The Riding for Disabled Association (RDA) in Manawatu, has just purchased a saddle for its new horse, Prince, thanks to a $2,347 grant from New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT). The saddle can be adjusted to suit Prince, ensuring he is comfortable and his riders remain calm and relaxed.
By providing interaction with horses, RDA can help develop increased ability, independence and self- esteem in children and adults with physical, intellectual, emotional and social challenges.
At an average walk, a horse moves a rider 2,250 times in 30 minutes. Physiotherapists say there is no other way this movement can be replicated in a clinical situation. This is especially beneficial to people in wheelchairs, as the horse can help move their bodies in ways that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
To work successfully with disabled people, horses need to be at ease at all times, and that means having suitable gear. Margaret Bowler, RDA Manawatu president, says the grant for the new saddle will enable the organisation to help more people.
“We offer recreational, therapeutic and educational riding, and now that we have the new saddle, Prince will be comfortable giving rides to even more people who need therapy,” says Ms Bowler.
“We are very grateful to NZCT, the public and the community for the help they give us, we simply couldn’t do it alone,” says Ms Bowler.
Guy Sargent, NZCT Horizons Regional Advisory Committee chairman, says the trust was keen to assist.
“NZCT is committed to helping local communities,” says Mr Sargent. “We know how important the RDA is to Feilding locals, and we appreciate how difficult it can be raising funds for specialty gear like horse saddles. We were very happy to help this great cause.”
The RDA welcomes new volunteers who wish to become involved with the organisation, and provides full training for its team members.