ (I walk with crutches) and we both manage to trip on flat ground! We do different activities throughout the lesson, our favourite is called ‘Stop-Go’ – there is a person standing in front of the horses holding a sign that has ‘Stop’ written on one side and ‘Go’ written on the other, and we all get our horses to follow them down the arena stopping when they turn the sign to the Stop (sometimes Kade takes a few extra steps, but now I know how to make him go back if he cheats). At the end of each lesson the volunteer who leads Kade during my lesson helps me feed him lots of carrots – this has meant I have grown more comfortable around him and got to know him a bit better. He used to give me a fright if he did something I didn’t expect, but now I know him so know what to expect and know that I am perfectly safe on him. He really is just like a giant puppy dog.


    Founded: 1972 by the late Pearl Batchelor OAM |  Patron: His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret'd) , Governor of NSW

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