Volunteer Opportunities

We welcome new volunteers to help with all aspects of our weekly rallies.

No previous experience with horses or people with disabilities is necessary as training is given. All volunteers follow NZRDA standardised training programmes to achieve the required proficiency. Totara Park Group has a number of coaches. Some are progressing towards completing their NZQA qualifications to become RDA Equine Coaches.

We also involve therapists and specialists who work with the coaches and sidewalkers to ensure the rider gets the maximum therapeutic benefit from the movement of the horse.

With every horse or pony we have a leader and either one or two side walkers, depending on the ability of the rider.

Volunteering is fun and healthy!

Volunteering with RDA offers you the opportunity:

  • to work with horses and learn more about them
  • to meet people and make new friends from all walks of life
  • to learn new skills
  • to benefit from exercise while walking with the riders
  • to travel the country to conferences, seminars, etc.
  • to help enrich the lives of people with disabilities in the community

What hours do we work?

On riding days (Monday and Thursday during school terms and weather permitting) we need our volunteers to assist with riders or act as horse leaders for the following times:

Mondays 8:30am - 1:30pm [Session starts at 9am]
Thursdays 8.45am - 1:00pm [Session starts at 9.15am]

There are 3 riding sessions each day. Some volunteers may not be able to stay for all rides but we are grateful for what time they can give us.

Volunteer hours are not just restricted to our riding days. Maybe you can't volunteer during the day but are interested in being part of RDA. Here is a list of other areas where we need volunteers.

  • We own 8 TPRDA horses which all need daily attention
  • Rider files, individual rider therapy plans, training programmes, rosters, etc., all need formulating and updating
  • Committee work - including finance, PR, etc.
  • Fundraising committees spend many hours raising money to help cover our expenses.
  • It is estimated that over 25,000 volunteer hours are spent each year on our RDA Group
We are always looking for more volunteers!

Contact Us

Mike Exton

Mike was born in Brecon, South Wales. He wasn’t too fussed about school. In his early teens, Mike spent more time in gardening class and paid regular visits to the Headmasters office. He worked as an apprentice carpenter/joiner at Hills Builders and studied at Newport Tech where he passed his City & Guilds certificate. After working at the dock for two years, he went into the Merchant Navy as Petti Officer Ships carpenter where he acquired a taste for Navy Rum!

Mike and his wife came to New Zealand in 1971, living in Wellington for two years. There he worked for Fletchers before moving to Auckland in 1973. Mike worked for various builders in Drury, was self-employed for some years, worked for Ross Roofing before retiring nine years ago.

Shortly after retiring, Mike discovered Riding for the Disabled. He is now known as the Horse Whisperer! Every Monday and Thursday mornings Mike devotes his time to assisting as Horse leader with Riding for the Disabled up at The Totara Park Equestrian Centre in Redoubt Road, Alfriston. He has a great rapport with the disabled riders and the horses, also helping to groom and saddle up, feed and clean up afterwards.

Having got to know Mike through him joining the Boomers a couple of years ago, we can all say without a doubt that Mike loves helping people. For a retiree, he seems to have little spare time to himself as he is always keen to assist with the many projects that come through the Boomer workshop.

Thank you, Mike, for all of your hard work and recent community projects including the Tiaki Trophies and creating a second teak bar for the William C. Daldy Historical Tugboat.