We were very excited at Wellington RDA to welcome two new horses to our team earlier this week. Both horses are settling in well, and have already started their training to bring them up to speed so they can be apart of our ride programme. The training programme our new horses will undertake educates them in the "Wellington Riding for the Disabled (WRDA) Way" of appropriate behaviour during rides. As an aside, we also run volunteer "WRDA Way" training courses as well - obviously more tailored towards those of us with two legs, as opposed to four! - ensuring that both horses and volunteers are on the same page when we enter the arena with a rider.
Why are they straight into training? Well, it's important for us to ensure that any new horses are able to confidentially and calmly manage the situations that may present themselves while on the ride programme - as our rider, horse and volunteer safety is our number one priority. Plus, while our horses are well-loved by those who care for them, they are also working horses, so there's no time like the present to get straight into training!
Some examples from the training programme include: being comfortable with being lead in the WRDA way, having side-walkers alongside them, and becoming familiar with some of the common noises and sights associated with rides - brightly coloured balls and wiggly riders, for example!
So, without further ado, allow us to introduce our new additions...
Tonka is a handsome 5 year old 14.1hh black Stationbred gelding. His background has been pretty low key, enjoying the quiet life on the farm, and he was used for hacking about the place. He's a very safe and quiet wee poppet but is still learning about life - as most youngsters are!
Tonka enjoys attention (lucky for him then, that he is so dapper!) and he's a quick learner. Our 'wee' guy is... well... he's been asked once or twice when his foal is due. Luckily, our head coach Laura is on the case and has popped him on a bit of a diet to help him get his six-pack back.
It was a very sad sale by his previous owner but I'm sure everyone will agree he has come to a very loving home here at Wellington RDA.
Honey is an 8 year old 15.1hh pretty grey Stationbred mare. Like Tonka, her background is in farm hacking, but she's a bit more worldly and has some good tales about some of her road riding adventures - main state highways and riding to the local pub, to name a few! She's has also participated in games, which will be great for when our annual games day rolls around.
Honey was a little shy to start with but she's very kind and gentle. We've already discovered that sometimes she's not entirely sure about being caught out in the paddock, but it doesn't take long for her to change her mind.
Again, another sad sale by her previous owner, and again, Honey comes to a welcoming and loving home here with us.
Thanks to everyone who played a part in us welcoming these two lovely horses into our fold, including previous owners, logistical folk and those who contributed to fundraising efforts. We look forward to giving you updates along the way.