Its been 50 years since horse riding was first offered as a therapeutic tool for those living with a disability.

The National Riding for the Disabled Association is celebrating an anniversary and, with it, the benefits its brought to many New Zealanders with a range of disabilities.

There are 56 branches across the country and, in Canterbury, more than 75 riders enjoy the lessons each week, bringing the number of rides to 3000 each year.

Many of those taking part report improvements in muscle tone, balance co-ordination and, above all, confidence.

Katy Gosset visited the Canterbury arena to hear their experiences.

Listen to a 2009 story when Mike Gourley pays a trip to the Wellington branch of Riding for the Disabled.

Gallery: Christchurch Group Riding for the Disabled

Image courtesy of Christchurch Group Riding for Disabled.