Riders play Power games in Collie

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About 40 riders of all ages and abilities from across the state visited Collie recently for the HorsePower Winter Games. 

Collie manager Jo Williams said HorsePower, previously known as Riding for the Disabled, created the local event to bring people together in a fun and relaxed environment. 

“It’s important to give our riders the opportunity to compete. Some of the adult riders learned to ride here and it’s great to see them come back each year and show our volunteers what can be done,” Jo said. 

“We nurture these people and give them the chance to learn but also to move on and develop. 

“Some of the riders here are assisted and some ride independently but the focus is always on ability rather than disability so each person competes in the way and at the pace that suits them.  

“There’s show jumping, a big undercover arena for games and forest trails with obstacle courses. 

“Some sports can be difficult for children with disabilities but a lot of those difficulties seem to evaporate when they’re on a horse and they can enjoy the challenge and competition. 

“The movement of the horse is great for developing core strength, improved balance and confidence.” 

Among the riders was Jason Watson, 13, who won a courage prize at the games and has been developing his coordination and riding skills with Off The Track WA standardbred Little Red. 

Racing and Wagering Western Australia supports HorsePower in a partnership which Chief Executive Officer Ian Edwards said included retraining and donation of suitable retired racehorses such as Little Red along with supporting the costs of care. 

“It’s very rewarding to see our Off the Track WA program transform racehorses into therapy horses who in turn transform the lives of people,” Ian said. 

“We carefully select horses for HorsePower to match their needs and arrange specialist training for work with people who have physical, intellectual, emotional and social challenges. 

“After a trial period to make sure we have the right match, the horse is donated to HorsePower.”