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Why Volunteer?

No matter what your age and background is, there is a role for you at an RDA Group. Volunteering with RDA is fun, rewarding and confidence building.

  • 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
  • Be part of something special

Volunteers can be involved in a number of activities, according to their interest and expertise:

  • Preparing Horses prior to Riders’ 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 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

Read some of our Volunteer Profiles

NZRDA has over 1,800 Volunteers working across the 56 RDA Groups, in a variety of roles - without their dedication and enthusiasm RDA could not continue. Please click on any of the images below to read about some of our amazing Volunteers and their vital work at their local RDA Group.

How do I become a Volunteer?

If you'd like to volunteer at your local RDA Group, then please contact us on 04 234 6090 or email - give us your name, contact details, address (so we know which RDA Group to send it to) and also what type of Volunteer work you would be interested in doing.

Alternatively you can find the contact details for the RDA Group nearest to you by clicking here.

Please note that an RDA Volunteer must be 14 years or over to Volunteer at an RDA Group - however an RDA Group may choose to allow exceptions to this (for non-Riding Session duties) in specific circumstances.

All Leaders and Sidewalkers in an RDA session must be 14 years or older.

Volunteering Information For Coaches

Plans the riding programmes and organises the sessions, and teaches lessons that enable the Riders’ to achieve their goals. A RDA Coach must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age, with good communication, management and teaching skills.
  • Have sufficient knowledge of riding, horses and disabilities.
  • Have a commitment to maintaining safety.
  • Be prepared to undertake NZRDA training.

Join the Team Become a Riding for the Disabled Coach!

Volunteering Information For Therapists

Registered New Zealand Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists who hold a current New Zealand Practicing Certificate can work in a RDA Group and provide programme advice and support to the RDA Coach or Instructor. For further information on education opportunities with NZRDA please contact us.

Role of a Therapist - registered therapists such as Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech Language Therapists work within the RDA setting, using the horse as a treatment tool. Therapists are involved in:

  • Sending and screening appropriate referrals
  • Assessment of potential Riders
  • Regular review of riders and their programmes
  • Assisting in matching the Rider to an appropriate Horse
  • Consultation with other professionals involved with the rider to ensure a
    coordinated programme
  • Goal setting and programme planning for individual Riders
  • Acting as a resource for the riding team in health, therapy and disability

Training Information

RDA Provides training to all its personnel through NZRDA approved courses. Training is available at all levels. All Group personnel are expected to participate in this for their own, and the riders’ safety and enjoyment. Everyone at RDA is expected to attend a NZRDA Volunteer Training Course.

The NZRDA Training programme is implemented and managed by the NZRDA National Training Coordinator. The RDA courses are facilitated by the NZRDA Training Team.

NZRDA offers the following training:

  • Introductory Course (at your own RDA Group)
  • The Volunteer Training Course
  • Training Courses for Coaches
  • Leading/Sidewalking Certificates
  • Therapy Courses
  • Special Workshops
  • National Coaches Clinics.

Each year a National Training Seminar is held, this is comprised of educational workshops and sessions along with discussion on matters of significance to all groups and Riders. It is a great way to gain extra knowledge and network amongst friends.

NZRDA ( offers two coaching qualifications:

  • National Certificate in Equine (RDA Assistant Coach) Level 3

  • National Certificate in Equine (RDA Coach) Level 5

All NZRDA Coaches are required to have a current First Aid Certificate.

This qualification is made up of unit standards from several different subject areas and specific RDA unit standards. You can do this training in your own place and at your own pace. You don’t have to do the entire qualification, you can study your choice of subject. I.e. as a leader you may want to learn more about the care of the horse, or as a sidewalker you may want to learn more about communication with people.

NZRDA aims to provide a friendly supportive environment - you can train at your own pace and at your own place, and you can also go on to train to become an RDA Coach.



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