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Huge benefits from North Shore Riding for the Disabled

Huge benefits from North Shore Riding for the Disabled

Sophie Tuenter, 14, enjoys her time with horse Raisin

23 July 2014

The changes undergone by children who attend Riding for the Disabled can be dramatic.

10 year-old Imogen was born with Global Developmental Delay, and other intellectual disabilities. As a result she has difficulty focusing, interpreting situations and socialising with others.

Imogen’s mother Nicola says after starting at Riding for the Disabled the changes in Imogen were swift and noticed by friends, family and her school.

“Imogen has finally found something she adores. It has changed her whole persona from a little girl with no confidence and huge frustration to a happy and more focused child.”

The Harcourts Foundation, and Tandem Realty business owners Colin Hair and Nick Langdon, are supporting North Shore Riding for the Disabled through the donation of a $5,000 grant.

North Shore Riding for the Disabled president Andrea Elmer says it is greatly appreciated as the charity survives purely on donations and the goodwill of volunteers.

Over 90 children and young people from the North Shore and Rodney regularly attend North Shore Riding for the Disabled, which has been in operation since 1975.

The children have a wide range of disabilities, including cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.

Andrea Elmer says as well as children and young people from their special satellite units, North Shore and Rodney schools also send some of their young people who they believe would benefit socially from the experience.

“It’s a kind of magic that happens when the kids come into contact with the horses. The horses may give our trainers a run for their money sometimes, but with the children they are calm and gentle. There is a connection between the horses and their young riders that is truly wonderful to see,” Andrea says.

In addition, the experience of riding a horse is very similar to the physiology of walking. This means children who have limited mobility are activating and relaxing the muscles of the trunk, spine, hips and pelvis while riding, which has huge therapeutic benefits.

The Harcourts Foundation to date has raised $2.6 million to help local groups improve the lives of their communities.


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