Two riding schools have been awarded an accessibility mark accreditation — a new quality standard given by the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) that will allow them to improve opportunities for disabled riders.
Grove House Stables in Doncaster and Urchinwood Manor in Bristol join Radway Equestrian Centre in Warwickshire in receiving the accreditation and so becoming involved in the associated pilot project.
The project is being developed and launched by the RDA in partnership with Hoof, the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) Olympic legacy brand. It draws on the expertise of the RDA to help furnish riding school staff with the appropriate skills to deliver sessions tailored to disabled riders.
Alexander Ferriter, who has autism, learning disabilities and epilepsy, rides at Grove House Stables. His mother Felicity, said: “Alex’s disability does not matter to him when he is on a horse. At first he struggled with his fine motor skills, reading and self-confidence, but riding offered him a sense of reward that other activities couldn’t. Before we knew it he was reading, and his confidence and balanced had improved.”
Andrew Stennett, proprietor of Grove House, said: “The accessibility mark will give confidence to customers that our centre and instructors have been assessed and approved by the RDA. I think this a forward thinking [initiative] by the BEF and RDA that will provide significant benefit and opportunities not only for disabled people, but also commercial riding centres.”
Sally Hall, proprietor of Urchinwod Manor and an instructor for the RDA, added: “Through the accessibility mark training, more staff have the knowledge required to work with disabled riders making our sport even more inclusive.”