Meet Ruby – and Gypsy. Earlier this year, Ruby won NZ Riding for the Disabled Association (NZRDA) Rider of the Year.
Wow. Super Ruby should be feeling super awesome, right? Wrong.
It's ages since since 9 year old Ruby saw her specially trained RDA therapy horse Gypsy. It's even longer since Ruby got to work out with Gypsy, to brush her, to walk her out, to ride her out. It feels soooooo long since Ruby got to learn with Gypsy, to grow in confidence, and to get strong.
That's because, right now, little Ruby is back on our big waiting list.
Making people wait is awful. We hate it so much – almost as much as riders like Ruby really hate missing out.
Ruby wants to improve her horse knowledge and skills, get stronger, and learn to solve problems
Thanks to the kind support of people like you, riders like Ruby can enjoy regular RDA therapy sessions at any one of our 55 local venues across New Zealand.
RDA riders face all sorts of challenges (physical, intellectual, emotional and social). Challenges such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, learning difficulties, hearing and visual impairments, Multiple sclerosis, Spina bifida, and paraplegia or quadraplegia (to name a few). Many RDA riders live with more than one disability.
Ruby has decreased motor tone and motor strength. Her mum Sally says Ruby struggles with her co-ordination, her balance and her strength.
"Being able to keep up with other kids her age is a massive challenge for Ruby."
RDA is both fun AND hard work - it's a bit like 'physiotherapy on a horse'
At RDA, riders like Ruby set goals and work hard to achieve them. They're learning all the time. Riding also helps build up Ruby's core strength. Sally says, at her first sessions, Ruby got tired and she kept slipping sideways. But each time Ruby got stronger. Strong enough to sit up straight. Not just for a bit but for the whole session. Sally says Ruby then got even stronger still. Strong enough to kneel – and then to stand up – on Gypsy.
"RDA is really great for Ruby's self-esteem. She improves so much and does so well. It's also something she can tell the other kids about at school."
Ruby says "My friends at school think I'm very cool"
Your generous gift provides each rider like Ruby with their own expert RDA support team. A trained team of coaches and volunteers. A trained therapy horse. Trained to assist and care for each RDA rider, and to keep them safe and sound.
Each rider pays what they can towards RDA. But they can't afford to cover it all. Your generous gift can help reach more RDA riders. More kids like Ruby.
Otherwise, we have to stand riders down. Make kids like Ruby wait. It's heart-breaking. Other people forge ahead. While kids like Ruby are on the side-lines. Longing to join in, stay strong, get even stronger.
Ruby hugs her muscles and tells her mum Sally "I got way stronger since I started RDA"
Your generous gift will help riders like Ruby to get back in the saddle – and stay there longer. For as long as she needs, to get strong, to stay strong. To forge ahead not just at RDA but to use her RDA skills to also forge ahead in other areas of her life.
Click here to watch a short video of Ruby getting "way stronger".
Here's to helping Ruby and more RDA riders just like her!
Please note: If you are in the Auckland region, you may be contacted by an unrelated charity or call centre seeking to raise funds for a "Kids Big Day Out". This is an annual event held each March for children with special needs and for those who face other challenges. They are not authorised to use the RDA or Riding for the Disabled name or brand to raise funds for this or any other event.
They may donate some post-event 'left-over' funds to RDA. But this amount (if any) is discretionary and may not necessarily correlate to the total amount of public donations raised in our name.
However, please know that when you donate directly to NZRDA, you can be absolutely sure that 100% of your support will go towards providing ongoing, goal-based therapeutic activities at each one of our 55 affiliated RDA venues nationwide, using our expertly trained RDA coaches, volunteers and horses. This includes each of our 7 affiliated RDA venues in Auckland.
Thank you for your support.