What we do

What RDA offers

RDA increases ability through participation in goal-based riding activities. Each year, we provide life-changing opportunities for more than 3,000 children and adults in local communities throughout New Zealand. 

That includes over 60,000 structured, goal-based RDA riding opportunities a year at venues throughout New Zealand. Each RDA session is supervised by a coach and assisted by therapists, expert volunteers and our specially trained horses.

We have three core riding programmes: Education; Therapy and Rehabilitation; and Sport and Recreation. While a rider's primary purpose or goal initially may be therapy, we incorporate education and recreation elements into our RDA sessions. Each rider has their own goal-based programme, individualised to meet their specific needs.

Who RDA assists

We welcome and assist people of all ages. A person may be referred to us in a number of ways, including word of mouth or referral from a health, recreational or teaching professional. Over 80 per cent of our riders are children and teenagers. 37 per cent have a physical or intellectual disability while just over a quarter are on the autistic spectrum. Many of our riders live with more than one disability.

Riding is of benefit to children and adults with a wide range of special needs, including but not limited to: Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, CVA (stroke), Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disability, Learning Disability, Hearing and Visual Impairments, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida and Spinal Cord Injury (Para/Quadriplegia).

How RDA helps

Horse riding is an enjoyable form of healthy, outdoor exercise and an exciting, challenging and motivating activity. There are also significant therapeutic benefits for the rider. For example, the warmth and three-dimensional movement of the horse is transmitted through the rider’s body, gradually making the rider more relaxed and supple, reducing spasms and improving their balance, posture and co-ordination. Our RDA sessions are designed to enhance and improve physical, psychological and social abilities as well as provide recreational and educational opportunities.