The Value of Volunteers
Volunteers are the heart and soul of Riding for the Disabled - without their dedication, enthusiasm and commitment to the RDA cause, the Riding Programmes would be unable to continue. Each year, over 1,800 volunteers around the country play their part in making an RDA Riding Programme a reality.
Volunteering with RDA is fun, rewarding and confidence building. It’s also a chance to learn new skills, enjoy the fresh air and stay fit, and to be part of something special. No matter what your age and background is, there is a role for anyone at an RDA Group.
Volunteers can be involved in a number of activities, according to their interest and expertise:
- Preparing Horses prior to the Rider’s arrival
- Leading Horses and ponies during riding sessions
- Horse training and Horse care
- Assisting during riding sessions - sidewalking
- Helping with unmounted activities
- Assisting Coaches and the Therapist with equipment for games and riding sessions
- Fitting helmets and checking riding clothing
- Providing refreshments
- Maintaining of Horse pastures, fences and equipment
- Fundraising, publicity and Committee work
- Organising outings, camps and competitions
The RDA Team
In the arena itself, the Leader, Sidewalker, Coach, Therapist and the Horse all operate as a TEAM to make the Rider session a success.
The Coach plans the riding programmes and organises the sessions, and teaches lessons that enable the Riders to achieve their goals.
The Therapist works directly with Riders and/or Volunteers advising on therapeutic goals and strategies for Riders, along with any precautions required.
The Leader determines the quality of the ride, ensuring that it is both safe and effective. The Leaders in each RDA Group usually have unique roles and specific tasks expected of them.
Sidewalkers have the important role of ensuring the Rider is safe on the horse. This may involve physical support, using specific holds or observing the Rider. The Sidewalker also assists the Rider in carrying out the Coach or Therapist’s directions, by repeating the instruction, guiding the Rider’s hands or focusing the Rider’s attention on the task they are performing.
Volunteer training is a high priority for RDA. RDA provides training to its volunteers through NZRDA run courses, with training available at all levels. All Group personnel are expected to participate in this training for their own and the Rider’s safety and enjoyment.
Interesting in becoming a Volunteer?
You can volunteer at any age but children must be 14 years or older if they are not supervised by an adult. However to lead a horse or sidewalk a rider in an RDA Session they must be 14 years or older. They can groom horses, pick up manure, exercise horses etc but they must be supervised by an adult if under 14 years old.
All Leaders and Sidewalkers in an RDA session must be 14 years or older.
If you're interested in becoming a Volunteer at your local RDA Group, then please click here for more information.