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 could not continue. Each year, over 1,800 volunteers around the country play their part in making RDA Riding Programmes 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.
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 that enable the Riders to achieve their goals.
- The Therapist works directly with Riders and/or Volunteers advising on goals and strategies for Riders, along with any precautions required.
- The Leader is responsible for the horse, ensuring the ride is both safe and effective.
- Sidewalkers have the important role of ensuring the Rider is stable and secure 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 where necessary, e.g. 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 participate in this training for their own and the Rider’s safety and enjoyment.
Interesting in becoming a Volunteer?
If you're interested in becoming a Volunteer at your local RDA Group, then please click here for more information.