Riding for the Disabled gets a helping hand

jenny.jpgThey may not be champion racers but Ballina and District Riding for the Disabled (RDA) horses were big winners on Melbourne Cup Day with all 15 formally ‘adopted’ for the next five months to help deal with the current enforced quarantine.

The horses, which are in complete quarantine due to the equine influenza outbreak, had been facing tough times, with the RDA struggling to find the money to house and feed the animals at the Mitchell Centre over the next five months.

The summer long lockdown had meant no income from regular riding and fundraising activities, placing a strain on the RDA’s bottom line. But that’s all changed thanks to the generosity of local businesses responding to an on air appeal by Ballina community radio station 101.9 Paradise FM, which managed to arrange for all 15 animals to be ‘adopted’ for the next five months at a cost of $600 per horse.

“It’s been a wonderful response,” said station manager Jenny Ellenbroek, pictured. “We’d only been promoting the campaign for a week and had managed to arrange for 10 of the 15 horses to be adopted.

“Then on Cup day itself, thanks to a concerted push by our on-air team, we filled the final five places within the space of just a few hours. To do so before the big race at Flemington at 3pm was an outstanding achievement by our local business community.”

The $600 will enable RDA to care for the horses for the next five months, after which it’s hoped the quarantine will be lifted and normal fundraising be allowed to resume. Each donor’s business or family name will now take pride of place on the stable of their ‘adopted’ horse with a photo of the horse to be sent to the business concerned.

“Pledging $600 by any business is a big ask but the locals really responded in an outstanding fashion to the Paradise FM appeal,” said Ms Ellenbroek. “It’s great to see such genuine local care and concern for such a worthwhile organisation”.

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