By providing interaction with horses, Wellington Riding for the Disabled Association (WRDA) helps develop increased ability, independence and self- esteem in children and adults with physical, intellectual, emotional and social challenges.
WRDA receives no government funding and depends on donations for its survival. WRDA Operations Manager Toni Gray, whose salary is partly funded by NZCT, says the organisation currently has 38 clients doing weekly riding therapy, but there is an ever increasing wait list of new clients.
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.
As well as delivering individual and group therapy sessions, WRDA works in partnership with several community organisations, such as the Wellesley Community Action, Child Youth and Family, and several high needs and low decile schools, to give people in need a positive experience with its horses.
WRDA’s 2014 achievements include: