BALLINA and District Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) volunteers have farewelled a special friend, Roy.
Roy was one of the horses at the North Teven RDA centre and passed away on November 6.
Roy had an attack of colic and, after a discussion with a vet, the decision was made to euthanase the much-loved horse.
Roy arrived at the RDA centre in April 2007 after being rescued by the RSPCA in February that year.
Secretary of Ballina RDA, Kerry Johnston, said the RSPCA officer who rescued Roy promised he would find a loving home.
"When found, Roy was in the final stages of starvation and tripping over sticks on the ground," Kerry said.
"We decided to accept the care of Roy as a gesture of thanks to all the wonderful horses who have given us so much.
"Our caring for him was not dependent on him becoming a ridden horse for the centre.
"He would be cared for and loved for the rest of his life."
Roy arrived at the centre in good condition with little indication of the terrible times he had experienced, although he still had eye and hoof problems.
Roy was eventually ridden by very young riders as well as teenagers.
But in 2008, he started to show signs of stiffness in his neck and back and he was retired from the riding program.
"Roy taught us to be forgiving and not to hold any malice in our hearts," Kerry said.
"Pure unconditional love flowed from this horse to everyone who met him - young and old. All have been touched by his gentle loving nature. Many hearts were healed by being in the presence of this horse."
Roy's former owner was fined $18,000 by the court for cruelty.