I’m 24 years old and very excited to be a part of Te Atawhai wellness retreat. I’m the coach at Te Aroha
Riding for the Disabled. My journey at RDA started when I was 6 years old. I have a severely disabled brother who attended RDA riding sessions and as I had also been diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy and was extremely shy, it was recommended that RDA may also be beneficial for me. As time passed, and improvements within my core strength, balance and confidence grew, so did my passion, bond and understanding with horses.
At school I was hopeless with team sports and could not run (and still can’t,) but I could ride a horse and they gave me an opportunity to be equal with my peers.
In my early teens I was selected for the Waikato Special Olympic team and I progressed to be selected to represent New Zealand at the World Games in Athens where I received a gold and a silver medal. I joined the Sacred Heart Girl’s College equestrian team, and in my final year won Sports Person of the Year – a very proud moment.
Today my chosen discipline is Dressage, and I compete with my horse Charlie most weekends during the season. I also have an off the track thoroughbred who is just starting his dressage training.
On leaving school I spent two years working as a barista as well as volunteering at Te Aroha and Districts RDA, as I wanted to give back to the organisation. It was during this time that I was approached by the group to see if I would be prepared to take on the role of coach. This involved not only a lot of theory and practical exams but also a huge responsibility. I enjoy working with the variety of riders in our programme, from the very delicate to the more independent riders. They continue to amaze me with the goals RDA helps them to achieve. It’s a job I truly love and can see myself working in this field for many years to come.
NZRDA’s core purpose is to provide interaction with horses to develop increased ability, independence and self-worth for children and adults with physical, intellectual, emotional and social challenges.
If you would like to donate to the Te Aroha RDA visit their givealittle page:
Devon Trethaway 021 116 8513