The title!! What a shock! What a privilege!
I have always loved horses – what girl doesn’t? I had even owned horses and competed in my life prior to marriage. Full time work and three girls kept me busy. Then one day my youngest (15 at the time) uttered those terrifying words ……..”Mum, I want a horse.” Well the thoughts that went through my mind were many and varied, such as Where do we get the money? Where will we keep it? What happens when she wants to go riding outside a paddock? She doesn’t even know how to lead a horse, let alone care for and ride one! I hoped she would forget the issue but the subject kept being raised. One day I met some ladies at a stand at Rouse Hill shops, asking for volunteers for RDA. I had heard of the group and so asked all the questions possible and went home armed with ideas. Several Saturdays later my two youngest, two of their friends and I started our volunteer life with RDA. We were given basic instructions on the dos and don’ts, had a quick rundown of the lesson structure and were shown around the areas which we would need to access. So, armed with the basics we were ready to start our first lessons. That was January 2013.
Since then I have learned heaps – and so has my daughter! We now know all the basics of catching, grooming, saddling and leading the horses the RDA way. We help out with games and activities and so get a chance to really interact with the riders. Sometimes we lead the horses or sidewalk to assist the riders. We have been lucky enough to help out at dressage days and at the Mounted Games where the more advanced riders get to show off their skills. We were invited to help out at the Sponsors’ Day where we got to meet the wonderful people who sponsor the horses. We are now confident enough to help teach new vollies the “RDA way”. What started as a way of getting information into my daughter has now become a real way to give back to society. The trouble is we get more out of helping than we could ever give to the system. It is great fun! The feeling of helping others and belonging to the group is wonderful. The coaches we work with are helpful and considerate. The Horse Manager is brilliant. The horses are the most wonderful mounts ever. The riders are many and varied. The other vollies are keen and enthusiastic. Everyone involved is friendly and outgoing. What is there not to like about being a vollie with RDA? Nothing I can think of really. Everyone should try it out.