Saddling up for a good cause

Jessica Borstelj is the joint winner of Casey''s Young Volunteer Award 2019.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Jessica Borstelj is more than happy to saddle up as a volunteer for Riding Develops Abilities (RDA) Doveton.

The 15-year-old student’s dedication was recognised at the 2019 Casey Volunteer Awards in July, as a joint recipient of the Young Volunteer prize.

The other joint recipient was Tarali Bendix, who at 11 years old coaches Berwick Flames Basketball Club junior coach.

Each fortnight, Jessica travels from Mt Waverley to help feed, groom and prepare the stable of horses.

She doesn’t avoid the less glamorous chores such as cleaning paddocks and water troughs.

The pay-off isn’t to ride the horses – they’re solely for the children and adults with a disability which is what the RDA charity is all about.

“It’s really nice to see them enjoying it. It’s an escape for them.

“I wanted to get more involved in horses. It’s a great way to improve my knowledge and improve other people’s lives.”

She keeps a close eye on the vets examining the steeds. She hopes to be an equine vet or involved elsewhere in the ‘horse industry’.

As for the volunteer award, she says it’s a fitting recognition for the RDA and its loyal volunteers.

“It’s really amazing to see all our hard work to help RDA has been recognised and seen.”