Riders show off new skills

23:17, Dec 11 2013
Southern riders
Northern Southland RDA members celebrate progress over the past year at their Christmas function (Left ) Volunteer helper Wendy Henderson, Jack Donaldson, 8, from Balfour, Casey Fowler, 12, on Mouse, from Dipton, Cody Lowe, 7, from Balfour, Lachie Watson, 13, on Gemma from Dipton, Ben Roy, 6, from Balfour, Tori Caldwell, 6, from Dipton, ( back) Ruby Menlove, 8, on Penny, from Lumsden, volunteer instructor Shona Macgregor from Dipton, Dylan Thomas, 6, from Balfour, Jade Morphus, 8, on Willie, from Balfour, volunteer instructor Grace Thwaites from Dipton, Nicole Masajo, 7 , from Balfour.

A happy celebration to end the year and mark successes was held for Northern Southland Riding to Develop our Abilities children in Balfour.

Family and friends gathered at David and Lynley Stevens' property to share in the activities and enjoy seeing the progress of the children. 

Since April 2005 their covered arena has provided an excellent space for students from across Northern Southland to have opportunities to increase their skills, improve their balance and have fun. 

At present pupils come from Dipton, Lumsden and Balfour but they have also come from  Mossburn, Riversdale and Te Anau  in previous years.

Three ponies are used for each session, with three half-hour sessions held weekly between 11.30am and 1pm, on a Wednesday during the school term for students up to year 8. 

Volunteer instructor Shona MacGregor said the group was always looking for more volunteers.

Student Lachie Watson said the sessions were ''really fun.

Lachie, who graduated to riding on his own at the event, loved playing Santa and giving presents to everyone on his last day.

The group was grateful for a grant of $525 from the Meridian White Hill Community Fund so they could buy seven new helmets.