Yes, a big WELCOME to our very first Quarterly Newsletter!
We have been talking for some time now about publishing a regular Newsletter to our North Shore RDA community and it’s exciting for us to get the first one out there at last.
Our aim is to publish one each Term, to keep everyone updated on what we are doing, how we are progressing and – from time to time – even asking for your help.
There’s no doubt at all that 2020 was a big struggle for us all. We had to close our operations for many weeks last year as it’s not possible for us to welcome our riders whilst in any Covid Level above Level 1. It was disappointing for us, but we know for sure that it was even more upsetting for our riders who were missing out on their weekly dose of horse therapy!
Hopefully, that is now behind us and we can look forward to a far less disrupted programme for the rest of this year and beyond.
We hope you enjoy reading about our progress as a group.
The Coach's Brief
Last year we were sadly interrupted by the Covid19 pandemic lockdowns and Term 1 this year seems to be no different. We are all, however, accepting this as our ‘new normal’ and are better equipped and informed to navigate through the restrictions. But, enough about Covid.
It's always an exciting time of the year here at the Barn. Riders are sharing stories of holiday adventures and new experiences. It has been a bumper term for new riders entering the programme. A whole lot of riders are re-joining us at the barn, too, and some riders have moved onto our Graduate programme.
For those of you who haven’t heard of our Graduate programme, here is some information. It is run on a Thursday and is geared towards independently mobile riders who wish to pursue horse riding as a hobby or a sport. Riders in the programme take their riding more seriously and are learning the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required for a beginner rider to prepare, ride, and look after a horse. Riders spend time riding off lead and are expected to wear the correct riding gear (see picture of Ruby).
It’s a great way to take the next step to rider independence. It can be challenging; the riders are expected to pick up their horse’s poo if their business is done in the barn. They spend a significant amount of time grooming and they also get homework and tests. If you’d like to enquire about the programme, please get in touch.
There is some excitement in the air, you may have caught wind of a new Sensory Trail being built. This trail will add to the existing one and will be a great way to connect with nature. Stay tuned as we wait in anticipation for the opening.
Until the next Coach’s Brief. Stay Safe.
Ruby is on Indi and is showing good posture and correct rein contact. Well done Ruby!
Getting to Know Our Horses
Many of you will already know one or two of our horses as you’ve ridden them, but we felt it would be good to tell you something about each of these amazing characters who give so much to help our riders succeed. So, each Newsletter we will be profiling a member of our beautiful herd here at North Shore RDA and to start us off with a bang, we are introducing Rocky! Many of you know him well, he is our resident ‘Grumpy Old Man’.
Rocky has an amazing nature and is loved by the riders and Volunteers alike. He’s a Rockstar! (Not to forget Lenny, our resident photo-bomber!)
In his younger days Rocky was a show jumper, competing all around the North Island at a high level, even competing at Horse of the Year (Hoy)!
Rocky came to us at North Shore RDA when his owner retired him from the show circuit. He is a lovely dark bay X Breed pony, with 2 white socks, a white star on his forehead and a white stripe down his nose. He gets beautiful dapples in his coat in the summer months and looks like a hairy teddy bear in the winter. Now the ripe old age of 23, he is our oldest herd member.
Rocky has ‘been there, done that and got the T-shirt’ – he knows what he wants and when he wants it! He’s full of character and a very valued member of our team.
Rocky loves to jump from paddock to paddock over the tape so he can go and socialise with the rest of the herd even though he is not supposed to… He gets really grumpy when it’s time for medication and he will certainly let us know his feelings about that!
PS – We are always on the lookout for new horses to add to our herd, so if you know of someone who might be selling – or willing to donate! – a likely new recruit, please let us know.
We are currently on the hunt for a draft type or draft X, 15hh – 16hh. Needs to be a big-boned, stocky weight carrier, with a quiet temperament between the age of 13 – 18 (negotiable on age), who is sound and easy to handle.
Looking Forward to the Future
Rider Numbers: Our Mission is ‘Reaching More Riders – Changing More Lives’ and we are doing everything we can to live up to that. We expanded our riding operations around 18 months ago and now have around 80 riders come to us each week.
We have an ambition to open a further day and take rider numbers up to 100, which will be an outstanding achievement, as that translates to around 3,600 riding hours per year. We certainly couldn’t even think of doing that without our amazing group of volunteers who give so freely of their time, energy and experience each week.
Facilities: As mentioned in Miranda’s piece, we are committed to completing a new Sensory Trail this year, which will run through the area of bush directly across the stream from the client car parking.
We are waiting on Council to fell some trees in the paper road at the end of Aubrey Road, as they are hanging across the path of the new Trail and are dangerous. Once this work is completed, we can have a contractor onsite to complete the works on the Trail and then we will be up and running at last.
A Date for Your Diary: It has been a number of years since we held an Open Day and we are committed to doing just that later this year. More details will be available soon, but please put Saturday 20th November in your diary as we would love to welcome you to the Open Day and show you around our great facilities and allow some of our riders to show off their riding skills.
More news as we have it… Watch This Space!