Whangaparaoa Charity Equestrian 4 Everyone has only just started term one of 2017, but while their clients may have been on holiday, the Board and some volunteers have been busy improving and expanding their capabilities.
The charity won a grant from Grace Gives at the end of last year, and along with an anonymous donation, and some very generous volunteers providing design and build skills, it enabled them to upgrade from their small aged mounting block(s) to a fit for purpose accessible mounting ramp. The ramp helps clients with mobility, and visual impairments mount their horse or pony in safety, and makes the job of staff and volunteers supporting them, much easier too. It also future proofs the organisation, as the ramp is fully wheelchair compliant (although they are not currently equiped with lifting equipment) and it is transportable.
Another grant from Foundation North, allowed the charity to purchase new tack for the horses that enhances their riders' safety and stability in the saddle.
In addition they have acquired another pony. "Tommy Tucker" may be a short, plain, bay pony of undetermined heritage, but he will join an elite group of horses that have the very special qualities required of therapy horses. After settling in, he has already provided his first lessons for Special Olympics Hibiscus Coast, who partner with, and use Equestrian 4 Everyone's facilties.
And people haven't been forgotten. Equestrian 4 Everyone recently joined up with the Massey Career Hub, and Auckland University volunteer centre to bring in more recruits. Their programmes offer students working in physio, psychology, early education, language and many more areas a real opportunity to work in the field as volunteers and gain some hands on experience that may be invaluable to them. The partnership has been a great source of new volunteers, and while initially it places some tension on training so many new recruits, the long term future for the organisation is greatly enhanced by having a pool of eager volunteers, and potential partner therapists when they qualify.
The next step for the charity is to secure some long term sponsorships. Tommy Tucker is their first horse purchased, and sponsored through 2017 by Argon Construction. They hope to develop a number of other sponsors who value the benefits brought to the community through the work that Equestrian 4 Everyone does.