Horse-riding therapy makes a difference in lives of people with challenges

2017-03-28 06:02
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DUE to her love of horses, and a concern for people with special physical, mental, and emotional needs, Upper Highway resident Tracy Cummings has dedicated her life to volunteering at South African Riding for the Disabled Association (Sarda).

For this 48-year-old her goal is to inspire people to be the best in order to achieve their goals. Living by the motto, “be the change you want to see”, Cummings has been involved with Sarda for over 20 years.

“I got involved because I saw the difference that therapeutic riding makes in the many areas of the lives of people who have special needs and challenges.
“It is a privilege to offer this to children from various special needs schools who would otherwise not have the opportunity to ride or be in this environment.
“I love working with all our volunteers too. I am also a TTouch Equine practitioner, which I use in my daily work with people and horses,” said Cummings.

A typical day for volunteer Cummings includes preparing horses and facilities for the riders, teaching, training or supportive work with ponies to enable them to do their job easily and well, providing instructor or volunteer training, admin and supporting fund-raising for Sarda.

She said the favourite part of her job is to be part of something that brings pleasure and makes a difference in people’s lives. 

When asked what her most memorable moment is she says: “There have been so many, It is always rewarding to see people do or achieve something they never thought they could.

“One incident that stands out is with a little boy of six, who was blind and who had been really nervous of the environment and the horses when he first came.
“We were on our first outride and he said, ‘How do I show this horse my love?’ He told me he was grateful to the horse and wanted to show the horse his affection by loving him. This touched my heart,” said Cummings.

“Realising how small my challenges are compared to those of the many families I work with is my real motivation to continue doing what I do.”

She said that community help is always welcome at Sarda. “Get involved with Sarda. Volunteer, support our fund-raising efforts, help sponsor a pony and talk about us. The more publicity we get the better.

“Embrace people who are different to you. You can learn a lot from each other.”

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