Riding for the Disabled celebrates new indoor arena at Majors Rd, O’Halloran Hill

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Riding for the Disabled celebrates new indoor arena at Majors Rd, O’Halloran Hill

CAITLIN Appel says she feels understood when she walks through the doors at Riding for the Disabled’s O’Halloran Hill branch.

“I feel a bit of a connection with the horses and they get me and I get them,” the 15-year-old says.

“Being autistic, no-one around my age group has really understood me – they would just sit and point and laugh.

“They (the horses) come up and nuzzle me and nibble my hair because it looks like a carrot. Horses are just big, cuddly teddy bears to me.”

The Happy Valley girl took up riding when she was just three – and in 2010 placed fourth at the Special Olympics National Games in Adelaide.

Now, Caitlin will be able to ride at O’Halloran Hill rain, hail or shine, with Riding for the Disabled celebrating the opening of its new Majors Rd indoor arena.

The $750,000 structure will allow the group to keep running sessions in all weather.

Caitlin, who also volunteers at the centre twice a week, is home-schooled after leaving high school last year because she was bullied.

She enjoys being a mentor for RDA’s younger riders, who all have either an intellectual or physical disability.

“I really want to be an inspiration for those who are going through a hard time,” she says.

“We’re really tight-knit here.”

Riding for the Disabled state manager Justin Dent says the new arena’s opening was a project 10 years in the making.

“It will allow O’Halloran Hill to virtually run their program 52 weeks of the year, without needing to consider the elements,” he said.

“It also allows us a commercial opportunity to hire it out to other users.”

The project was part-funded by $200,000 from the State Government and a $100,000 donation from both People’s Choice Credit Union and vehicle retailer Adtrans.

The group wants to spend about another $250,000 on other improvements to the site, including seating for up to 200 people and carparking and grounds upgrades.

Caitlin’s mother, Andrea, says the arena will make “an amazing difference” for the charity – “because it won’t just be this centre that gets to use the arena”.

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วันที่โพสต์: 25/07/2560 เวลา 10:09:01 ดูภาพสไลด์โชว์ Riding for the Disabled celebrates new indoor arena at Majors Rd, O’Halloran Hill