Volunteer, Change Lives.

The NZRDA relies on the wonderful energy and commitment of its volunteer network. Volunteering at an RDA group is fun and extremely rewarding. No matter your age and background, there’s a role for you at your local RDA group.

The Role of a Volunteer
Volunteers can be involved in a number of activities, according to their interest and expertise including preparing horses prior to the rider’s arrival, leading horses and ponies during sessions, horse training and care, assisting during sessions (sidewalking), helping with unmounted activities, assisting coaches and therapists 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, transport coordination.

The Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering at your local RDA group can be an extremely rewarding activity. You will learn new skills (including gaining a NZQA qualification), enjoy the fresh air and stay fit, make a difference to someone’s life, have fun and make new friends, and be part of something special.

The RDA Team

During a session in the arena, you’ll see the leader, sidewalker, coach, therapist and horse. They work together as a team to make the rider’s experience a success.


The Coach plans the riding programmes and organises the sessions to enable the riders to achieve their goals.

The Therapist works directly with riders and/or volunteers, advising on goals and strategies for the rider, along with any precautions required.

The Leader is responsible for the horse, to ensure 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, for example, by repeating the instruction, guiding the rider’s hands or focusing the rider’s attention on the task they are performing.

Volunteer Stories
The NZRDA has more than 1,800 volunteers working across our 56 RDA groups. Without their dedication and enthusiasm, our work could not continue.

For more information on becoming a volunteer to click here