RDAWA Horses and Ponies
RDAWA riding and driving programs would not exist without special horses and ponies. They are the heart and soul of our programs without which we could not operate. RDAWA horses and ponies are found through advertisements, or generously donated by caring people, or are on long term free leases. Each of our horses and ponies go through intensive screening before becoming part of any RDAWA centre.
Choosing a horse or pony which looks fit and healthy is only the first step to becoming a successful contender. Once a horse has been chosen for its particular attributes, the next step is for the horse to be assessed to see if it has the right temperament for this specialised work. This is carried out by our dedicated Coaches, Horse handlers and Trainers.
Training involves desensitising the horse so that its intuitive flight response is not activated in situations that are stressful. Getting a horse used to unfamiliar situations and remain calm is an important part of the training along with getting used to unfamiliar equipment such as wheelchairs, groups of people such as side walkers and volunteers and getting used to different riders with different abilities and needs. Each horse is selected to meet the particular needs of each Centre and the riders it’s servicing.
So what do we look for? Generally there are many things to consider when we look for our special horses and ponies. The breed is one of the major identifiers as to a horse’s general temperament and provides some insight as to how it might perform in becoming a therapy horse.
Conformation, age, height, weight and overall health and the nature of the horse is very important. We also like to know the history of each horse so we have a better understanding of what is required when training.
RDAWA horses are well cared for by each of our Centres, they are loved by the riders and volunteers alike. At the end of their days with RDAWA we try to find our horses a retirement home; many return to previous owners.
Sponsorship of a horse or a philanthropic gift covers a small portion of the costs associated with the ongoing care and training of an RDA horse over a year. Sponsorship of a horse start from $2000 for one year.
If you wish to be part of this program and sponsor a horse or pony please click here.