The Riding for the Disabled Association is a national charity which began in 1969. Our local branch, Andover, is closely aligned with and supported by South Region and National Office. Andover RDA began in 1972 and we will soon have completed our 5th decade!
Adult riders are from Enham, Day Services and Mencap and we accommodate other adult riders who approach us independently. For people interested in carriage driving, we refer people to local driving groups.
Children come from Wolverdene, Icknield, Mark Way and Norman Gate special schools. Currently we are not able to take individual referrals for children but we can advise and help some individuals to ride so please, get in touch!
Our coaching team and leaders and side walkers are all volunteers. We have continuous training from our region and at home. First Aiders attend all sessions.
4 rides operate from April to October and 1 ride for adults continues all the year round. We support carriage driving at Ashe Warren near Overton although our own driving group has sadly closed. We have pony care sessions for children from one of our special schools.
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Find out about volunteering below.
Riding for the Disabled Association
A National Charity
"At RDA, our horses and ponies provide therapy, achievement and enjoyment for people with disabilities all over the UK. Our network of 500 volunteer groups organise activities such as riding, carriage driving, vaulting and showjumping to up to 28,000 people each year.
We have been carrying out our life-changing activities for over 40 years, and take great pride in the exceptional standard of our instructors and volunteers (18,000 in all).
We offer activities for all age groups and to people with any disability – and you’re just as likely to find an RDA Group in an urban setting as a rural one. We rely on voluntary help, donations and legacies to deliver our services."
An extract from the National RDA Website
Volunteer with Andover RDA
Riding and Driving Ability
We need helpers to lead and sidewalk and more people to train as coaches. We also need people to step up to be trustees and take a more executive role in the Andover Group.
People who volunteer come from every walk of life. Some people have a little time, others have more. Not everyone knows about horses and ponies! We need a range of skills and knowledge and we appreciate everyone.
Apart from becoming ride helpers who side walk or lead ponies, others help by giving their expertise as a trustee. Some exercise ponies in between RDA sessions, deliver ponies to sessions, or organise a ride or coach. And of course, many people raise funds for us. HRH The Princess Royal is our president and she takes her role very seriously, she knows all about what we do and she is always there at major conferences and events.
What will becoming a riding group volunteer mean?
4 children's rides meet between April and October in the summer and the first half of the autumn school term, once a week. We have an adult ride, Abbotts Ann, which meets right around the year. The children's rides do not meet in the school holidays and the two adult rides have breaks as well.
All volunteers do what they can and everyone has time out for family commitments and holidays. We try to have more helpers than we need so that people can fit volunteering into their lives. Sessions last, including preparation and clearing up, for between 1.5 and 3 hours, depending on the ride.
Volunteers receive training and are invited to training events, which are fun and very social. Volunteers need to fill out an application form, provide references and fulfil safeguarding requirements (this is standard practice wherever people volunteer with vulnerable adults and children).