Ruby Knightbridge 5

Young Volunteer of the Year 2019

Published: 02/08/2019

Who always has a smile, has worked hard on her qualifications and is loved by the riders?

It’s our Young Volunteer of the Year 2019 – Ruby Knightbridge!

Ruby Knightbridge 3

We talked to one of our coaches at West Coast RDA about Ruby and here is what they had to say.

“Ruby always has a smile, is happy to work hard, and is a real favourite with many of our riders. She has a strong sense of justice, and of what is right and wrong. Ruby has good self-esteem and confidence. Her presentation is consistently high – always looking smart, but very workmanlike at the same time. When I first knew Ruby she would give up and refuse to persevere when things got tough or scary. She now shows great resilience.

Ruby is only 16 years old but she has contributed a huge amount to West Coast RDA in 2018. Most weeks she has been there for all four days we were operating. Horse-care tasks are always carried out reliably and thoroughly, but I believe where Ruby really shines is in her interaction with our riders. She is patient, respectful and a clear communicator. She understands where the rider is at, and how much they can be encouraged to achieve, and when to allow them to set the pace. Many of us – volunteers, coaches, parents, and teachers – have been blown away by how much she has achieved with some challenging riders.

She is astute in her recognition of people’s abilities and challenges. And she is very articulate in any discussion about how best to progress riders and horses.

In 2017, Ruby completed the Equine Skills Certificate, Level 3. She was an absolute pleasure to have as part of the group doing this course. In 2018 she completed an Equine Massage course. Her goal for 2019 is to complete the Assistant Coach qualification.

During the days when West Coast RDA is not operating Ruby takes of the care of one of the horses. Buzz has become her firm favourite, and she has successfully competed on him in showing, jumping and competitive trail riding. Ruby’s riding is now of a standard that she can improve the “way of going” of our horses (how the horses move forward), and they all benefit from a session with her. We have every confidence that she will always do her best for any horse she is looking after. Ruby can be relied on to notice small things – a scratch on a horse, a risen clench, a loose stitch. She tells whoever is responsible, and will check to ensure something is done about it!

Ruby’s awareness of health and safety issues is excellent. Many is the time I have been about to alert someone to a potential hazard (eg a bike coming down the hill by the arena, or a digger where there isn’t usually one…) and I will hear Ruby saying exactly what I was about to say. She is aware of Riders, Horses, Leaders and outside factors. In this aspect, Ruby is ahead of many adults. This is invaluable in an RDA setting!

Ruby has had a huge impact on West Coast RDA. In 2018 she attended RDA most days we were operating. Generally, this meant volunteering over 20 hours every week. In addition, she helps look after horses in the weekends, and is always putting her hand up to help with fundraising activities. She works well with riders of all ages and abilities. Ruby is a definite favourite of many riders.”

NZRDA would like to congratulate Ruby, and our Chief Executive was full of praise for Ruby’s achievements. “It’s wonderful to see the dedication and commitment that Ruby has put in and it’s great to be able to recognise a volunteer like Ruby by presenting her with this award. Great work Ruby!”