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 welling­ton­rda@xtra.co.nz

Claire Ha­gan says work­ing at Welling­ton Rid­ing for the Dis­abled is her dream job

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