Miss Universe Singapore finalists saddle up with kids at charity event
MUS finalists and Singapore Children's Society residents feed and ride ponies at Turf Club Riding Centre
In a twist to this year's Miss Universe Singapore (MUS) theme, Vie for a Beautiful Cause, 15 of the pageant's finalists rode for a cause instead.
On Saturday Sept 2, they saddled up for a charity event at the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre, spending the morning with 20 children aged between five and 15 from the Singapore Children's Society Sunbeam Place.
Together, they toured the stables for a pony feeding and patting session and even went on pony rides.
With 11 service centres - including Sunbeam Place - islandwide, the Singapore Children's Society provides shelter for and nurtures children and youth in need.
The finalists and children were introduced to one other and given a briefing before horsing around.
Each finalist was partnered with a young beneficiary before they were split into two groups, swopping activities later.
"I like that all of us got to be part of what makes (the children) smile and that I can bring joy to them, even if it was through just a small act."Miss Universe Singapore finalist Mandi Cheung
Each activity lasted around 45 minutes, giving everyone ample time for interaction and to get to know one other better.
It was finalist Ashley Rita Wong's first time getting up close and personal with horses.
The 24-year-old tuition teacher told The New Paper: "I wasn't scared but I was terrified for my partner as she was worried, but I helped her to be more confident to overcome her fear."
Wong's partner, a nine-year-old girl, said: "I had a lot of fun with Ashley, she was kind and helpful.
"She supported me when I was getting up on the horse, and she taught me to be brave as I was scared of the horses."
Wong, already involved in other charity organisations, such as the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society, found "the area of children a different one to explore".
She said: "Through this event, I learnt to be more gracious and comfortable with children, which made it meaningful for me."
Finalist Mandi Cheung, 22, enjoyed the combination of both her passions.
A lover of animals and children, the flight stewardess felt that the experience was a memorable one.
She said: "I like that all of us got to be part of what makes (the children) smile and that I can bring joy to them, even if it was through just a small act."
The residents from Sunbeam Place had a good time too.
An 11-year-old boy said: "I really liked their company, and I had an awesome time."
Another boy, 12, added: "It was my first time riding a pony, and I would love to come back again as it was really fun."