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October 2021
  • NZRDA Horse of the Year
  • Welcome to New Coaches
  • NZRDA Calendar Competition
  • Funders and Supporters
Please note returning to riding will only be during Covid Level 1
Clarification will be on our website

Important Dates 

TPRDA TERM 4 starts riding on:
MONDAY: 18th October  
TUESDAY: 19th October
THURSDAY: 21st October

MONDAY : 25TH October ( Labour weekend - no riding)  

N.B:  PH: 09 262 0426 - A message may be left on our answer phone
We had a great start to the term, launching our new website and warmly welcoming Elizabeth Roberts and Mary Bradley onto our coaching team. It was lovely to see some new riders joining in on sessions, however sadly our rallies were cut short with Lockdown on the 18th of August. One thing has remained constant and that has been the daily care and attention to the welfare of our horses. All credit goes to Fiona Arlington, our horse supervisor, who has the herd ready and waiting to recommence work.

Our RDA team hope to see riders back on horses as soon as possible.

This term our national office called for nominations for various awards, one being NZRDA Horse of the Year. Many of you know and love our horse Dancer so it won't be a surprise this lovely mare was our nominee for this award. This wonderful working horse brings joy to many of our riders enabling them to engage in an outdoor activity that they otherwise would not have access to.
NZRDA will announce the winning RDA horse in November.

RDA, what a wonderful organisation it is. So many incredible capable and empathetic people. My Grandson William has been so fortunate to have attended RDA since he was 4 years old. He turns 16 in November, so 12 years of RDA Mondays.

William has no speech, suffers from seizures, has little mobility and cannot walk. However, he interacts with his carers. He knows when Helen and Ann are working with him, it's no-nonsense and he rides beautifully.

The relaxed connection and calmness of the way RDA works gives us every confidence and complete trust in all the Volunteers.

The kindness and support shown to William and myself each week is energising.

RDA Ponies are in a class of their own, they are so giving. They are given the utmost care which they richly deserve as they are so intuitive with their Riders.

At the top of the ponies is a lovely chestnut mare called DANCER. Appropriately named as she has a wonderful free moving gait which gives William a really good workout, encouraging him to use his balance, core strength and connect with Dancer.

When riding her he is totally relaxed and sits perfectly. Dancer is totally in tune and so calm and patient. She is an absolute Star.

I hope we have many more years association with her, and Wills can continue to enjoy his special Mondays.
Penny Paul

DANCER: Stationbred, Chestnut 14.2hh mare of 26 yrs. Arrived at RDA May 2010

History: Dancer had been the trusted pony of one of our RDA coaching volunteer’s daughter. Over the years she had taken this young rider to a high level of equestrian disciplines but now Dancer was looking for a new vocation. She arrived at Totara Park in May 2010, and like all our inductees, was given time to adjust to her new surrounding, familiarise with her herd and undergo RDA training. After six weeks, Dancer showed her leaders she was ready to start work and during her 11 years of service, she has maintained her sensitive and perceptive temperament, which initially attracted us to her along with a smooth and steady movement.

Core Riding: We are very fortunate in that Dancer is suited to all RDA programmes, from therapy through to recreational riding, and during her 11 years, she has provided up to seven RDA rides a week. Understanding and valuing her unwavering effort and temperament with our riders, we have reduced her workload as she has aged. Dancer has taken one of our RDA riders to Pony Club as well as assisting other Pony Club children gain confidence and compassion towards the horse. She accepts all therapy positions, and for her rider’s benefit, sustains her wonderful walk and movement. She is amazingly sensitive towards the needs of her rider and readily adapts to any situation. She senses when independent riders need her to help their confidence, by gently responding to their tentative instructions.

Character: Having been part of our team for so long, Dancer has eventually become the matriarch of our herd of horses, quietly accepting although never seeking this position. She prefers peaceful harmony in the paddock and only uses her hierarchy status if required to guide and educate a younger pony in displaying manners!! As well as RDA tasks, TPRDA have a policy of leasing their horses to suitable riders to give them variety and assist with temperament. Dancer has given many capable riders a wonderful experience, riding around the park, at the beach and through the forest. In her younger days, she was very competitive in a gallop up the hill, or sometimes over enthusiastic around water, even a cattle trough proved a temptation to hop in!!
But her strength lies and remains in her heightened ability to sense when she was needed to simply listen. Her gentle and calm nature offers tranquillity to those who seek reassurance, and for a few years she also gave her services to our EAL [Equine Assisted Learning] programme, where she comforted the sad, quietened the unruly and listened to the lonely. Only a beautiful soul can do that.

Relationships: Having already given 11 years RDA duty, Dancer has become an all time favourite at Totara Park. All the grazers, volunteers and support personnel know, love and respect this horse. Without seeking or knowing it, she has become a legend within our organisation, so to select one particular rider who she has had an impact on, proves to be a very difficult task.
Destiny started with TPRDA 12 years ago, as a young child who benefitted hugely from the therapy Dancer provided. As we observed this young girl develop into a confident young woman, Dancer was by her side giving her the confidence to take each step towards independence, belief and self value – testing emotions for most teenagers. Dancer took her from a therapy rider to an independent rider, and now Destiny has the skills and confidence to ride a horse that does not have the accepting nature of Dancer but will teach and take her to the next level of riding.
While we love to think Dancer’s welcoming nicker every morning is just for us, she loves her job, her riders, her staff and her fellow employees so her greeting is for everyone.
It’s been a privilege to be one of those you welcome– thank you Dancer.

Author - Loraine Grant
All RDA groups are incorporated societies and independently financed and managed. The NZRDA is the umbrella organisation providing standards, training, certification and support. Horse riding comes with risks. RDA is NZ's only accredited horse riding therapy programme. To ensure the Health & Safety of everyone NZRDA policy and procedures are extensive along with strict requirements within the Health and Safety Management System. Totara Park RDA is grateful and fortunate to have the experience and guidance of Cilla Bell.  This year Cilla was ably assisted by Jill Groenestein who oversaw the review on the day. These two dedicated volunteers ensured we were not only ready for our annual audit but maintain and work within the requirements all year round. 

On Monday the 2nd of August we welcomed Auditor Elisha Olds (second from right) pictured with our team. Elisha assessed our venue, horses, tack and safety equipment, the experience of our coaches, rider documentation and our adherence to Health & Safety requirements (to name a few). We can proudly announce we received our Operational Certificate. The auditor surveyed riders and volunteers and the feedback received could not have been better. Wow! We knew we were good - and that proves it!!
We launched our new website in August under the guidance of Steven Hill who used his employer Spark's volunteer days to assist us. This new site marks a new era in independent management as our site can be updated by current nominated Totara Park volunteers. Grateful thanks go to Di Knight and our volunteers who created this site. Check us out.
"Well, I couldn't stay away for long!  It is my great pleasure to be back coaching at TPRDA, on Tuesdays. The riders I work with have grown in both stature and ability in the last year, it was great to see them again plus some newbies. For those who don't remember me, I have been with Totara Park RDA for many years now in varying capacities: looking after the pony herd, volunteering, learning, coaching, behind the scenes doing admin etc. etc.  I live in Clevedon on a lifestyle property and am surrounded by horses, dogs, cats, sheep, chickens, gardens and lovely fresh air.  I have ridden, competed, owned and bred horses most of my life and love being able to share that passion with riders and volunteers at Totara Park. I'm really looking forward to getting on with the job and seeing what fun we can have and achieve together. Elizabeth
It has been my pleasure to be a volunteer at TPRDA for nearly two years now, even though they have been two disrupted years due to Covid. During this time I have learnt what a very special organisation NZRDA is, and what a fantastic influence it can have on our Riders' lives. This year I help out on Mondays and Thursdays. On Mondays, I really enjoy being a horse leader, and on Thursdays, I am a sidewalker and enjoy the variety and the fun of helping out with the riders. I am also a member of the Committee and the Pony Committee. It was a huge surprise and a privilege to be asked if I would agree to train as an assistant coach, and I have taken up the challenge, and gone back to studying for a while!

I have been around horses all my life, starting while growing up on a farm in Hawkes Bay. Riding has been a lifelong hobby, and I am passionate about horses in general.  While growing up I went to Pony Club for years, hunted locally and competed. In latter years I focused on dressage, and only gave up riding seven years ago after shifting to Auckland. My daughter rode when she was at school, and we were heavily involved in  Pony Club and Show Hunter during those years.  

My career has been as a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist working mainly with Sports and Spinal injuries, a career that I have really enjoyed. TPRDA provides a change of direction, and  I am now able to combine my two passions to help out with the horses, and to see that our Riders have fun while learning to ride,  learning new skills and making progress in so many aspects of their lives.

I look forward to learning alongside Elizabeth, and all our other wonderful personnel at TPRDA. Mary

NZRDA has a photography competition underway for their 2022 calendar.
Well done to Doug Humby and Linley Talbot who have made it through to the voting with their images. 
This terrific photograph of Chris Wilcox riding Lily was taken by Doug. (Chris's full story can be read on our website under the 'Riders' section).
NZRDA groups submitted over 80 photos. 16 were selected with the public asked to vote for the final 12 via the NZRDA website, Facebook and Instagram. TPRDA won two voting places. The final winning photos will be announced in early October.

Doug is often behind the lens of his camera. We asked Doug what motivates him to take so many photos?

Having only ridden a horse for the first time eighteen months ago, after friendly banter from fellow volunteers, I realised at that moment in high altitude what it is that inspires and motivates me to take so many photos of our dedicated riders, of the very young to the not so very old! The varying disabilities of these riders and their desire to overcome them personally are displayed in their expressions of happy faces during the ride and personal achievements at the end of each riding session.

The personal happiness in my photography has to be seeing the resulting image captured and shared through our many social environments; FB, newsletters, NZRDA, parents, caregivers and of course….all of our inspirational riders, that’s the real answer.

Doug Humby
Our greatest expense is our horses – our main asset!
Horse sponsorship is an important and unique way that individuals and businesses can contribute to the annual cost of caring for and training our valuable horses.
If you or your company would like to become a sponsor please download the sponsorship form from

or email
Thank you to our anonymous sponsor of 'Jane'
We were delighted to receive a call from a generous reader who, after seeing in the last terms newsletter that Jane was without a sponsor, has since become a monthly donor for this pony.


Chep offers employees volunteering days. Employees get paid as usual for a regular workday, but instead of showing up at the office, they help a charity. Thanks Chep for your help at the start of Term 3.
The Chep team arrived on a rather wild day to paint, clean and restack the haybarn. Our club room renovation is nearly complete with more painting scheduled for later in the year. Thanks again Chep and Tatjana Schmidt who organises the Chep team - your assistance is greatly appreciated. 
Lockdown reared its ugly head and hasn't given us confidence to hold future public events this year. To keep safe we are finishing the year with an annual Give A Little appeal. We need your support so riders like 'Molly' can keep riding. Sharing this link by email or Facebook will help us spread the word. The more people who see our 'Give A Little' appeal the better. Check it out on the link below - there's a great little video to watch. Thanks for sharing!!   

 Every amount helps - Please support our online fundraiser

This is an easy way to make a donation and being a registered charity a tax-deductible receipt is automatically emailed to every donor.
Banks have removed cheques as a method of payment as we head into a cheque free future. The easiest way to DONATE to Totara Park RDA is now online. Alternatively, there is Give A Little. Our Bank Account details are: 
Account Name: Totara Park Riding for the Disabled
Account Number: 12 3653 0003499 00
Reference : ( Your Name) As a registered charity donations over $5 are tax-deductible. Please email us @ and advise you have donated so we may send your tax receipt.
Do you have an item to donate to TPRDA that we could resell online?
 Trade Me provides discounted terms for charities and we have an account where items can be resold with the proceeds going to our RDA.
Should you have a quality household item with a perceived second-hand value of over $50.00 that you wish to donate to RDA, please email with a description and photograph. We would love to hear from you. Please do not bring anything to RDA as we can not accept or store goods. We will not accept items such as clothing. 

Should the item appear to have resell value, you will be contacted to discuss the resell process. We have found that the item is best kept with the donor and when sold collected from the donor's address after payment has been made. 
Thank you to Jim & Cilla Bell for managing this service for our RDA. 
This picture received the most likes of any of our FaceBook posts. The Feed Shed was definitely part of the action here. Once our horses feeds are made the shed is out of bounds. Just to open the door will generate this reaction from the herd near feeding time. On RDA rally days the herd are fed early in the morning to allow plenty of time for digestion before working. However, during non-rally days they are fed after exercise before returning to their paddocks. On a sunny winters day, we were able to catch this reaction as the feeds came out of the shed.  Pictured from left to right are Jubilee, Zoe, Shimmer, Dancer and Tobi.
This picture, with credit to Linley Talbot, is also a finalist for the National office's 2022 Calendar Competition.

Doug Humby, our volunteer sidewalker &  photographer provided the photos of our riders on horseback. He photographed most of our enrolled riders at the start of term 3 and forwarded pictures of them to their families.
Thanks Doug, families really appreciate this.
Copyright © *2020* *Totara Park Riding For the Disabled*, All rights reserved.

251 Redoubt Road,
Ph: Clubhouse: 09 262 0426

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 39-191

Charities Commission: CC38934

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TPRDA · 852 Taupo Bay Rd, · RD1 Mangonui, Auckland Region 0494 · New Zealand

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