Riders with a disability to compete on show circuit
A NEW initiative is aiming to give riders with a disability recognition for their hard work in the saddle and get them competing in front of a hearty crowd.
Disability riding and led classes will be introduced onto the show circuit this year with four shows already signing up, including Marburg, Gatton, Caboolture and Brookfield.
Discussions are in place for the Ekka to also bring them on board.
The classes will be sponsored by disability provider Empowered to Care and Barastoc.
Empowered to Care director Jo-Anne Daley believes it will be the first time such classes have been entered in the show circuit in Australia.
"Not all disabled riders are involved with Riding for the Disabled, there's a lot out there that want to compete but there's nothing out there,” she said.
"This is a way for more established riders, who already have their horses and who have already have been involved in the industry (to compete).
"Perhaps they had an accident which caused a disability or had a disability but used horses as a therapy method. This is a way for them to get out and actually compete and show they can stand on their own.
"It's about choice, control and inclusion and ensuring everyone is included and everyone has a fair go.”
For Marburg and Gatton ringmaster Maxine Murphy, it is a way to get more horses into the ring and more riders into a competitive environment.
She said every rider needed a purpose and something to channel their hard work towards.
This year would be used to gauge interest with aims to grow it further if the demand is there.
"I'm always open to new ideas and to encourage people to get out there and have a go,” she said.
"Anything new has to be tried for at least two years to see if it's going to work.”
Anyone with a disability can compete in the classes but they can't also enter the open events.
Nominations are to be made on the days of the shows but for more information or to register your interest, contact Marilyn Stocks at email@example.com.