VICTORIA-BOUND: Ribbon-winner Duncan the horse, pictured with Peter Smith, needs support to travel to Victoria.
VICTORIA-BOUND: Ribbon-winner Duncan the horse, pictured with Peter Smith, needs support to travel to Victoria. Jodie Dixon

Duncan's chance for national glory

RIBBON winner Duncan (the horse) has been invited to take part in the Riding for the Disabled Association's National Championships.

The competition runs from Wednesday, October 28, to Friday, October 30, at the Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre in near Geelong in Victoria.

Duncan stands at a little over 14 hands and is a fighting fit athlete, and he wants the opportunity to enter the competition.

Duncan has a charming personality and believes he can bring home the winning ribbons and champions cup.

Duncan's rider and owner, Peter Smith, said the cost was outside what he could afford.

"I'm 70, disabled and on the pension, and it's the same for many other riders," he said.

"If Duncan can get down to Werribee Park, other riders will be able to ride him."

Teams from across Australia are struggling to afford the transport costs for the horse, gear, accommodation, stable fees and other hurdles included finding horses suitable for disabled riders.

Riders with disabilities require horses that are accredited and deemed safe for the riders. Duncan is accredited, and he needs support to get involved.

The very proud horse is embarrassed and doesn't like asking for help, but he knows he needs to.

He is sure he can win, and is willing to let other riders use him for the championship.

He just needs humans to help him get there and back safely.

Duncan came out of retirement and has won numerous ribbons in dozens of categories.

Mr Smith, who is from the Gin Gin Pony Club, is asking for a little support for Duncan.

Duncan himself is unable to work to earn money, as he is a horse. So he is unable to fund the trip, his gear, Mr Smith and his wife, Margaret Cooper-Smith.

"Duncan's transport alone is $800," Mrs Cooper-Smith said.

Mr Smith desperately wants to attend the invitation-only event, not only for himself, but for Duncan.

"It's about Duncan," Mr Smith said.

Human athletes find it easier to find funding or sponsors, whereas the animals are costly.

"We are very grateful to be given $1000 from Riding for the Disabled Association to assist, but the nominations close on October 9 and we are worried we won't have the money in time to book and pay for everything," Mrs Cooper-Smith said.

A worried and concerned Mrs Cooper-Smith said she had to book flights, and the event was only three weeks away.

"But the cost for everything else also worries me more," she said.

Mrs Cooper-Smith has concerns they won't have enough funds to cover all the costs involved, and is asking the community to help in any way they

can.

"We know Duncan can win, and so does Duncan," Mr Smith said.

For further information, or to help contact Peter Smith by phone on 4157 4530 or email phinabark@ bigpond.com.



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