Riding for the Disabled Barwon Centre
A Give Where You Live Community Partner
Matthew came to RDA Barwon 6 years ago at the age of 10 yrs. He is very disabled with Cerebral Palsy. Over that 6 years, he has attended regularly and has had an amazing change in his core strength. In the beginning, he could scarcely sit on the horse and had to be held by a volunteer each side. He slumped forward over the saddle as he had no strength to sit up straight. His wheelchair had to be pushed up a ramp on to the platform and he was then lifted onto the horse. We got to know Matthew as a cheerful boy who knew our names and was happy to greet everyone when he came .We tried to use the same volunteers each week so that they knew Matthews’ condition and what he could or could not do. Our group is lucky to have 2 physiotherapists on the team who were also there to advise when needed. Matthew has wonderful support from his family. His mother describes him as her “Blessing” At RDA things have certainly changed for Matthew. Although we still use the ramp for the wheelchair and the platform for him to mount the horse and a person each side for support when needed, he sits up very straight and as his mother says, “ When he is lined up with the other children, he doesn’t look any different.” He loves his horse riding and we are so proud of him. He is now a tall teenager of 16 years but we hope he will be attending RDA for years to come.