ON THE ground, she needs a little extra help – but on horseback, little Cindee Rose has newfound freedom.
The six-year-old Boggabri girl has been able to ride her horse unassisted for the first time, thanks to some fundraising that allowed her family to buy a custom, handmade saddle.
Cindee has cerebral palsy and had always wanted to ride horses like her older sisters but was unable to support herself on horseback until now.
Dad Scott Rose said Cindee walked with a frame or used a wheelchair, and had needed a special belt and helpers on either side to support her when she rode her horse, Paris.
The Roses had been researching special saddles that would allow her to ride solo, but they were looking at more than $4600.
But through the efforts of Boggabri Pony Club and the Road Boss Rally, that expense was taken care of.
Glenn Davis from Davis Saddlery Tamworth made the saddle, Cindee received it on a Saturday, and the next day she was able to try it out at the Boggabri Pony Club school holiday camp.
Mr Rose said she was riding on her own within three days.
“We’re beside her when she trots, but just walking along she can do that on her own,” he said.
“She loves it; she loves animals, horses especially.
“She has two sisters – 19 and 14 – who ride too, and she wants to be like them.
“This gives her a little bit of freedom; gives her her legs.”
Smiles all ’round
Boggabri Pony Club president Craig Birrell said the Roses were very deserving of the helping hand.
“Cindee has always got such a positive vibe around the club that rubs off on people,” Mr Birrell said.
“The Rose family always turn up in force and are always happy to help out around the club, and having Cindee be able to ride solo is a great reason to smile.”
Mr Birrell said the donation had been sparked by a conversation between the pony club and the rally.
“We were playing host to an event for them, and around the campfire afterward they asked if there was a worthy cause to donate to, and I told them about Cindee’s saddle,” he said.
“We had been raising money to help toward the saddle on the night and around the club, but the overall donation came from the rally.
“They really deserve a lot of credit for helping Cindee.”
Jamie Lawson from the Road Boss Rally said it was satisfying to be able to help.
“The rally are aligned with a charity called Givit, and to know that the funds raised by both organisations is going to such a worthy cause is very rewarding,” Mr Lawson said.
‘What it’s all about’
Mr Davis said he’d made the saddle to sit closer to the horse’s back, with a deep seat so Cindee would feel secure. The custom fenders put her in the correct riding position and help keep her balanced.
“Something like this is more rewarding than making a saddle for someone who’s won the Warwick Gold Cup,” Mr Davis said.
“It was a just a real joy to be a part of it.
“It was pretty stressful, too – many times I had it sitting on the bench and I’d walk around it thinking, ‘Hmm. Hmm … hmmmm.”
Mr Davis said that, with years of experience and saddlery in his genes, he could normally make a saddle within a week but this one took two.
“I was so worried to get it right for Cindee … it was extremely important to me to have it right,” he said.
“Then the family sent me some photos, and my wife and I were so happy to see the joy on her face.
“They say they can’t get her out of it now, which is fantastic; that’s what it’s all about.”