Riding for the Disabled Association

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RDA logo green.jpg

The Riding for the Disabled Association, also known as the RDA is a United Kingdom based charity[1] focused on providing horse-riding and carriage driving lessons to people with both developmental and physical disabilities. The RDA is a federation of about 500 independent groups and serves over 26,500 adults and children each year.[2]

In addition to running international operations, the RDA is also a member of the international umbrella group, the Federation of Riding for the Disabled International.[3] RDA Centres operate in over 45 countries including Australia (130 centres),[4] Brasil, Canada (80 centres),[5] Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand (55 centres),[6] Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, UAE, and the United States. In the UK, the association is one of 16 members that make up the British Equestrian Federation.[7]


Therapeutic horseback riding became popular across Europe after Lis Hartel, despite being paralyzed from the knees down by polio, won the silver medal for Individual Dressage at the 1952 Summer Olympics. Her success inspired therapeutic horseback riding organizations to be created across Europe, and 23 were present in the United Kingdom by 1966. In 1964, a loose organization called the Advisory Council on Riding for the Disabled was formed to coordinate these groups, and in 1969 it was organized into the Riding for the Disabled Association. Lavinia Fitzalan-Howard, Duchess of Norfolk was its first president and Princess Anne its patron (1971). In 1985, Anne became the RDA's president.[8][2]

In 2019, the RDA celebrated its 50th anniversary at Hartpury College.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Riding for the Disabled Association, registered charity no. 244108". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  2. ^ a b "A Brief History of the RDA". Shelley Centre for Therapeutic Riding. Retrieved 2021-02-07.
  3. ^ "Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International (HETI)". Riding for the Disabled International. Retrieved 2014-10-27.
  4. ^ "Riding for the Disabled Association of Australia". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA)". Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  6. ^ "New Zealand Riding for the Disabled". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Member Bodies". British Equestrian Federation. Archived from the original on 2010-04-03.
  8. ^ Scott, N. (2005). Special Needs, Special Horses: A Guide to the Benefits of Therapeutic Riding. Practical guide series. University of North Texas Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-57441-190-4. Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  9. ^ "Now we are 50". Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA). Retrieved 2020-06-25.

External links[edit]