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British Blind Sport and RDA launch guide to VI equestrian sport

British Blind Sport and Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) are proud to launch a new educational resource, designed to support visually impaired (VI) people who take part in equestrian sport and activities.

Image shows Nicky Greenhill GB para-dressage rider riding horse Gregorian Chant

National charities, British Blind Sport and the RDA are working in partnership to better understand the needs of VI people when accessing equestrian sport. With support from Sport England, the two organisations have collaborated on a research project to identify new insight about the barriers to taking part in horse riding that people with a visual impairment can face, and to better understand the support that coaches feel they need, in order to deliver equestrian activities for VI people with confidence.

Insight gathered from the research project has been used to produce a new educational resource, titled ‘A Guide to Delivering Equestrian Activities for Visually Impaired People'.

Image shows printed copy of equestrian sport resourceThe new guide is designed to educate coaches, leaders and staff at equestrian centres across the country about sight loss and the needs of people with a visual impairment in equestrianism. It also provides recommendations on how they can adapt their equestrian opportunities to make them more suitable for VI people.  

British Blind Sport and the RDA are proud to launch the new guide, and hope it will encourage more people with a visual impairment to take part and enjoy equestrian activities, such as horse riding and carriage driving. 

Alaina MacGregor, Chief Executive of British Blind Sport, said:

“We are committed to providing as wide a variety of opportunities across the sporting landscape for people living with sight loss. Being blind or partially sighted can be isolating and frightening for so many. Conversely, being encouraged to get involved in sport and enjoying the expertise of a coach who can confidently work with a VI person can literally be life changing for everyone involved.

"Working with the RDA to raise the understanding of visual impairments and the small adaptations needed to ensure a positive experience in equestrian sport for visually impaired people has been a fantastic project for us to be a part of. I am grateful to all RDA staff and volunteers for their enthusiasm and eagerness to extend their own knowledge to support the VI community. In sport, we are all better placed when we work together to make a visible difference."

Ed Bracher, CEO Riding for the Disabled Association, said:

“At RDA we want to make equestrian activities such as riding, carriage driving, and vaulting accessible, challenging and fun for anyone who wants to get involved. We passionately believe that anyone with a disability can get real value and benefit from the activity, whether they want to compete, learn a skill or just have fun.
"I am delighted that we are working with British Blind Sport to ensure that we are including more visually impaired people and that we have the skills and confidence to ensure that they have an excellent experience in equestrianism. This is a brilliant resource that will help us work towards this aim. It brings together both organisations’ expertise and knowledge, and I hope that it can help to involve more visually impaired people or work more effectively with those already involved.”

The Guide and final research report will be available for all equestrian establishments to access and download from the British Blind Sport website. 1,200 copies of the Guide have also been produced and are ready for distribution to coaches and sports deliverers who want to learn more about how to deliver VI equestrian sports.

To access a digital copy of the resource click here. If you would like a printed copy please email or call 01926 424247.