Four beats to freedom - a horseback journey through New Zealand

Who will benefit? 

Three charities will benefit from Mary's ride - and donors and sponsors may decide which organisation they wish to help.

Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy  -  The Brooke Hospital for Animals  -  NZ Riding for the Disabled Association


The Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy was established in 1976 in the New Forest in England. It provides residential further education for school leavers with special Educational needs. These young people have encountered many different difficulties in their primary and secondary education, from specific learning difficulties to mild physical handicap. They have one thing in common; they are motivated by horses.

Whether riding or helping
with stable tasks - the horse is the key.

It is the horse is the key to learning at the Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy. He helps students to learn things that they have found difficult to understand in the past. He is large and warm and kind and pleased to see his carer every morning. He does not make judgements, and does not discriminate; he gives honest and immediate feedback. .However he does cost a lot to feed and care for, and funds are needed every year to maintain the horses so essential if these special young people are to move forward in their lives.

Fortune Centre
Fortune Centre


The Brooke Hospital
for Animals aims to alleviate suffering and improve the health and welfare of working horses and donkeys in parts of the developing world. By providing veterinary clinics, farriery services, shade and water troughs, by educating the owners in sound animal husbandry practices, and by helping owners to purchase better harness, the working conditions of the draft animals are much improved.

                   Brooke Hospital

 Training local farriers - to improve welfare.             An injured donkey being treated at a field hospital.

 Brooke Hospital for Animals



Riding for the Disabled was formally introduced to New Zealand in 1962 when Mr Tom Atchison, who was then President of the New Zealand Pony Club Association, brought information back from Great Britain. He, and his wife Dorothy, had visited The Badminton Horse Trials where they saw a display about Riding for the Disabled. On return to NZ they established the Pukeora Riding for Disabled Branch of the Central Hawkes Bay Pony Club. Interest in providing riding opportunities for people with disabilities was now increasing and this prompted the formation of the N.Z.Riding for the Disabled Association in 1972 with Tom Atchison as President. There are now over 50 RDA Groups throughout the country providing therapeutic horse riding for over 2,500 people.

Riding is team work - rider, horse, sidewalker, leader, Instructor and Therapist. Volunteers are always needed to make this happen.

Riding :
  • improves balance and co-ordination, posture and muscle tone.develops concentration and self-discipline.
  • Increases self-esteem, confidence, achievement and independence.
  • encourages communication and social skills.
  • provides recreation and enjoyment.




The Long Riders' Guild

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