The Association was founded in 1965 as the Advisory Council on Riding for the Disabled and became Riding for the Disabled Association in 1969 when membership had grown to 80 member groups. HRH The Princess Ann has been involved as an active patron, and subsequently president, since that time.

Peterborough & District RDA was formed in 1966 and joined the Riding for the Disabled Association in 1968. We are proud to say we were one of the first groups to form in the country!

We meet every Wednesday morning in term time and run 5 half hour lessons for children who come from 3 local special schools, Phoenix, Heltwate and City Of Peterborough Academy Special Sschool. The children who come to the sessions live with a variety of disabling conditions ranging from learning difficulties of varying levels to autism, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and more. Our sessions are run solely by a group of dedicated volunteers, supported by the willing school staff.  Many of the children require one to one help so we often have 3 helpers dedicated to one child.

The Association now has over 486 Member Groups which cater for more than 28,000 Riders and Carriage drivers.  Each Group however, is a registered charity in its own right and we fund raise to fund our own running costs. These currently stand at just over £1,000 per term for lessons alone.

Horse riding offers an opportunity for enjoyment, challenge, laughter, achievement, independence and confidence to children who would not usually be able to take part in such an activity. Medical professions recognise that there are significant therapeutic benefits for the rider.  People with physical disabilities discover a new freedom in movement and we see improvements in children week by week as their muscles slowly build up.

RDA gives individuals the opportunity to: 

  • Reach therapeutic goals: improve muscle tone and posture, develop fine and gross motor movement 
  • Achieve their personal ambitions: sit on a horse for the first time, learn new skills, even to win a Paralympic medal!
  • Combat social isolation: build relationships, enjoy events and interaction, develop self-confidence
  • Develop life skills: improve communication, take responsibility, be a team player
  • Experience the outdoors: ride in the countryside, access rural Britain 
  • Connect with animals: bringing positivity and optimism, adding a new element to life
  • The children’s confidence is boosted enormously, we have a lot of fun, and we also do our lessons with links to the National Curriculum.