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Matt and Bella take on the competition arena

On Sunday 12 July Riding for the Disabled Association Richmond Centre had our first outing to a Dressage event at Vines Pony Club hosted by Hawkesbury Vaulting Club (HVC). It was a great day for Matt and I am pretty sure Bella enjoyed the extra attention (and extra hay). Kaye Hannan para equestrian is a great supporter and mentor to many riders and coaches in RDA and it was her suggestion that resulted in the adventure.

Matt travelled out from Ryde with his mum Jacqui, his sister Danielle and Jacquie’s best friend Rosie, ‘(Team Matt). Team Matt had time to enjoy the great home cooking available at the canteen and also the sausage sizzle, while Bella was groomed and her tail plaited by Celine, the RDA coach, and Georgia a volunteer plaited Bella’s mane.

Kaye Hannan, located us very soon after our arrival at Vines and was a great support to Jacquie who was feeling a little anxious. Matt used to attend dressage events while he was a rider at Ryde RDA Centre, but it had been a few years since he last competed.

Once Bella was clean and tidy, she was tacked up, and Matt was mounted on Bella, Celine took Matt for a walk through of the dressage test in a spare arena. In no time at all it was time for Matt and Bella to strut their stuff, Matt looking very elegant in his jacket, shirt and tie sat well on his pony Bella, who did not put a foot wrong. Kaye Hannan rode a beautiful demonstration test on the very expressive Lundstrom. It was a pleasure to watch. Kaye and Matt lined up for a photo shoot, then it was time for a de brief and to start packing up for the day. It was great to see the smile on Matt’s face when he received his dressage test and blue ribbon.

As a volunteer at the Centre, I can’t tell you how rewarding this experience was for me personally, and I know my kids Alex & Georgia and coach Celine all felt the same way. Matt has a great sense of humour and we all had quite a few laughs during the day. It was a great learning curve and I have a list of things I need to remember to pack for the next outing.

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