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Ciaran's Story

10 year old Ciaran Calder is a Year 6 pupil at Motueka Primary School, who lives with Muscular Dystrophy and is wheelchair bound.

Ciaran first started riding at RDA in Henderson, Auckland when he was 2, but had to give it up when his family moved to Ireland when he was 4.
They returned to New Zealand last year, and Ciaran started riding at Motueka Group RDA last November. His mother Mairead says that he easily picked up where he had left off.

“He was a like a duck to water – he never forgot”.

Mairead says that Ciaran has a natural affinity with horses, and riding at RDA has greatly helped his balance as well as his confidence. His future goal is to complete in Equestrian at the Paralympics.

Ciaran says that he loves riding at Motueka RDA, as he has a strong bond with his RDA Horse Jiminy.

“I just really like him, he’s a frisky horse.”

Motueka RDA Manager, Jen Doyle, says that Ciaran’s commitment is an inspiration for the other Riders.

“He arrives early for every session, helps to groom and tack his pony, and has become very good at leading Jiminy to warm up from his chair. He takes extra-curricular riding activities every week, and his dedication helped him come in first place at our local A&P show earlier in the year.”

Ciaran’s outstanding commitment to riding resulted in him winning the 2012 NZRDA Rider of the Year trophy. This trophy was given to Jen Doyle at the recent NZRDA National Training Seminar, who in turn presented it to Ciaran at his school assembly.

NZRDA Chief Executive, Guy Ockenden, says that although it is always a tough decision as to who is chosen for this award, Ciaran’s nomination stood out.

“Ciaran’s commitment and dedication to the Riding Programme have been an inspiration to others at RDA, as is the outcomes he has achieved for himself after only a short time at Motueka RDA.”

You can find out more about Motueka RDA by going to www.rdamotueka.org.nz

Photograph courtesy of Alistair Paulin / The Nelson Mail.

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