It is 7:15 on a very cold slightly wet morning in Melbourne and once again we are warm and cosy at home greeting every one as they arrive on Zoom screen instead of racing to a morning breakfast for a Rotary meeting! It certainly a wonderful alternative as we are in further COVID19 lockdown. Ian began by handing the hosting job to our enthusiastic Jo. Jo welcomed us all and mentioned those who did not seem to be present such as Margie, Glenda, Liz, Sue, and an apology from Kevin. Paul was greatly visible with his background of the St. Kilda Football Club Flags and Scarf! Yay for the win! She then introduced Pres. Geoff.
Pres. Geoff began by reminding us that it was again another strange week with not much happening other than it was indeed a strange week. He again urged us to look our families and our local businesses as while some are not challenged others are worried. The worry concerns the social and economic and mental aspects of the lockdown. Pres. Geoff continued to inform us that our guest speakers on the 12th August are our DG and AG and hoped we will all be here to greet them. He also mentioned that he might be successful in getting the Australian Ambassador to the UN. If we have specific questions it would be advantageous to send them to either Helen or to Pres. Geoff.
Jo then introduced Jane Baker to address us. Jane Baker has been volunteering for the organization of Riding for the Disabled (RDA) for 20 years. The actual organization has been operating for 45 years, 40 of which has been in the location in Moorabbin behind Karkarook Park. There are 3silent tiers of RDA, the National office, the State office and Moorabbin. Moorabbin is one of 24 centers with 8 horses and 100 riders and 100 volunteers and has been the longest centre in Victoria. Marriott Services have riders who come on Fridays. The riders ages range from 5 years to 65 years.  Quite a few riders are paraplegics start with RDA as often injuries are acquired and the riders were not born with these disabilities. RDA likes to present the horses as normal as possible. The volunteers walk beside the riders and help the riders to sit up. There are a lot of autistic riders and are encouraged to learn to be able to ride. One child who first came could hardly sit up and used to have to look at his knees. Riding built up his body-core and with help can now ride a horse! Games have been invented that bring excitement to the horse riding and give incentive and encouragement to steer and even race and be best at something. There is a trotting track which used to be Epsom training course with a finishing line. Racing is beneficial and gives extra excitement. Due to COVID 19 lockdown the activity has to be shut down. The horses are having a “holiday” in Tooradin where they go every Christmas. Tooradin is 11/2 hours away so visiting there is out of the question. COVID rules require that each rider has their own hat and distancing is 1.5 metres. This is not manageable either as some riders need to be picked up and lifted and held on to. So RDA cannot operate this year so no income. There is an emergency fund in order to feed the horses and having the horses at Tooradin where the owner cuts her own hay is actually cheaper than having them at Moorabbin. Jane said that it is disappointing not to be able to see the horses and not to be able to work them. Ian showed us some photos that Jane had prepared showing the rider who had taken up riding at the age of 65. Some riders need to have a walker beside the horse and a few can ride independently.  There were photos of the hay storage and of a horse being reshod. There was a photo of a special round feeding bin with a special lid that controls the amount of hay the horses can eat. It costs about $15,000 for 3 months. The horses are matched to the different riders’ needs, so there are tall, short, thin and wide ones. The movements are judged and it is all technically intense. Jo made special thanks to Jane ad in doing so said that it is always important to give thanks. Jane in conclusion made mention of the kindness of the Kingston Council and that the RDA is at Moorabbin on a pepper corn rent. Councilor Ron advised her that there are government grants that can be sought which jane said that one has been successful. Thank you once again, Jane for coming and informing us so well about the important job and experience you are offering to our disabled and we too extend the invitation that Jo offered to join us at our morning Zoom meeting.
Jo took the opportunity to advise us that due to COVID we are not able to go ahead with the MS dinner and except for one lot who donated, she would return the money. Jo also advised us that those who joined in for the Sunday morning exercise with Zoom how much fun it was and everyone is welcome to be there next Sunday at 10:00 am. She continued to inform us that with catching up with Merv who is Past President of RC Caulfield of the fantastic work that club is doing in Murrumbeena. Murrumbeena has been rather dull and tired. The community together with the Rotary Club of Caulfield Initiative, “Go fund Me” and the artist, Anthony Breslin, the area will have a huge bright mural painted opposite the new railway station, corner Murrumbeena Rd and Railway Parade. Anthony is a local artist and is well known for his children’s books. The meeting finished on a fun plus note with Tim’s Sergeant session. As usual football was the mainstay of fining us and the fact that on this day in 1774 oxygen was recognized and named! Jo closed the meeting letting us know that it was a nice experience to host, with Larry offering to be host next week! Be Safe; Be Well and ROTARY OPENS OPPORTUNITIES
Zilla (Bulletin Reporter)