Lesley Hewitt

Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Daylesford resumed their regular Friday program at Boomerang Ranch in February this year after a disrupted two years due to COVID.

With a waiting list of 16 adults and children, RDA started an eight week Kickstarter program on Monday afternoons to give those on the waiting list a chance to see if riding was for them.  In the end, the program went  longer than the scheduled eight weeks due to Daylesford weather and the impact of COVID on volunteers.

Nine riders participated in the program. At completion, 3 of the riders joined the regular Friday program and 5 riders were offered places at neighbouring RDA Centres in Maryborough and Ballarat. This was a great outcome and a credit to the volunteers who put in extra hours and to Boomerang Ranch who provided the horses.

In another highlight David Rak and Adam Callow were able to compete in the first post-COVID in-person RDA competition. The dressage competition held at Tooradin Estate was Adam’s first competition. David and Adam rode one of Tooradin Estate’s horses, Brauer.  At the end of the day Brauer had completed five dressage tests in his career – four of them on the competition day. David and Adam rode very well on an inexperienced dressage horse, with David winning the canter section and Adam finishing second in the trot section.  David, who has represented Victoria at RDA Australia and Special Olympics National competitions, was invited to represent Victorian athletes at a reception for Princess Anne at Government House at the end of March.

RDA Daylesford is in recess during Term 3. Daylesford weather during winter means that riding is often not fun for riders or volunteers. The program will resume in Term 4. For a small centre, Daylesford RDA punches above its weight thanks to the volunteers, Boomerang Ranch and generous support from the community including the Community Bank Daylesford District.

Lesley Hewitt is a member of the RDA Daylesford Committee and a coach and life member of  RDA Victoria. She is also a Councillor for Birch Ward.