New opportunities on track for people with a disability

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VIDEO: A new horse-riding centre has opened as part of a program that gives people with a disability the opportunity to ride horses.

The Riding for the Disabled Association’s (RDA) new equestrian centre at Wantirna South has been supported through the Victorian Government’s Pick My Project initiative and will meet the growing demands for the specialist program in the area.

In addition to significant support through Pick My Project, the community has also contributed to the facility through a range of fundraising initiatives.

The state-of-the-art centre is a place for participants and volunteers to learn new skills, keep active and build friendships.

The RDA’s equestrian program develops participants’ riding skills while they enjoy the freedom and movement of riding a horse. It can also improve their core strength, balance, posture and coordination.

The centre, which has been years in the making, will make a significant difference to the lives of RDA’s riders, according to RDA Knox President Kathryn Holden.

“It’s a social benefit, they come out, they’re part of a program, part of a community,” she said.

She said it’s also therapeutic for the riders.

“Be it whether they’re autistic or whether they’ve got a physical disability, there’s benefits in riding that’s provided to them.”

RDA rider Abigail Vidler was born without forearms and has been involved in the program since she was two-years-old.

She said developments like these make her optimistic about future riding opportunities for other people with disabilities and for her own dream of riding in the 2024 and 2028 Paralympics.

“With pathways from RDA, this dream has now become a goal,” said Abigail.

“It’s a great bunch of people that you’re always surrounded with – [it] made me such a confident young person.”

There will be more works at the RDA Knox centre throughout this year, including the development of a sensory trail and sensory gardens.

The $30 million Pick My Project initiative put decision-making in the hands of Victorians, allowing them to vote for the projects that matter most.

The new Riding for the Disabled centre is one of more than 230 Pick My Project initiatives supported across the state. In the Eastern Metropolitan Region, 26,000 people voted for their favourite projects.