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Bridging hearts through equine therapy2 min read

Nov 6, 2023 2 min

Bridging hearts through equine therapy2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Annie Fulcher with Tommy at the Ambury Park Centre.

Nestled in the heart of Māngere, Ambury Park Centre stands out in the world of equine therapy.

Ambury Park Centre is the only Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)-affiliated facility that combines riding therapy with a secondary school for students aged 13-18 with diverse needs, and a vocational programme for adults with disabilities.

The evolution of ‘riding for the disabled’ shows that equine therapy offers mental and emotional benefits beyond physical challenges, benefiting individuals with anxiety, dyslexia, and PTSD.

“The horses at the centre come from various backgrounds and are selected for their adaptability to therapy work and their enjoyment of it,” says office administrator, Barbara Petersen. “What truly makes Ambury special is the deep connections formed among our students, clients, therapy riders, and staff. Witnessing the progress from a rider’s first session to their growth over time, is truly remarkable.”

As a charitable organisation, they owe their success to the dedicated riding therapy volunteers, some of whom have been at the centre for decades. “We have retirees, students, and stay-at-home parents as volunteers. Some former students and clients have also become volunteers.”

Corporate groups are welcome to join them for team-building activities, contributing their time and effort to create a sensory trail, paint beautiful planters, assist with landscaping, and more.

“We extend our gratitude to our horse sponsors, who contribute annually to support our therapy horses’ well-being,” says Barbara.

The idyllic location, surrounded by farmland and the Watercare coastal walk, provides the perfect setting for outdoor exercise, a vital part of the students’ education.

If anyone is interested in volunteering or sponsoring a horse, contact or call 634-0763 ext0.