Riding for the Disabled Western Australia (RDAWA) is a not-for-profit organisation which is dedicated to providing therapeutic and recreational benefits through equestrian activities to people with disabilities.
With a total population in Western Australia of around 1,982,000 people, it is estimated 20% (396,400) have some level of disablity. With this in mind, RDAWA is striving to build more therapeutic and recreational programs and more centres in support of therapeutic equestrian activities to meet the increasing demand throughout our state.
Equine therapy is used to treat a variety of diseases and disorders including mental illness, cerebral palsy, and brain and physical injuries. RDAWA currently assist over 1000 riders with disabilities, children as young as 2 years and adults reaching the golden years of their sixties and seventies are all welcome participants in our specially designed programs.
RDAWA offers a wide variety of beneficial, recreational equestrian activities, competitive equestrian sports, vaulting, hippotherapy, "treatment with the help of a horse", and carriage driving, all of which are considered to improve cognitive and sensory awareness of our riders.
Studies have shown the benefits of therapeutic riding, the experience of rich sensory stimulation from sights and sounds of the outdoors, verbal and tactile directions from coaches and helpers, movement from horses and visual cues in the riding arena all provide welcome challenges for our riders physical and emotional health.
Our 20 centres are largely managed by over 1000 dedicated volunteers, all of which without their commitment and dedication, RDAWA would not be able to continue to expand. Volunteers are our most valuable resource and we continue to provide support and recognition to the important contribution they make.
Important challenges faced by RDAWA include finding new facilities in locations where RDAWA services are not yet met and the resources required to run them.