RDA Programs

Joining an RDA Centre opens the door to wonderful opportunities: to develop abilities, to overcome fears, make friends and, most importantly, to have fun! The visible elation of any person sitting on a horse or grooming a pony for the first time speaks for itself.

The benefits of spending time with a horse are many. They span physical health and emotional wellbeing. Many can be transferred to all areas of life such as home, school and work, and include:

  • Increased self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Improved coordination and muscle control
  • Improved core strength
  • Improved balance
  • Improved communication
  • Increased concertation
  • Improved social skills

RDAQ Member Centres provide activities designed to meet the needs of mounted and unmounted participants. Activities can include: Horse Riding Lessons, Dressage, Hippotherapy, Carriage Driving, Horse-Assisted Sensory Programs and Horsemanship Programs.

All programs are supervised by nationally accredited coaches and specially trained volunteers.  All RDA Centres are equipped with the adaptive saddles and mounting blocks to enable those with limited mobility to participate in riding lessons. The horses and ponies used in riding lessons are specially selected to ensure they are calm and obedient with a great temperament for working with children and people with special needs.

The type and frequency of the programs varies among RDA Centres and is dependent on the availability of qualified coaches, volunteers, horses and equipment. Contact your local Centre to find out about the programs offered at your nearest RDAQ Centre.

Click here to view the RDAQ-brochurev2022.


Horse riding lessons are offered by all RDAQ Member Centres.

The lessons are designed to build balance, confidence, and coordination with the emphasis on fun, freedom and fitness. The rider is encouraged to become as independent as possible as their riding abilities develop. Some riders move on to participating in Dressage tests and other competitive equestrian events.

Riding lessons are offered for an individual or in a group depending on the needs of the rider and the resources available to a Centre.


Hippotherapy for people with disabilities is a treatment strategy by specially trained physiotherapists and occupational therapists using the horse’s movement. In Hippotherapy, the horse influences the rider rather than the rider influencing the horse. Find out more


Unfortunately Vaulting is not currently offered by an RDAQ Centre.

Vaulting allows riders with disabilities to experience a new type of interaction with the horse. They learn that it is okay to move around on the horse and consequently show significant improvement in confidence, balance, coordination and general riding skills. …


At the moment only Cartmill RDA (rdaq.org.au) is able to offer this program.

Carriage Driving  provides  people who may not physically be able to mount a horse opportunities to experience many of the same benefits as mounted riders.



The object of dressage is to improve the communication and coordination between the rider and the horse. Riding the movements required for a dressage test and maintaining good rhythm help the rider to build their coordination, memory and core strength.


RDA Centres  facilitate and support riders to attend a variety of local and state equestrian competition.

The RDAQ State Championships are held in Aug-September each year with riders competing in Dressage and Active Trail Riding events.