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Leisel Shepherd

a long time North Shore rider

Leisel started riding with North Shore Riding for the Disabled when she was five years old.  She first came with Red Beach School and then with Orewa College when she was older. 

Defying doctor's "expectations" for a bleak future, the 23-year-old has Down syndrome, but her developmental delays haven't stopped her from going into business as a Nutrimetics consultant, serving up skincare tips to the many customers she's become a hit with.

Find out more by following Leisel’s life on Facebook

Leisel has now found fame on TVNZ's new series Down for Love.  The new show follows six people living with Down syndrome on their journey to find love.  Leisel is one of them and not only celebrated her television debut but also finding love with her boyfriend Brayden Pettigrew, whom she met on the series.

"He is my true love and my handsome Prince Charming," says Leisel.  While they both signed up for the show to find that special someone, they also hope to show the world that people living with Down syndrome are just like anyone else.

A confident swimmer, Leisel is also hoping to one day qualify for the Special Olympics in freestyle and breaststroke.

Brenda, Leisel’s Mum says that North Shore Riding for the Disabled has been an important part of Leisel’s development as she gains confidence. She continues to grow as a rider and is working towards mastering a rising trot as she remains on her journey to independent riding. Leisel just loves the horses at North Shore RDA and really enjoys caring for them.

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