"For most of our riders the Marlborough RDA is the only place where they get an opportunity to be involved with horse therapy"
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Visit Molesworth Station
Marlborough Riding for the Disabled was established in 1972 and is now one of the largest RDAs in New Zealand.
We provide therapeutic, horse-related activities for children and adults with physical, intellectual, emotional and social challenges.
Through our early intervention programme we also provide a space for parents and caregivers of pre and primary school-aged children with disabilities to get together, which has turned into a bit of an unofficial support group where they can have a cup of tea and share ideas with each other.
I’m a committee member and assistant coach and have volunteered here for about 10 years. I used to ride horses a lot growing up and my son rode here when he was in primary school, so it seemed like a good fit to help out here a day a week.
With input from caregivers, teachers, paediatricians and physiotherapists we set goals for our riders and it is just awesome seeing the riders come in as wee tots or primary or secondary school age and develop their riding skills and confidence over the years, with some going on to ride independently.
For most of our riders this is the only place where they get an opportunity to be involved with horse therapy.
Riding a horse helps to develop strength, balance, coordination, and muscle control for those with physical challenges.
For people with intellectual, emotional or social challenges, working with horses helps develop and improve their self-esteem, social skills and independence.
There is something about horses that has a calming effect on most people, it’s pretty amazing.
We were impacted by the lockdown like everyone else. Part of our income comes from rider fees, so when we had to close down, it switched off our income stream, yet we still had operational costs, staff costs and 16 horses to feed.
Fortunately, we had access to the Covid wage grant for paid staff, and we were able to re-home most of the horses for the duration of lockdown.
We were definitely missed by our riders during lockdown, and it was so lovely when we reopened, seeing all their big smiles when they got back on their horses again.
Going forward, funding is going to be a challenge, with less funding and sponsorship available and more need in the community.
We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the kindness of these businesses: Churchill Private Hospital, Clarke and Haack Construction, Hardy-Jones Clark, Lawson's Dry Hills Wines, Morgan Plumbing, Smart Alliances Limited, Smith & Sons Renovations & Extensions, Talley's Group Ltd, Marlborough Grape Growers Cooperative, Marlborough Lines, Nomolos Architectural Design, Pru & Co., Radich Law, Saints Investment Group, Super Liquor Grove Road, V Williams, Vets On Alabama, Norwood NZ, Image signs and BC-Computers.