What RDA Offers
The core purpose of NZRDA is to provide interaction with horses to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for people experiencing disability, or who have specific challenges or needs.
We aim to enable and support riders to achieve good lives including meaningful participation in, and contribution to, important life activities and roles in their community.
We provide over 60,000 structured, goal-based RDA riding opportunities a year at venues throughout New Zealand. Each RDA session is supervised by a qualified coach and assisted by our specially trained therapists, volunteers, and horses.
We have three core riding programmes: Therapy, Education, and Sport and Recreation. While a rider’s initial goal may be therapy, we incorporate education and recreational elements into our RDA sessions. Each rider has their own goal-based programme, individualised to meet their specific needs. Riders may move between the programmes.
Who RDA Assists
We welcome and assist people of all ages. A person may be referred to us in several 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 and just over 25 per cent are on the autism spectrum. Many of our riders live with more than one disability.
Therapeutic Horse Riding is of benefit to children and adults with a wide range of challenges, needs or disabilities, including but not limited to: Autism 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).
Improving health outcomes for people who experience disability involves enabling and supporting them to learn to live well, despite their disabilities, challenges or needs, in the context of their home, school and communities.
How RDA helps
The warmth and three-dimensional movement of the horse is the key therapy tool used in our Groups. The movement of the horse is transmitted through the rider’s body, gradually making the rider more relaxed, improving muscle tone, as well as 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.
Therapeutic Horse Riding is a proven therapy that develops, improves and/or promotes many aspects such as:
- Physical ability
- Muscle tone, balance, coordination.
- Muscle strength, flexibility, fitness.
- Posture, gait, ability to walk.
- Respiration, circulation, metabolism.
- Sensory perception and integration.
- Independence, self-care and mobility.
- Psychological ability
- Concentration, problem-solving and decision making.
- Insight, motivation, self-worth, confidence.
- Learning/practising concepts e.g. letters, numbers, colours, distances, shapes, body parts, etc.
- Social skills
- Learning appropriate behaviours and manners.
- Interaction with peers, individuals and groups.
- Human to animal contact and building relationships.
- Consideration for others and taking on responsibility.
- Sport and recreational participation
- Develop interests.
- Challenge and success in competition with self and others.
- Stimulation or relaxation.
- Integration into a community activity.