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Be a part of our team: Volunteer with RDA

Join us and make a difference

Cambridge RDA is run almost entirely by volunteers. We are always looking for like-minded, dedicated people to give us a helping hand. 

We always welcome new volunteers on any of our RDA days – From Tuesday to Friday mornings.

“You don't need to have much horse experience, you just need to have a passion for helping people and be able to work as part of a team.” 

Volunteer FAQs

What sorts of things can I do to help?

You can be involved in lots of different activities, depending on your experience and what you like to do:

  • Groom, tack up and warm up the horses before the riders arrive

  • Lead and sidewalk the horses during riding sessions

  • Help with unmounted activities

  • Help with morning tea and refreshments

  • Help with maintenance of our arena, grounds, fences and buildings

  • Support fundraising initiatives

  • Organise events and activities.

  • Help with farm jobs

Do I need experience with horses?

Our volunteers come from varied backgrounds, from little or no experience with horses, to owning their own and competing.

We provide ongoing, on-the-job training. We also offer volunteer training courses which cover skills from preparing the horses for riding, to sidewalking and assisting during riding sessions.

When are the riding sessions?

Every morning, Tuesday to Friday from 9.30am to 12.30pm during the school term.  

What happens in the sessions?

Volunteers start about an hour before the session to groom, tack and warm up the horses. If you are only available for an hour or two on an RDA morning, that's fine as well. We have some classes that require more volunteers than others and welcome the extra help for those times. If you aren't available on riding days, we still have lots of ways you can help out.

How old do I need to be?

Anyone over the age of 14 can become an RDA volunteer.

Volunteers at Cambridge RDA

How do I apply to be a volunteer?

Contact us

We'll send you our New Volunteer Introduction Pack via email. It includes information about our activities and the necessary forms to get started.

Download the Handbook

The Volunteer Handbook to find out more.

Meet with us

Meet us & observe a riding session. Meet our coaches and the volunteer coordinator, and get answers to any questions you may have.

Meet our Volunteers

RDA Volunteer, Raewyn


Raewyn and her husband Steve are dairy farmers at Maungatautari with their three kids; Charlotte, Ryan and Sophie. 3 horses, a cat with no teeth and a slightly nutty dog! Raewyn has been a volunteer since 2016. She started volunteering as her daughter was very keen on horses and she thought RDA would have safe horses to learn the ins and outs of horse care and handling. Raweyn's son also has Smith Magenis Syndrome and has participated in RDA in Hamilton

Favourite Memory?
Arrgghhh there’s too many…. We’ve done a Show Hunter & Show Jumping competition, dressage quadrille, cowboy challenge, there’s always something new and fun going on.

What do you enjoy about RDA?
Seeing the kids smiles when they’ve done something they thought was beyond them.  I’ve also met some of the nicest people! 

RDA Volunteer, Hillary


Hilary relocated to New Zealand in 1990 with her husband Donald and their two daughters, who are now in their 30s. They reside in the Wellington region, bringing joy to Hilary and Donald with three adorable grandchildren!

Hilary has lived in the Cambridge/Ohaupo area since 1996 and until very recently owned a horticulture sales and consultancy business (which hopefully means with a little more free time, we will be seeing more of Hilary on other riding days ;) ) 

If you have ever been down at RDA on one of our Saturday riding sessions, Hilary would be a very familiar face. Hilary has been with Cambridge RDA for over 15 years. Starting in 2006, once her daughters no longer needed sport transport. Hilary has had a lifelong love of horses and been riding since her teenage years. Amongst other volunteering roles through her life and different associations with RDA both here and previously in the UK.  Hilary dervies a great deal of pleasure from giving in many different forms.

Favourite Memory?
I recall, when a somewhat new volunteer, being in charge of a young boy who, at a Regional Games Day, completed a Dressage Test absolutely faultlessly without any assistance from me, just standing at the arena entrance.  It brought tears to my eyes!

What do you enjoy about RDA?
RDA gives me my fortnightly 'horse fix' and the ability to connect with both the riders and their families; the smiles on the faces of both when the children and young adults achieve something new and maybe something which many other people do not have the opportunity to do, is reward in itself for the time I spend with them.  Many friends have been made with fellow volunteers, riders and their families over the years. 

RDA Volunteer, Nerissa



Nerissa is a year 13 student at Cambridge High School. She lives with her parents on a lifestyle block in Hautpau with her two horses, few cows and cat. Nerissa has been volunteering with us since 2018. She heard about Cambridge RDA through friends and thought it was a great way to put her horse skills to use, making a difference with people in our community.

Favourite Memory?
When one of the Saturday riders, Daniel, had his first ride off lead. The smile on his face was priceless! 

What do you enjoy about RDA?
Being a part of the rider's progress, not only in their horsemanship but also their self-confidence. 

RDA Volunteer, Di


Di lives in Roto-o-rangi with her husband Greg and dog Gazza on the family farm. A proud mum of 5 sons and grandmother to 14 grandchildren, Di grew up in Te Kauwhata on a sheep farm, she has been around horses her whole life and is very successful in competitive riding, Olympic showjumping, day eventing and more! 

After retiring from 20 years as a bank manager, Di was looking for something more and after seeing an article about RDA in the newspaper, she signed up! Di has been a volunteer now for 14 years and spent 10 of those years as the President before stepping down.  Instead of the usual questions I ask, I have instead "A Note from Di"

"In 2007 we had very little…thanks to the council we had the land, but in the way of amenities we were very short. Horses tied to the fence, a container for the horse tack, a thermos for a cup of tea, portaloo and we often had to cancel riding sessions due to bad weather. But we had this huge passion and commitment to take Cambridge RDA to the next level. With the help and support of many, many people and a truly brilliant community, this is what we did. 
Cambridge RDA for me is such a happy, productive place, expertly run by our exceptional hard-working Operational Manager Vanessa Donnelly.  We have a positive, energetic, hard-working team of trained volunteers and qualified coaches, all for our very special riders and our patient, loyal, tolerant and versatile horses.
Where else can one get their horse fix, their people fix, and their exercise & fresh air requirements, all in one place? And the morning teas are the best in town!!
We do this for each other. We do this for our community. We do this for all involved  and we love it."

NZRDA Leading a horse at RDA

NZRDA Sidewalking at RDA