By DAVID HILL
Des Moore is stepping back after seven years at the helm of the North Canterbury Riding for the Disabled (RDA).
Mr Moore and his wife Rita were instrumental in establishing the local branch in 2009, after 40 years involvement in the disabled sector in Canterbury.
He served as president for seven years, before stepping down at the annual meeting in April, with Lin Bisman taking over the top job.
“It was time.
“I just felt I was running out of a bit of drive and I don’t think it’s right for someone who doesn’t have the full commitment to stay in the role.”
However, Mr Moore says he is still “heavily involved in supporting the organisation” and he was “honoured” to receive a life membership at the annual meeting.
“It was quite emotional because I don’t think anybody goes into these things for the awards.”
Mrs Moore was also North Canterbury RDA secretary for the first four years.
The Moores became involved in the Christchurch branch of IHC 40 years ago to support their son Graeme and Mr Moore went on to serve five years as branch chairperson.
After moving to Rangiora, the couple was asked to start up an IHC branch in North Canterbury, after Mrs Moore completed a survey to gauge local interest.
Mr Moore then served six to eight years as North Canterbury IHC president over two stints.
The couple has also served 25 years with special olympics in North Canterbury.
In the late 1980s Graeme became interested in horse riding, so the family became involved in the Christchurch RDA and travelled around the top of the South Island for special olympics and equine events.
In Rangiora, Mr Moore was manager of the Rangiora Academy – now the North Canterbury
Community College – where he was instrumental in establishing an equine course.
“I was rural born and bred, so I was used to horses on the outskirts of Christchurch.
“Once that was developed, I said to the tutor Kate O’Connor (who is now the manager) I would love to get an RDA going in Rangiora – so she said: `well, you’d better do something about it, Des’.”
It took him a couple of years to get round to it, but eventually he approached the local special olympics committee and Rangiora Rotary to put up some funding to promote a community meeting.
It was held in the community college cafeteria in 2009 and 60 people turned up, confirming there was plenty of support.
The North Canterbury RDA began with a roll of 12 riders and has grown to 37 riders, running eight riding sessions a week.
The branch now has a purpose built pavilion and facility in partnership with the Rangiora Pony Club on Waimakariri District Council land at Milton Reserve.
“It’s a huge amount to achieve in seven years, but I expect a lot of myself.
“Not everyone wants to step up to the plate, but if you’re prepared to do something my experience is that people will support you.”