RDA in Hong Kong is a non-profit-making organization, which aims to teach disabled children and some adults to ride a horse to the best of their ability. Riding is widely recognized as one of the most beneficial forms of therapy the disabled can receive. It builds self-confidence, improves concentration and self-discipline and, at the same time, provides recreation and sport.
RDA was founded in Hong Kong in 1975 by the then Governor’s wife, Lady MacLehose. A small group of helpers and riders met once a week at the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Riding School at Beas River. Horses and ponies which belonged to the Jockey Club were used, as well as mules from the British Army Transport Division.
By the second year, 300 riders had taken part, using 10 horses, 10 ponies and 8 mules. We had the use of the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Riding School at Beas River, and a small group of voluntary helpers was organised to travel to Beas River one day each week.
The programme was so successful that Lady MacLehose obtained a government grant for land at Pokfulam, and the jockey club built a riding school for the use of the disabled, incorporating a public riding school and a PHAB centre. The Pokfulam Riding school opened in Sep. 1978 and RDA now has its base there.