Children with disabilities are learning to ride horses and boost their social skills with the help of Pender Riding for the Disabled Redcliffe.
Volunteer Chris Whittall, whose granddaughter rides with the centre, says it makes a huge difference in the lives of young people.
“Some of the children have physical disabilities and it helps them socially as well as physically,” Chris says.
“It’s really therapeutic for them and the kids relate very well to the volunteers who work with them.
“Some of the kids are on the autism spectrum and they’re not only learning to ride, they are also learning how to mix with other children in a less formal way.”
But Chris says that with no government funding, Pender has to raise money to pay for the care of its four horses - Star, Bullseye, Lucy and Caspar.
“There is feed, the cost of the farrier, dentist, veterinarian, occasional transport costs as well as vaccines to ensure that each horse is in excellent condition to carry their young charges,” Chris explains.
“Anything we need we have to fundraise for.”
This year, Pender launched a new fundraising campaign, seeking an annual sponsorship of the four horses from local businesses.
Scarborough real estate agency Reid and Co. was the first to rise to the challenge, with a tax-deductible $2000 sponsorship of Lucy.
“The centre is entirely run by volunteers so sponsorship of each of the horses is essential,” Chris says.
In return for their generosity, Reid and Co. have received a certificate of appreciation and a photo of Lucy.
If you’d like to sponsor a horse email firstname.lastname@example.org