Seymour Riding for the Disabled Association was thrilled to receive a $1500 Horseland voucher from the Law Enforcement Torch Run Victoria (LETR).
LETR raises funds and awareness for people with intellectual disability, encouraging them to participate in sports through Special Olympics Victoria.
It heard about the RDA Seymour break-in earlier this year and was saddened to hear the theft would have an impact on its ability to deliver the activities it provides to people in the disability sector.
“Equestrian is a Special Olympics sport, so what better way for the torch run to help than by providing RDA Seymour with some vouchers to replace some of their stolen equipment,” LETR president Matt Volk said.
“We see the joy these activities bring to people with intellectual disability and we didn’t want to see that joy stop.
“Seymour RDA have been doing a brilliant job in the community for more than 40 years, so we wanted to do what we could to make sure they could get back on their feet quickly.
“We know that people with a disability don’t have the same opportunities as most of us to have access to mainstream education, sport and employment.
“This makes volunteer groups like RDA Seymour such an important part of the landscape where we are all striving for a more inclusive society.”
RDA Seymour secretary Sally Wilson said the group was thrilled with the response from the community after the theft in February.
“We’re thankful for all the donations, including the generous one from the LETR and their kind supporters,” she said.
“We have been able to replace the stolen riding helmets and are looking forward to upgrading and purchasing much-needed vital equipment.
“RDA Seymour is a non-profit organisation and the volunteers spend a great deal of time looking after the horses, planning, setting up and running lessons.
“We raise all our funds ourselves, so this gives us the opportunity to put our time into expanding our program to include adult riders.”
Ms Wilson said multiple enquiries had been received about volunteering due to the publicity of the theft.
“We held an induction and training day on Thursday and trialled a new horse. The new volunteers come from the wider community and bring a large variety of experience with children, horses and those with disability,” she said.
“RDA Seymour cannot operate without many volunteers. Three people per participant are required, plus others to help set up equipment, tack and warm up horses, look after the children and fit them with helmets and boots.
“We are expanding our program to include adult riders and will be adding new days and times to our program.
“We will be seeking new volunteers who will be available to help on different days when we start up again.”
COVID-19 restrictions mean RDA Seymour is not currently operating but will be starting as soon as it is safe to do so.
The group is always looking for more volunteers and for calm, relaxed horses to buy or free lease during the term. Horses are sent to their owners or taken to volunteer's properties during school holidays.
For more information about RDA Seymour or to get involved, phone Ms Wilson on 0412 075 774.