Taj Reed (7) came to RDA when his mother Amanda had exhausted all other avenues to enable her son to walk.
After being born premature at 33 weeks in 2006, Taj weighed just 1560g. He spent nearly five months in hospital until he reached the required weight for open-heart surgery.
The next two years of his life were spent at Princess Margaret Hospital for physiotherapy, cardiology, respiratory medicine, hydrotherapy, dermatology, ophthalmology, dietetics, speech pathology, occupational therapy, neurology and genetics.
At five, Taj, who has cerebral palsy, autism, 50 per cent vision and intellectual disabilities, was the youngest rider in the RDAWA Dressage Championships at Brookleigh Equestrian Estate.
‘Doctors predicted Taj would never walk but one week after RDA Taj took his first steps,’ Ms Reed said.
‘This year it was truly inspiring to see his happy face as he was awarded three first place ribbons and a fourth place at Brookleigh.
‘Today he is walking well and falling over rarely. He has started at his new school St Brigids, in Middle Swan, where he is a keen participant in sport and is very close to being able to run.
‘I am extremely thankful to all the RDA volunteers who give up their time every week to assist Taj to achieve his goals.’