New therapy horse a Major success at Riding for the Disabled


Major Survivor has landed the perfect new job after retiring from the race track – working with other great survivors. 

He has joined Riding for the Disabled Association – Carine (RDA Carine), gained Telethon sponsorship and recently starred at a special event where he was re-named after the first Telethon child, Maryanne Lazarides, who was the youngest person to have open heart surgery at the age of just 11 months in 1968. 

The promising standardbred will now be known as Laz, in honour of Maryanne. 

The attention from visitors and a Telethon camera crew gave Major Survivor the chance to show exactly why he had been chosen as a therapy horse. Throughout the excitement, the young horse remained calm and relaxed. 

On retirement from racing, Major Survivor went to Racing and Wagering Western Australia’s Off the Track WA program for retraining before being warmly welcomed at RDA Carine. 

Head Coach Sarah Lamb said he had a bright future in equine therapy for people with disabilities such as muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and cerebral palsy. 

“Major is the most amazing horse I’ve ever met,” she said. 

“Although most of our other horses are over 20 years and mentally prepared to be a therapy horse, Major came to us as a smart and playful six-year-old who just wants to please you.”  

However, the education required for a therapy horse can be a heavy cost to a volunteer-based organisation, so RDA Carine were grateful to get help from Telethon for training and equipment.  

“We were excited to learn we had received the grant which will help cover costs such as saddles, rugs, veterinarian checks and highly specialised training,” Sarah said. 

“Horses activate the same back and pelvic muscles as humans when they walk so, for riders, it is a gentle way to exercise their muscles.” 

Together with dedicated coaches and volunteers, therapy horses make a huge difference to the lives of children and adults living with intellectual, physical, sensory and learning disabilities.  

Featured image: Animal Wellbeing Operational Manager, Kay Fuller, with Major Survivor (Laz) and Retraining and Rehoming Coordinator, Jordan Sprlyan.