Take to the saddle with Accessibility Mark
Research has confirmed that many disabled people would like to be more active, with seven in 10 wanting to increase their activity levels. Participating in sport can increase self-confidence and has many other health benefits, and as well as being fun, achieving goals, however small can be empowering.
With the start of a new year comes renewed enthusiasm to have a go at something new or find a challenge that will push you outside of your comfort zone.
Riding for the Disabled Association's (RDA) Accessibility Mark scheme now has 55 accredited centres up and down the country providing opportunities for disabled people to take up horse riding. In partnership with the British Equestrian Federation, the RDA launched the scheme to encourage more people to enjoy the world of horse riding and its therapeutic benefits.
All coaches at Accessibility Mark centres must be qualified to at least Equestrian Coaching Certificate Level 2 (endorsed by UKCC) or equivalent. All members of staff, including volunteers, must complete training with an ASO (Accessibility Support Officer). This means riders can take part with complete confidence in the quality of teaching on offer to ensure maximum benefit for each individual.
It is not just the staff at Accessibility Mark Centres that are assessed. The horses and ponies must also be passed as fit for purpose, as not every equine is suitable to be ridden by a disabled rider.
Getting active has the ability to transform the lives of disabled people with the positive effects transcending into other areas, making everyday tasks less daunting.
As 2020 is an Olympic year, the Paralympic athletes heading to Tokyo will no doubt inspire others to take to the saddle. A future Paralympic star could be in the making, with the help the amazing coaches and volunteers at Accessibility Mark centres.
If you would like to find out if horse riding is for you, contact your nearest Accessibility Mark centre today – you never know where the journey might take you!
Accessibility Mark status is awarded to a riding centre that has been approved by the RDA following training and assessment. The close link with the RDA means that it can offer continuous support to the establishment to ensure it provides a first-class experience that aims to be hugely beneficial to disabled riders.