Life Skills Programme

We run a successful Life Skills Programme building confidence, self-esteem, compassion and social skills in children and youth. The programme is designed for clients with mental health conditions such as low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, at risk youth and young offenders.

Our therapeutic work takes place within a supportive team environment and encompasses riding therapy, horsemanship and horse care.

Horse riding is a play and leisure activity that many people consider a favourite hobby or past time. It is proven to have a calming effect and helps a person relax.

Therapy riding simply uses the recreational past time of horse riding to promote various social, emotional cognitive, perceptual and physical benefits. It is also an activity that normalizes and equalizes.

What Tauranga RDA Provides

  • An equestrian therapy centre for the rehabilitation and support of clients and their families
  • Appropriately qualified staff including experienced riding coaches and therapists
  • Specially trained therapy horses
  • Specialist riding equipment
  • Buildings and structures to support our equestrian therapy programmes
  • A safe, caring, supportive and non-prejudicial environment for clients
  • Individually designed, well-managed therapy programmes
  • Remedial and supplementary educational opportunities
  • Opportunities for youth volunteers to learn the value of volunteering and helping others
  • Volunteer training opportunities

Benefits of the Life Skills Programme

  • Behaviour modification
  • Social contact with peers
  • Learning life skills and acceptable behaviour
  • Enhancing communication skills fostering socialization
  • Facilitating engagement and responsiveness to others and the environment
  • Provides pleasure and enhances morale
  • Fulfils needs to nurture and be nurtured
  • Compliments other treatment modalities
  • Provides forms of sensory stimulation
  • Increases confidence
  • Teaches empathy for others and nurtures confidence, independence and well being

Tauranga RDA actively encourages health professionals of statutory health organizations and community agencies to work along-side us to support their clients.

To register your interest for the Life Skills programme please complete the following forms and return them to us:

Life Skills Programme Form


Testimonials from the Life Skills Programme

The following endorsements are a testament to the success of the programme:

“The skills I have learned at RDA have turned my life around dramatically and I can never thank them enough. I know the path I was following was a path that was going to get me thrown in jail and believe me, many tried to take me off that path with shrinks groups, and I just wouldn’t listen. RDA changed my life and now my path leads to a brighter future and I’m looking forward to it.”

Martin, Teenage Client.

“From the first session I could see improvements. They were keen to be involved, excited about the program and had engaged with all aspects. As the weeks went by I saw notable changes with all the young people. They improved in confidence, vision and ability to relate to people. One boy was very closed and angry but over the time he seemed softer, more open, confident and better able to engage with people”.

Nynette Martin, Manager, IMPACTAURANGA.

The RDA Life Skills program has many pluses and is a real opportunity for boys and their families to deepen and strengthen their relationships.

It gets the boys outside doing something positive and constructive, taking them outside their comfort zone. It draws the parents and family into the boy’s interests and creates new conversations between them. It creates a unique special experience for the boy to be proud of amongst his peers.

A big component of the program involves learning how to form and maintain a relationship with both the horse and also the facilitator/coach. This helps them to learn to work with others and most importantly develops empathy and builds self-esteem and provides the tools for developing self-control. 

I have seen some great outcomes and I can’t recommend the RDA Life Skills therapy program highly enough.

Dave Halligan, Parenting & Life Skills for Men

“The work of the RDA is often associated with helping people with physical disabilities, whereas this pilot project has reiterated the fact that equally important and substantial benefits are to be gained by people suffering from mental health issues. Based on the professional manner the RDA delivered the course to our clients and the results achieved, I have no hesitation recommending RDA courses to other organisations wishing to support the well-being of young people.”

Clive James, Occupational Therapist, Mental Health and Addiction Service, TAURANGA HOSPITAL.

“For the first time we saw these girls express empathy and caring toward an animal and another person. We saw them make an 'adult friend', (Therapist), who stood in authority over them, and they did not argue or disrespect her during the classes. They even liked her.”

Paul Horler, Police Youth Aid, Te Aranui Youth Development, NZ POLICE.




Come along for the ride! Give us a call on
07 544 1899

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