Dream job at Riding for the Disabled
Claire Hagan doesn’t have favourites among the ten horses she cares for, but she’s very clear about what she thinks of her job.
She spent eight years working as a vet nurse before starting as horse manager and riding coach for Wellington Riding for the Disabled last year.
‘‘I love all of them equally, it’s hard not to fall in love with all of these guys.’’
‘‘It sounds corny to say I’m doing my dream job but I feel so lucky to do this, so lucky to have a job that I love.’’
The horses that she works with at the Kenepuru stables are exceptional creatures that come from varied backgrounds.
‘‘We have horses from trekking and hunting backgrounds ... pig hunting horses are very good at carrying an unbalanced load.
‘‘They have to meet a lot of requirements which makes them so special and they all have very different personalities.’’
The organisation runs three programmes for its clients, all on horseback and the clients are as varied as the horses they ride.
Many of the 54 weekly clients come to build strength and sitting on a horse was only one of many ways people could ride.
‘‘For someone with no ability to sit up they can lie over the horse in what we call the prone over barrel position. ‘‘Even lying along the horses back can simulate crawling for a young child with no movement.’’
The feedback from clients and parents confirmed the organisation was making a difference in peoples lives.
‘‘It builds confidence and we get told kids are walking better and have better control of their muscles and bodies.’’
Hagan said horse welfare is of the utmost importance and a vet is always just a phonecall away.
‘‘We treat the horses so well because we love them but also because we wouldn’t be able to do this without them.’’
She said when the horses retired from the organisation they were in demand as pets or first horses for learner riders.
Wellington Riding for the Disabled president and coach Donna Kennedy said it cost in excess of $100,000 a year to operate the charity.
The RDA annual appeal begins on August 1, for more information see gingerbreadhorse.co.nz or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Hagan says working at Wellington Riding for the Disabled is her dream job