I first heard of RDA when I joined the Parklea Garden Village Tai Chi class. Joan Guppy told me about Tall Timbers and how their donations assist with the care of a horse (now Kitty). The following week my wife and I went to the Royal Easter Show and saw Renee Smith and other riders in the RDA(NSW) competition for people with disabilities. That was it! The following Monday I went with Joan Guppy to have a look and have been going every Monday since. It was the riders, staff, horses and volunteers who got me in. I help as gatekeeper, side walker, leader and most importantly as a poo-picker-upper. As a joke I ask the new volunteers if they have done the Poo Picker Up course?
One of my most wonderful experiences was, with my co-sidewalker Lindsay, with Matthew. When his grandparents first started him he would scream and not go near a horse. When we finally got him on a horse he would look at his grandparents on the verandah and scream and cry. We saw this and decided to ask them to stay inside when he was on the horse. The next week he was fine and even laughed. From then on he used to run down from the top gate to get his helmet and boots on to ride.
Early in my volunteering I saw the huge cost of running Tall Timbers and decided to try to help. Since then I have obtained regular donations for three horses and obtained $25000 from Blacktown Workers Club.
Another thing I do, and enjoy, is the sausage sizzle. Every few months we cook and sell 600-700 sausages and 18-20 kilos of onions, plus drinks and raise quite a bit of money for the Centre.
I go to Tall Timbers on Monday mornings 5 foot 9 and come home Monday afternoons 10 foot tall!