The relationship between the Vodacom Durban July and the ground-breaking South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA) in Summerveld stretches back more than ten years and the annual donation from Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event has helped change the lives of the young boys and girls that ride at the equestrian centre outside Hillcrest every week.
Spearheaded by Tracey Cumming and her team of volunteers, SARDA caters for schools in the greater Durban area that care for children with a wide variety of physical and mental challenges, using the closely supervised rides to offer each child individualised therapy sessions at the Ridgetop Equestrian Centre.
The rides aim to provide for each child’s unique physical, cognitive, emotional and sensory integration needs and under the guidance of their senior instructors, each youngster is guided through a series of fun exercises, each with a specific goal in mind that will contribute to improving their physical conditioning or mental cognitive ability.
Through support from Lotto and a variety of corporate donors and their annual donation from the Vodacom Durban July SARDA has been able to expand its operations to include a vast covered riding arena that enables them to offer daily rides irrespective of the weather, and a new sensory trail, while still covering all its costs of stabling, feeding and caring for its horses.
“There is an obvious synergy between the Vodacom Durban July and the inspiring work that SARDA does,” said Gold Circle’s Graeme Hawkins. “We pack into Greyville Racecourse to watch the best thoroughbreds in the country racing for the premier crown in African horse racing, and then see horses making such a profound impact on the lives of these young men and women.
“It is a pleasure and privilege to be able to channel some of the proceeds from the Vodacom Durban July to SARDA each year and to share the many touching stories of how these weekly rides impact on their lives,” he added.
SARDA relies heavily on donations and the time of volunteers to offer these weekly rides. Any interested parties can reach them through www.sardadurban.org.za