New Zealand Riding for the Disabled Association (NZRDA) is an association of Member Groups. We are a voluntary, not-for-profit organisation which provides opportunities for anyone with a disability to enjoy safe, healthy, stimulating, therapeutic horse riding and horse-related activities in local communities throughout in New Zealand.

There are currently 56 RDA Groups operating across New Zealand.  These Groups provide a valuable service to over 3,200 riders each year, including Recreational Riding, Therapeutic Riding, 'Equine-assisted' or 'Equine-facilitated' Psychotherapy and Hippotherapy (which literally means treatment with the horse.  Over 91,000 rides are undertaken each year across the country.

  • Our core purpose is to provide interaction with horses to develop increased ability, independence and self-esteem for children and adults with physical, intellectual, emotional and social challenges.

  • Our vision is to deliver safe and effective programmes in more local communities to benefit more riders. 

  • As an organization we value Safety, Teamwork, Respect, Quality and Enjoyment.

NZRDA relies greatly on the support of the community. We couldn't do what we do without the support of fantastic volunteers, donors and sponsors who help us raise our profile and sustain the life-changing activities of our RDA Groups.

What We Do

RDA Groups throughout New Zealand provide children and adults with disabilities with an unforgettable experience. Our riding therapy programmes are designed to complement conventional therapies and education.

RDA welcomes people of all ages. A person may be referred to an RDA programme in a number of ways, including word of mouth, or a referral from a health professional (including therapists, doctors and specialists), a teacher or a caregiver.

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, C.V.A. (stroke), Developmental Delay, Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disability, Learning Disability, Hearing and Visual Impairments, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, Spinal Cord Injury (Para/Quadriplegia).

How We Help

Structured riding sessions are done under the supervision of RDA Coaches with the assistance of trained volunteers and horses. Riding activities are designed to encourage participation and the development of individual abilities, with specific goals designed for each rider.

We offer a variety of services for their riders, including individualised riding programmes according to each rider's needs. The following general fields are covered by all RDA Groups in New Zealand:

  • Education for Riders with special needs, as well as education and training in place for helpers, coaches and therapists. RDA activities have a strong learning element and can be used as a powerful educational tool by schools.

  • Sport and Recreation including support and assistance for Para-Equestrians and Special Olympic Riders. Other activities such as vaulting and carriage driving are also offered by some RDA Groups. Competitions are held among RDA Groups on a regular basis.

  • Therapy and Rehabilitation includes Hippotherapy, Therapeutic Riding as well as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

Please find out more about NZRDA by going to our website -

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