Six students from New Hope School have participated in Riding for the Disabled during Terms 3 and 4. This is the first time that we have had students participate in the program. We are thankful that this service enables us to provide the opportunity for our students to ride and develop a sense of competence in an activity that others, without disabilities, also find pleasurable. The students have enjoyed all the educational activities and games that are incorporated into the riding program. They have particularly loved the trail rides, venturing out past the dam and around the paddocks.

Our staff have been impressed with the professionalism and care of the Riding for the Disabled staff, who have made our students feel welcome, understood their unique needs and ensured their safety.  The students have been nurtured to develop an individual connection to the horse they ride each week, as the staff have reinforced the horses' names and encouraged each student to pat their horse at the end of each session as a farewell gesture. The staff has also provided recognition of the students' efforts and gains through issuing a rider of the week trophy and certificate.

We have been proud of our students' behaviour whilst at Riding for the Disabled. It has been pleasing to see the students initiating the process of getting ready for the session by selecting and putting on their boots and helmets. We have also been delighted with the way the students have individually thanked the staff leading their horse, at the end of each session. The students have developed a real sense of ownership over the experience.

Many of the parents have expressed that they have been pleased that their child was selected for the program and have seen benefits for their son or daughter. We would recommend this program for all students but we are particularly appreciative of the way it allows our non-verbal students to be an actively engaged member of a group through doing and participation.

Fiona Hutchins, Class Teacher