Reborn equine therapy group aims to “change lives”

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EquiPotential aims to meet the ever-increasing demand for therapeutic riding programmes in New Zealand.
EquiPotential aims to meet the ever-increasing demand for therapeutic riding programmes in New Zealand. © EquiPotential NZ Inc

Hamilton’s Riding for the Disabled group has resigned its affiliation with New Zealand Riding for the Disabled and has rebranded as a new, independent organisation with plans to significantly extend its community reach.

Based at the Waikato Equestrian Centre, the group will now be known as EquiPotential NZ Inc. President Kathie Shepard said the change was a significant decision for the organisation, and there were several drivers, “the most important being the need to meet the ever-increasing demand for therapeutic riding programmes across the community”.

“Covid-19 gave our organisation the opportunity to analyse our services and our environment, and to develop a very clear vision for our future opportunities. You do not grow if you do not change. The demand for our services is enormous and we have responded to this by developing new programmes and opportunities for our community,” Shepard said.

“A review of our strategic plan identified areas outside of traditional riding programmes that the wider community is crying out for, and these are services that we can and will professionally provide. Aligning this vision with our future goals has necessitated the Hamilton group resigning its affiliation to NZRDA.

“As Equipotential NZ, we could not be more excited at the opportunity to expand in a number of areas in 2021. Equipotential NZ gives riders the opportunity to learn life skills and reach their potential to live the best possible life they can.”

Shepard described Equipotential as “an area where all points have equal potential. This reflects that everyone involved in the organisation has equal potential, which will be developed by building people’s capabilities through interaction with horses”.

David Ellis CNZM and Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM remain joint Patrons of the new organisation.

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