Riders of the Year

Bill Clarkson’s trophy for the most improved rider of the year covers the

ABC’s of RDA: Achievement – Behaviour – Commitment.

2022 – Olya Pound

Olya, a 14-year-old rider, is a very deserving recipient of this award. She has Cerebral Palsy and rides pony Zoe once a week. Olya is assisted by two volunteers with a background in physiotherapy. 

Congratulations Olya on being brave and trying really hard at all times and in all activities …. with a smile.

Well done Olya from all the team at Tōtara Park Riding for the Disabled. 

2020 – Xavier Henderson

Xavier rides Dancer with Anna as his key volunteer.
He arrives with a positive,” can-do” attitude and starts with a clear “walk on Dancer!”. He tackles all the activities offered. At the end of his ride,
Xavier dismounts and then walks with Anna to his wheelchair.
He has almost doubled his walking distance from Dancer to his chair this year. 
His posture and balance have improved, even with Covid time-off through the year.
Xavier is a great inspiration to other riders
and we are proud of him as Rider of the Year 2020.

2019 – Sally Chalabi

Sally has ridden with us for 2-3 yrs and our volunteers really enjoy working with her.
She is always positive and grows many new skills while riding.
She rides Tobi and tells us what she enjoys on RDA days.
‘I like Tobi, she is brown and white. I meet my friends Carter and Grace and we play games. I can tell Tobi to go and I can use my reins. I really like trotting.’ Sally

‘Sally’s eyes always light up on Thursday mornings when we say to her ‘today you have your riding session’. She enjoys riding Tobi and meeting her every week.
We have noticed a lot of improvement in Sally’s core muscles since starting the riding lessons, as well as giving her more confidence in participating in physical and sport activities at school.
We thank the RDA team for all the support they have given Sally over the years.’ 
Thanks, Sarah

2018 – Kassidy Gallagher

Through 2017 Kassidy, for unknown reasons, personally struggled to apply the ABC formula established by Bill. So 2018 presented a challenge that Kassidy kept telling herself that “yes, I can do this.” I can achieve, I have the right behaviour and I have the commitment. With so much self-positive drive she overcome whatever it was and became 2018’s most improved rider. If that doesn’t prove the success of the ABC formula combined with hard work, then nothing does!

We congratulate Kassidy on her inspiring efforts and achievement.

2017 – Destiny Shelford-Green

Destiny received this award because her riding skills had improved tremendously over the year thanks to her “can do” attitude
She was always prepared to take on anything – including riding a much bigger horse, Lily.
She was always smiling and polite to all the volunteers – as well as always being first up to mount.
Well done Destiny, you, your supportive family and friends are an inspiration to us all!

My name is Destiny and I love going to horse riding. I started when I was little (2 and a half]. My favourite horse is Saint and I love him. I like 4 point kneeling on Saint and riding backwards. Riding is so good for my balance and my hips. I didn’t used to be able to sit up straight when I started and now I can and I am also learning to walk. I can’t wait for every Monday so I can go to riding. I wish I could do it every day because horse riding is fun.” Destiny

“RDA has been one of the best therapy’s my daughter has ever done. She has never once, not wanted to go. In fact she would go every day if she could. I am so grateful to everyone involved in RDA and all the time everyone volunteers, to make this possible. We are so lucky to have this available to our kids as the outcomes from doing this every week are invaluable. Thankyou from the bottom of my heart, to everyone involved.”  Marlene (Destiny’s mum)

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