Catherine has loved riding horses since she was first held on a horse at 6 months old by her parents, Wendy and Michael Hulse. Now as a mother to 8 year old Charlie, and partner to Gary, she is battling brain cancer, first diagnosed in 2010. Catherine loves to ride horses. As a child she rode regularly, and attended Pony Club at Congo. From the age of eleven she was allowed to ride her pony the 13 km all the way to Moruya from her parent’s property at Burra Creek’ to a friend’s house on the Hill over the Moruya Bridge. The two girls would clean their ponies’ tack and then rise early for the 16 km ride to Congo Pony Club on Sunday mornings.
When Catherine finished school she trained as a physiotherapist at Charles Sturt University at Albury. In 2003, during this exacting course she became aware of symptoms and her brain cancer was diagnosed. She started her treatment and then underwent her first brain operation on her 21st birthday. With courage she returned to finish her 4 year course and she was able to work as a physiotherapist for a while, both in Canberra and in Moruya.
However, in the last 14 years, the four brain operations, chemo and radiotherapy have left Catherine with right sided joint restriction due to tight musculature, reduced strength and balance, and some difficulty with speech. In spite of this, when Catherine was introduced to Riding for the Disabled Eurobodalla at Susanne Feeney’s Ellesmere Riding School, Turlinjah, she immediately accepted the challenge. After an 8 year gap since last riding she still said “I feel at home in the saddle’.
This March, Susanne Feeney and Christine Vincent, both qualified RDA coaches, Phillipa (Pip) coach in training, and volunteers Jan, Amanda, Tracy and Chloe, took seven challenged riders, and four of their trained horses to the Sydney Royal Easter Show and entered the Mounted Games competition on March 24th to compete against six other NSW, RDA groups. Overcoming all difficulties Catherine riding Hazy won over other riders in this competition and was awarded the sash for Supreme Champion!
The other brave entrants from our RDA were Nicole, Joshua, Ali, Vicky, Caitlin, and Jessie.
And their horses, not to be outdone, were Lachie, Hazy, Millie and true blue Harry, an Australian Stockhorse, ridden by Joshua. On this special occasion Harry won the competition for ‘Horse of the Year’! Harry, as a young horse participated in the opening of the Sydney Olympic Games.
Above: Catherine, Horse Harry, and RDA at Sydney Royal Easter Show
Above: Catherine (right) with her blue sash .
Above: Catherine is being presented with the sash of supreme champion out of the 6 NSW . RDA groups competing. Her coach on the left is Christine who had won award for best Volunteer Encouragement Coach the previous week.
Above: Harry ‘Horse of the Year’!
Photos provided by: Anne Cormick
Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Eurobodalla began in October 2015 and has continued to offer this wonderful therapeutic experience to challenged children of all ages over 3 years, and to young and older adults. The group has been very grateful for the assistance given in the initial ‘setting up’ by local groups and kind individuals and by our Council and we need your help once again, in the purchase of a Defibrillator to help with safety in case of an adverse event and also for emergency use for the general public in the area. The RDA volunteers, have been successful in obtaining a grant for part purchase by the NSW department of Sport, but have to raise a further $950 by September to complete the purchase and attend the training program for its use.
If you can contribute towards the Defibrillator for our RDA group you will be making happily challenged riders like our champion, Catherine, and others, safer both now and in the future. Our training day for use of the Defibrillator will be on Sunday 23rd September, at
Ellesmere Equine Centre, 64 Western Boundary Road, Turlinjah, NSW 2537 and will be open and free to all members of the public.
The bank details for Riding for the Disabled NSW Eurobodalla Centre are as follows:
Bank Branch: IMB .Moruya. BSB 641800 200096472
Or if you care to donate at ‘Give, Now’ or ‘Go Fund Me” you will be sent an immediate tax receipt.
If we are fortunate enough to raise more than $950.00 the balance will go towards special aids and improved access for our challenged riders.
If you wish to contact Susanne Feeney, Director of our Eurobodalla branch of RDA, her email address is: email@example.com