Raymond Terrace and Lower Hunter RDA Volunteer Orientation Day in February provides opportunity to get involved



Riding for the Disabled (RDA) is a voluntary organization that provides equine assisted activities for people with disabilities to enhance and develop their skills.

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The RDA Centre opened in Raymond Terrace in 1979 by a group of interested horse people.

The facilities have since grown enormously from an outdoor paddock to a substantial equine centre, complete with an indoor covered arena and paddocks for the horses to graze.

Raymond Terrace and Lower Hunter RDA Volunteer Coordinator, Judy Edwards told News Of The Area, “Whist there have been some grants the Centre has been largely built through hard work, fundraising and donations from generous community members.”

The centre currently offers riding, dressage and Hippotherapy programs.

Those eligible to attend must have a diagnosed disability and be over three years of age.

Ms Edwards said, “Our aim is to provide an environment where our riders can have fun and achieve riding skills at their level.”

“Many riders gain the physical benefits of developing core strength and stability as well as improved coordination.”

Horses most commonly come into the care of the RDA through donation or long term loan, with an understanding that the horse returns to the owner when it is due to retire.

“What astounds us all is how much joy the riders get being with these large but gentle animals.”

“The horses seem to sense when they are carrying a rider with a significant disability and respond with calmness,” said Ms Edwards.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer needs to be overs 12 years old, have an interest in horses and the riders, and be prepared to gain a Working With Children Check.

Ms Edwards said, “We train volunteers up through our training days and general orientation.”

“We often say at RDA, people come for the horses and stay for the riders.”

The next volunteer orientation morning is scheduled for Saturday 2 February at 3219 Pacific Highway, Raymond Terrace from 9.30am until 11.30am.

Enquiries can be email to volunteerco.rda@outlook.com


By Kelly MAY

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