Disabled rider an inspiration
Porirua rider and former refugee Du Dway Ko has won the 2014 New Zealand Riding for Disabled rider of the year award.
Ko was born two months prematurely in a small refugee camp, on the northern Thailand border.
He was born with cerebral palsy and the fact he survived was miraculous.
The degree of his disability had an impact on his ability to speak and walk. He started walking when he was 8.
Ko, his mother and younger brother arrived in New Zealand under the refugee scheme in 2006 (his father died in the camp) and settled in Porirua.
Donna Kennedy, president of Wellington Riding for the Disabled, has seen Ko since he started riding there last year.
‘‘Outside the therapy environment, cerebral palsy and horse riding are not a natural marriage,’’ she said.
‘‘Having cerebral palsy and the impact on your body makes horse riding a very difficult sport to undertake. Du Dway has persisted and is now riding independently.’’
In a sports context, horse riding had given Ko a sense of accomplishment and wellbeing, she said.
He recently won his class in a local dressage competition.
‘‘Du Dway is a great role model and an inspiration to those with cerebral palsy, the Riding for the Disabled community and able-bodied riders,’’ Kennedy said.
‘‘His drive and determination to excel are outstanding. He has a winning attitude and is a pleasure to work with.’’
Big win: Du Dway Ko’s riding expertise has been recognised.