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A community-minded horse has reached the end of his tether, and is eyeing greener pastures.
Balclutha Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) stalwart Flame has reached the ripe old age of 25, and the charitable club that owns him is looking for a replacement .
Association president Rachel Smith said she hoped similarly ''community-minded'' people invested in the benefits horse-riding could bring to young disabled people would make donations towards a new horse for the group.
''We've set up a Givealittle page with a target of $10,000, but we'd be just as keen to hear from anyone with a good-natured older horse that might enjoy working with our young people.''
It would be ''a sad day'' if the group had to shut down after Flame's retirement, she said.
''There are a lot of kids who rely on us and look forward to [their visit] during the week, and it would be a real shame if we had to say to them, 'I'm sorry, but not today'.''
Balclutha RDA did have access to other horses, but they were privately owned, she said.
''Flame's our only dedicated RDA horse, but he's reached an age now where he deserves at least semi-retirement.''
Typically, the group's horses rode for four sessions every Saturday, with between 10 and 15 children and supervisors, Mrs Smith said.
Benefits included learning empathy, compassion, teamwork and patience.
''It's just fabulous to see the children grow and develop. You become proud parents.''
Although Flame was looking forward to retirement, he would miss his young charges, and they him, Mrs Smith believed.
''He's just lovely. He's been the perfect RDA horse.''