Shrieks of excitement, high-fives and giggles were aplenty when the Riding for the Disabled Association held their annual Christmas party at Illowa’s High View Horse Complex on Wednesday.
Twenty-five regular riders, aged between five and thirty, cheered each other on as they played games, tackled an obstacle course and were awarded certificates for their achievements on horseback.
The students, predominantly from Warrnambool’s Special Development School, meet weekly at the complex for horse riding lessons.
This week’s event marked the end of the school year.
Celebrations included a barbecue, games and party food.
The clear favourite at the midweek gathering was Santa and his four-legged friend Reuben the donkey.
RDA volunteer Michael McCluskey said it was a delight to watch the children grow in confidence over the 12 months.
“They really love it,” he said. “And it’s a buzz to see them having a good time.
“We’re grateful to all the community groups that regularly make this happen, especially now at Christmas.”
With pressing commitments including the delivery of gifts to Russia, Disneyland and the Warrnambool Mayor’s house, Santa was swift in distributing photos and certificates before disappearing eastbound.