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Carol's story

I am Carol and have been with RDA for 10 years. (As background, my personal story started back in 2012 when I went through a 26-year marriage break up.  It left me emotionally broken, with no self-confidence and low self-esteem. I moved to Coatesville and befriended my neighbor and her horse.)

I have always felt the need to give back to the community but had no special training. I heard about the RDA and it aligned with my desire to learn more about horses, maybe get my own one day and also to give back to the community. It took a lot of courage, I made contact and when I first walked through the barn door and saw the beehive of activity, I knew this is where I wanted to be. I learnt the basics about being around and working with the ponies and I was hooked. People at work started to notice a change in me and I was a much happier person. I became more assertive, and I knew this was due to the RDA.

My first experience observing the riders was quite emotional and the day leader told me to see it as a very happy time for the riders. This changed my perspective and working so closely with the riders gave me a whole new appreciation for life and all the different people in it. I learnt so much from the riders, their families and carers. Their resilience and courage were and still is an inspiration to me and when a rider speaks their first word or master a difficult task for the first time, it is heart-warming and a very proud and happy occasion.

I am truly blessed to be part of such a life-changing organization and treasure all the ponies, amazing volunteers and riders. RDA is still my Happy Place.

Carol Cronje

Volunteer since 2013

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