VOLUNTEERING AT RDA TALL TIMBERS – HOW THIS HAPPENED FOR ME.

Many years ago I was gifted a lovely little old pony – Dapper.  At this time my family consisted of two little girls 3 and 5. Well you know the story girls love pony, girls want to ride. I had had horses all of my life so we had pony rides in the yard for a while but this was not enough so off we went to Margie Randall at RDA Tall Timbers at Kellyville. Not exactly sure how I found Margie but it was a good move. Girls, Dapper and me one afternoon a week.  It wasn’t long before the youngest was demanding lessons as well so it progressed to two afternoons a week. The seed had been planted.  Margie convinced me that I could come around and help with the plaiting of the ponies on competition days – a little bit more involvement creeping in. This went on for several years then I moved on with my life.

During this time Wendy Moreland joined Pony Club and we became good friends. Wendy was always talking about RDA with some Glenorie PC members who were active in RDA from its beginning. She joined RDA Tall Timbers at Kellyville and became a Coach. Well every time we went to the movies or out for dinner what was the topic of conversation, yes you guessed it…RDA.  By this time I was reaching retirement age and started thinking I could contribute here. 

Saturday mornings was my starting point. First day I just sat back and watched and was gate operator. I found the organization professional and extremely sensitive to the children’s needs, the staff and volunteers friendly and interesting. Saturday mornings lasted nearly a year then retirement was sprung upon me so I changed my day to Thursday.

Thursdays went smoothly for about a year then there was an email asking for help with Wednesday’s group for a couple of weeks.  Well the couple of weeks has turned into years and I am still doing Thursdays and Wednesdays and thoroughly enjoying it.

I have happily helped out at Competition Days, the Royal Easter Show and just last year at the Dressage Championships where as well as penciling and gear checking I was asked to run the Le Trec Competition. I had never heard of this before and had just a little bit of information so along  with Kim, a set up diagram, some pens, scoring sheets and writing boards off we went.  

This was a very rewarding experience. Volunteers just appeared and thankfully some had set up at previous events.  Everyone pitched in and we were ready to go on time. The afternoon was a great success, thanks to all those who helped out and the riders had a challenging but successful afternoon.  There were smiles on all faces.

I get such a buzz out of these children seeing them progress from sometimes timid little individuals who find it hard to approach a horse, far less throw your leg across its back, to confident souls who love the horses and leaders. At one of my Thursday terms I led a Down Syndrome child.  At first she was timid and non-communicative but this soon changed. She had the most delightful sense of humor, if at some times a little cheeky.  I was secretly thrilled when I was told that one day when I was unable to attend she resisted mounting and was a little too cheeky and demanding. Imagine how elated I was when at end of term presentation I received a cuddle on my leg from this child who did not want personal contact.  This along with working with the amazing ponies and delightful staff and other volunteers is why I enjoy RDA so much.

Elizabeth