Te Awamutu Riding for Disabled (RDA) is back in the saddle and its horses are back at the Kihikihi Domain following months of having to cease operations due to Covid-19 lockdown.

Now that they're back they're also on the hunt for more volunteers.

"We really need more volunteers," says head coach and manager of Te Awamutu RDA Rosalie Rea.

"You don't have to have horse knowledge, you just have to want to be a volunteer and all the training will be given."

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Sessions run on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9am and 1pm but Rosalie says they are flexible with volunteers working arrangements.

Those who are interested in grooming and getting the horses ready for the day are also able to go along earlier to help out.

Three of the six new Te Awamutu RDA volunteers, from left, Julika Steinert, Dan Blayney and Carianne Walters and her daughter. They are pictured with horse Yugi. Photo / Caitlan Johnston
Three of the six new Te Awamutu RDA volunteers, from left, Julika Steinert, Dan Blayney and Carianne Walters and her daughter. They are pictured with horse Yugi. Photo / Caitlan Johnston

Te Awamutu RDA will be welcoming back clients on Tuesday, July 21 which will mark the first day of their third term.

"It feels like it's the start of a new year instead of a new term, we've just had three months off and it's a bit weird starting in winter and not summer," says Rosalie.

"It feels good to be able to get back into gear though and fill a gap for our clients."

The Te Awamutu RDA hosted a luncheon last week to welcome back its current volunteers, some new volunteers and its horses.

During the lockdown the horses were sent to people in the community who put their hand up to look after them.

"The horses were all placed in good homes with people that could look after them and it meant that nobody was leaving their homes over the Covid-19 lockdown. It was such a big help being able to get all the horses out," says Rosalie.

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They even have a new horse now, bringing their lot up to seven.

The new horse is an 18-year-old palomino gelding named Tommy.

Te Awamutu RDA head coach and manager, Roaslie Rea, with the RDA's new horse Tommy. Photo / Caitlan Johnston
Te Awamutu RDA head coach and manager, Roaslie Rea, with the RDA's new horse Tommy. Photo / Caitlan Johnston

They have also welcomed six new volunteers including Julika Steinert who was looking after Te Awamutu RDA horses Yugi and Cindy during lockdown. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to volunteer.

Julika, who is from Germany but now lives in New Zealand with her fiancé, says she once fell off a horse and then stopped riding.

"I've discovered my passion again though and so I've decided to get back into it," says Julika.

Te Awamutu RDA is also keen to hear from people who may be interested in donating or sponsoring a horse or a client.

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If you are interested to know more or would like to become a volunteer, contact Rosalie Rea on 021 153 9395 or 07 871 4705 or at rosalier@hotmail.co.nz.