Indoor riding arena

New fence and fixtures as community support soars for horse charity

From left Gordan Minehan with Goldie, volunteer Michelle Brownlee , Freemason Pete Barker, Alex Ham with Jinxy, Marlborough RDA manager Jo Ross, Freemason Chris Williams, Leo Ave on Bee and volunteer Vicki Jeffries.

Brya Ingram / Stuff

From left Gordan Minehan with Goldie, volunteer Michelle Brownlee , Freemason Pete Barker, Alex Ham with Jinxy, Marlborough RDA manager Jo Ross, Freemason Chris Williams, Leo Ave on Bee and volunteer Vicki Jeffries.

When Goldie the horse managed to get over an electric fence and out of his Marlborough Riding for the Disabled paddock, it sparked action.

RDA manager Jo Ross said the shocks from the old fence weren’t strong enough to deter Goldie and a replacement was needed.

Ross contacted the local Freemasons for help and while she was looking for around $500, she instead got $1,000 to buy a fence powered by solar panels.

“It may look like just a small solar panel, but it’s huge,” Ross said.

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“Anything we can get from the community means we can deliver our programs in an affordable way so that they are accessible to everyone, so that’s fantastic.

“And it’s also fantastic to build this relationship with the Freemasons who are obviously giving back to our community.”

Freemasons Chris Williams, left, and Pete Barker at Marlborough Riding for the Disabled on Taylor Pass Rd.

Brya Ingram / Stuff

Freemasons Chris Williams, left, and Pete Barker at Marlborough Riding for the Disabled on Taylor Pass Rd.

Freemasons with a project that can benefit the community can contact the Charity of the Freemasonsa separate entity that offers a 1:1 subsidy.

Blenheim Freemason Chris Williams said the Awatere and Eckford Lodges supported the RDA’s contribution.

“Giving back to the community is important to us.

“Keeping the horses confined was a need to help the organization, horses form a very large part of the programs they offer to young people, and it fits the criteria of our charity which is youth, education or a need accurate,” Williams says.

'Goldie', a 12-year-old Palomino, started the new fence project because the old one didn't have enough shocks.

Brya Ingram / Stuff

‘Goldie’, a 12-year-old Palomino, started the new fence project because the old one didn’t have enough shocks.

Jo Ross said the new solar-powered fence would allow greater mobility for their 13 horses and better grazing management on the 26-hectare property on Taylor Pass Rd.

“Then for the rest of the money, we use it to get new sensory games and accessories for the kids, just to improve what we’re doing in our programs, because we haven’t really bought any new ones. for a while,” Ross said. mentioned.

The organization also received $3,000 from the local branch of Fruitfed Supplies [horticultural service and supply division of PGG Wrightson Ltd].

Marlborough Riding for the Disabled, established in 1972, is one of New Zealand’s largest groups for horse-related activities and caters for people with physical, intellectual, emotional and social difficulties.

“What’s quite unique about Marlborough RDA is that we take children from the age of one, we have an early intervention program from one to eight,” Ross said.

“So it’s really therapy classes, it’s quite unique, it’s beautiful,” Ross said.

The Blenheim center currently has two full-time coaches, two part-time apprentices and 30 volunteers.

“The whole place really depends on our volunteers,” Ross said.

“We have three amazing volunteers who come in every day and work on the farm, and then we have a sort of regular base of volunteers who come in and do the programs with us.”

Blenheim boy Gordan Minehan on Goldie led by Marlborough RDA volunteer Michele Brownlee.

BRYA INGRAM/STUFF/Marlborough Express

Blenheim boy Gordan Minehan on Goldie led by Marlborough RDA volunteer Michele Brownlee.

Ross said there are many different ways to support the organization, such as donating time like TC Nicholls’ Dean Nicholls did when he spent his Saturday evaluating the RDA indoor arena.

Ross is celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary this year.

“I call it 50 years of care.

“I was very lucky to go through different photographs and archives, and realize how incredible these 50 years have been, and how many people in the region have contributed to the success of RDA.

“If anyone who has worked, volunteered or cycled with RDA is still in the community, we would love to hear from them.

“And then in a few months, we’d like to bring everyone back for an afternoon tea or an open afternoon and just kind of reconnect those people and share memories.”