Riders Stories



Riding Benefits All Ages

When Ethan Coombe came for a trial ride at the Hastings Group Riding for the Disabled he had little hesitation in sitting up on a horse for the very first time, while smiling from ear to ear.  Following his successful first visit he became the youngest person to enter the programme at two years of age.

Ethan was born prematurely and has delayed gross motor development.  He attends the Hastings site in Murdoch Road weekly to ride on ‘his’ pony Sophie.  Ethan quickly developed a strong rapport with all of the volunteers involved in assisting his riding therapy and often shows off his cheekier side during sessions.

Since commencing at the beginning of 2014 Ethan has experienced an improvement in his core strength, balance and general confidence.  The riding complements his other physical therapies and he has just started walking independently a month prior to his third birthday.

Riding for the Disabled is a national organisation that helps more than 3,000 disabled or disadvantaged riders to achieve independence through riding and interaction with horses and ponies.

The Hastings Group RDA was founded in 1972 and assists riders from all areas of Hawke’s Bay. They have 42 riders, most of them children and all with a wide range of physical, intellectual and emotional disabilities. With a covered arena  riding takes place all year round, and it’s a very special environment where the dedicated group of volunteers, along with the therapists, work towards short and long term goals for each rider.

If you would like to help the Hastings Group RDA you can make a donation via their website, and they’re always looking for more volunteers to help deliver their programme and make a difference in the lives of their riders.