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Jan 30, 2024

Susan’s joyous return to horse riding

Housing News

Susan has been a resident at Northcott’s Specialist Supported Living in Deniliquin for over 15 years. She has high complex needs and receives support from Northcott for all aspects of her daily life including keeping in touch with family and friends, accessing community services, attending art therapy, horse riding and enjoying a cup of coffee at her favourite café.

Finding her passion

When Riding for the Disabled (RDA) first opened in Deniliquin in 2015, Susan was one of their first riders. While Susan had never ridden a horse before, after her first ride with Shea (RDA horse) she was hooked. She enjoyed the activity so much that she went back for lessons every second Friday.

However, for the last 2 years the RDA had been under limited operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There was also significant damage caused to the fields by floods. This meant that Susan couldn’t continue with her hobby until the RDA reopened.

Reuniting with Shea

Recently, Susan got to attend her first lesson with Shea after almost 2 years! Their reunion almost didn’t happen, with heavy rains and flooding forecasted in Deniliquin for Friday morning.

“The weather didn’t look great, but RDA was still on. The sun began to shine around 9am. Susan was loaded into the wheelchair van and headed to the pony club. The road was wet and bumpy. On arrival at RDA Susan was greeted by everyone, and Matt got her helmet ready. Once Susan had her helmet ready and Shea (horse) was ready it was time for Susan to get on. She went for a big, long walk around the paddock, taking in moments. Susan enjoys just looking out into the bush from the seat of the horse and looking down on everyone,” says Kayla, Northcott Service Coordinator.

Riding confidently with limited mobility

Although Susan hadn’t been on her horse in 2-years, she looked confident and happy to be back in the saddle.

Susan doesn’t like the cold, but once the sun was shining, and she was on the horse, she had her big smile on.


Horse riding has enabled Susan to improve her core strength. When Susan first started, she could remain upright on the horse for 5 minutes, but after years of riding Susan has gained the core strength to ride for 30 minutes at a time.

About RDA

RDA supports people with disability to ride horses confidently with the help of volunteers out on the track. To make sure they ride safely, volunteers walk alongside the horse and the customer in case they may need support with their stability. The horses at RDA also play a part in making horse riding accessible. The horses at RDA need to have the right temperament and undergo regular training to be ridden by people with disability.

Supporting regional customers

Supporting customers to live their lives with choice and independence is an important part of what we do. Kayla is currently recruiting for support workers in Deniliquin and encourages anyone who’s interested in supporting people with disability to live the life they choose to apply.

“Being able to provide someone with the opportunities we all deserve and helping customers reach their goals, or trying new things and succeeding is rewarding,” says Kayla.


Accessibility and Inclusivity

We respect and honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on this land and commit to building a brighter future together.

Read more about our commitment to reconciliation

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If you have any questions, please speak to your Service Manager, Service Coordinator or call us on 1800 818 286.