Help Dun­can the horse at­tend a na­tional con­test

Isis Town and Country - - Kolan News - By JODIE DIXON

RIB­BON win­ner Dun­can (the horse) has been in­vited to take part in the Rid­ing for the Dis­abled As­so­ci­a­tion’s Na­tional Cham­pi­onships.

The com­pe­ti­tion runs from Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 28, to Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 30, at the Wer­ribee Park Na­tional Eques­trian Cen­tre in near Gee­long in Vic­to­ria.

Dun­can stands at a lit­tle over 14 hands and is a fight­ing fit ath­lete, and he wants the op­por­tu­nity to en­ter the com­pe­ti­tion.

Dun­can has a charm­ing per­son­al­ity and be­lieves he can bring home the win­ning rib­bons and cham­pi­ons cup.

Dun­can’s rider and owner, Peter Smith, said the cost was out­side what he could af­ford.

“I’m 70, dis­abled and on the pen­sion, and it’s the same for many other riders,” he said.

“If Dun­can can get down to Wer­ribee Park, other riders will be able to ride him.”

Teams from across Aus­tralia are strug­gling to af­ford the trans­port costs for the horse, gear, ac­com­mo­da­tion, sta­ble fees and other hur­dles in­cluded find­ing horses suit­able for dis­abled riders.

Riders with dis­abil­i­ties re­quire horses that are ac­cred­ited and deemed safe for the riders. Dun­can is ac­cred­ited, and he needs sup­port to get in­volved.

The very proud horse is em­bar­rassed and doesn’t like ask­ing for help, but he knows he needs to.

He is sure he can win, and is will­ing to let other riders use him for the cham­pi­onship.

He just needs hu­mans to help him get there and back safely.

Dun­can came out of re­tire­ment and has won nu­mer­ous rib­bons in dozens of cat­e­gories.

Mr Smith, who is from the Gin Gin Pony Club, is ask­ing for a lit­tle sup­port for Dun­can.

Dun­can him­self is un­able to work to earn money, as he is a horse. So he is un­able to fund the trip, his gear, Mr Smith and his wife, Mar­garet Cooper-Smith.

“Dun­can’s trans­port alone is $800,” Mrs Cooper-Smith said.

Mr Smith des­per­ately wants to at­tend the in­vi­ta­tion-only event, not only for him­self, but for Dun­can.

“It’s about Dun­can,” Mr Smith said.

Hu­man ath­letes find it eas­ier to find fund­ing or spon­sors, whereas the an­i­mals are costly.

“We are very grate­ful to be given $1000 from Rid­ing for the Dis­abled As­so­ci­a­tion to as­sist, but the nom­i­na­tions close on Oc­to­ber 9 and we are wor­ried we won’t have the money in time to book and pay for ev­ery­thing,” Mrs Cooper-Smith said.

A wor­ried and con­cerned Mrs Cooper-Smith said she had to book flights, and the event was only three weeks away.

“But the cost for ev­ery­thing else also wor­ries me more,” she said.

Mrs Cooper-Smith has con­cerns they won’t have enough funds to cover all the costs in­volved, and is ask­ing the com­mu­nity to help in any way they can.

“We know Dun­can can win, and so does Dun­can,” Mr Smith said.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, or to help con­tact Peter Smith by phone on 4157 4530 or email phin­abark@big­pond.com.

We are very grate­ful to be given $1000 from Rid­ing for the Dis­abled. Mar­garet Cooper-Smith

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