The NZRDA celebrated the International Day of Persons with a Disability on 3 December.

Equestrian Sports New Zealand and New Zealand Riding for the Disabled have signed a memorandum of understanding that brings a closer working relationship between the two organisations. 

The partnership aims to strengthen connections and share resources that will advance opportunities for disabled people to gain greater inclusion in equestrian sports.

A framework has been established that builds on the ‘Enabling Good Lives” strategy, which explores and develops the power of the horse to support inclusiveness and accessibility in the community.  There are four key areas of focus:

  1. Strengthening the ties between ESNZ and NZRDA at a national, regional, and local level.
  2. Supporting ESNZ in disabled participants inclusion in equestrian sports and what this means at a national regional and local level.
  3. Both parties sharing knowledge, experience and resources in Rider, Volunteer, and Coach development.
  4. Simplifying and enhancing the coaching pathways between both organisations.

The partnership also aims to bridge the gap between NZRDA programmes and Para Sport, and to test the development of a Para Academy pilot in up to two RDA centres.

Equestrian Sports New Zealand Chief Executive Julian Bowden says the relationship between the two organisations will enhance opportunities for a greater number of New Zealanders to take part in a much-loved sport.

“We are delighted to be formalising our partnership with NZRDA, an organisation that has a proud history supporting disabled individuals to reap the benefits of interacting with our equines, both physically, mentally and culturally. 

“By strengthening our ties, we can pool our resources and progress some exciting initiatives, particularly within the pathways that lead us into the para-equestrian space, one of our five key disciplines,” he says.

NZ Riding for the Disabled Chief Executive Donna Kennedy says, “It is a positive step forward for both our organisations as we work together to remove barriers to inclusion in our communities.  We look to engage each other’s specific resources and skill sets to create better outcomes for all.”

The partnership aims to strengthen the education of members and the public in all aspects of inclusiveness and accessibility within the equestrian community and will be reviewed every three years.