‘When children who have spent their whole life in a wheelchair get on the back of a horse, you can see the sense of joy and empowerment that comes from suddenly being able to look at the world from above, when usually they have to look up at everybody around them,’ is how a volunteer explains one of the many benefits associated with Riding for the Disabled programs.
And the benefits are vast – riding can help a child with a disability improve their balance and coordination, strengthen and stretch muscles, and increase the range of joint motions.
While the physical returns are great, they are generated by a fun activity that brings remarkable enjoyment and self-confidence into the life of a child.
Riding for the Disabled ACT (Pegasus)  has been helping children and making them smile for over 40 years.
Pegasus’ 270 active volunteers make it possible for a significant number of children with disability to experience the pleasure of riding through weekly and holiday classes.
However, demand is great and Pegasus relies on the generosity of the community to meet its aims in supporting those with a disability.
One driving need for Pegasus is to source more horses with the right build and temperament. This requires scouting trips throughout regional and rural parts of the country to see if suitable mounts can be found.
However, its capacity to do so is currently limited because it does not own a vehicle which staff and volunteers can use to travel around.
Beyond Bank Australia  has now partnered with Pegasus to raise funds for the purchase of a dual-cab ute. It kicked off the fundraising campaign with a donation of $15,000.
The new vehicle will make it possible for Pegasus to transport horses in a float, assist in evacuations in the case of a bushfire, and support training, promotion and inclusion.
Having their own horse float will provide Pegasus with the following key benefits:
- Enhance inclusion by allowing Pegasus riders to take part in Pony Club and similar activities, including trail rides such as the annual ‘Ride for Pegasus’ day.
- Enable Pegasus to interact with the community with its horses and ponies at awareness and fundraising events.
- Provide a means of moving horses and ponies promptly in the event of a bushfire emergency and also for veterinary attention, especially where surgery is required.
- Enable Pegasus to respond quickly to opportunities to acquire new horses and ponies suited to Pegasus riders.
“We currently rely on staff and volunteers letting us use their own vehicles for many of our activities,” said Pegasus CEO, Jane Thompson.
“Our participants would love to take part in events with other horse riders, but at the moment we can’t easily transport them or our horses. The more we can be involved in events around Canberra, the more included our participants will be in the community.”
If you would like to support Pegasus to achieve their goal of being able to purchase a dual occupancy ute, you can drop your donation into any of our ACT Beyond Bank branches  during March and April. You can also ask one of our branch staff or call us on 13 25 85 to set up a Community Reward Account  where you can save money and support Pegasus at no cost to you…just ask us how!