KENDALL Riding for the Disabled (RDA) has set itself a $100,000 fundraising goal to purchase their own land after lengthy negotiations to stay at the showground failed.
The Camden Haven Pastoral Agricultural Horticultural and Industrial Society Incorporated has given the volunteer community group six months to vacate the showground at Kendall.
The Society says it's been advised it can no longer stable the horses on-site due to safety concerns and that the negotiations with Kendall RDA had "broken down and become untenable".
Kendall RDA vice president Jenny McGregor was deeply disappointed by this claim saying they had on numerous occasions, offered to provide fencing on-site at the showground at their own expense to alleviate any perceived risk. That offer was not considered, she said.
Kendall RDA, through the tireless work of its volunteers, has been providing riding experiences for people with disabilities for 25 years. It has been operating from the showground since 2016.
In March 2016, the Show Society and Kendall RDA signed a licence agreement permitting the RDA to become a user of the showground to conduct riding sessions.
"We moved there under the assumption that it would be our forever home," Mrs McGregor said.
The group has now been directed to remove its horses and has six months to vacate the facility.
The Society offered for the RDA to still use the showground on its riding days.
Mrs McGregor said it was not feasible to stable the horses off-site and then float them to the showground for the two days riding lessons were conducted.
"This has been going on for some time and has been extremely distressing for us and the riders," she said.
"It is devastating for the group given the amount of work that has been put in and the money we have spent to set up there."
RDA has horses on agistment at the showground, stables, machinery sheds, yards, an office area and the full sized arena.
"We just want to look forward now and find a new place to call home where we have everything together and we can get back to providing the service we were doing."
The group has 48 volunteers, seven horses and 24 riders aged between two and 60 with varying levels of disability from cerebral palsy to Downs Syndrome, visual impairment and autism.
"You only have to see the smiles on the faces of our riders when they get on the horses, the enjoyment they get out of it. They all look forward to it and they all have their favourite horse," Mrs McGregor said.
Horses are being generously kept on paddocks between Stewarts River and Bobs Creek.
Mrs McGregor cannot thank the community enough for throwing its support behind their group.
"We really just want to raise enough money to purchase our own land and then it's ours forever," she said.
"We have a great community - and the people of Kendall have always been very good to us."
Anyone wanting to make a donation to the Kendall RDA's Find A Home fundraiser can go to their GoFundMe page.
So far they have raised $1,300 towards a $100,000 goal.
One rider shared her thoughts about why she loves Kendall RDA and the special relationship she has with her favourite horse Faith.
"Every Tuesday I look forward (to) coming to Kendall RDA. (The) people are so lovely and friendly," she wrote.
"I love coming to Kendall RDA, I feel welcome there. Me and Faith have got a good friendship.
"Together Faith and I are a good rider. Faith knows she loves me and I love her.
"Faith listens to me a lot. Faith gets her ears up. That means Faith is happy when I ride (her).
"Faith will always be in my heart know matter what."