Three riding centres are among the recipients of a total of £1.1 million of sports equipment given to organisations across Britain to facilitate increased access to sport for disabled people.
Newham Riding School & Association, East London, Conquest Centre for Disabled Riders, Taunton, and Morpeth Group Riding for the Disabled, Northumberland will benefit from the Sport England Get Equipped programme.
This will support the development of wheelchair accessible mounting ramps, riding equipment, such as reins, saddle pads and stirrups, a driving carriage and new horse, plus specialised training for staff members.
Newham Riding School & Association trustee Hannah Brook said the center was excited to receive support from the fund. “It will enable us to create a more sustainable facility and provide an enhanced experience for larger numbers of disabled people, including those with more complex needs. British Horse Society Fundraising Executive, Claire Fairclough, was a great support with the application for funding, which will now allow us put on events to celebrate our rider’s success and to make riding more accessible for more disabled people.”
The Get Equipped programme was designed to build on the success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and fulfil the demand for more equipment for sporting organisations who are struggling to provide facilities for disabled participants. The equestrian events at the 2012 Paralympic Games saw Britain bring home a total of 11 medals igniting a passion in many to take part in equestrian sport.
• Radway Riding Centre in Warwickshire has become the first commercial centre in the England to be Accessibility Mark accredited under a new pilot project by Riding for the Disabled Association. The aim of the project is to help many more people with disabilities to experience the freedom and benefits of riding.
The project is being developed and launched by Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) in partnership with Hoof, the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) legacy programme and funded by Sport England. It is hoped the Accessibility Mark will become an industry standard alongside British Horse Society, Association of British Riding Schools and The Pony Club approved centres. The Mark demonstrates that a centre has undergone specialist training by RDA to enable them to offer rider progression through fun, safe and inclusive riding for people with disabilities.
Maggie Boswell, Proprietor of Radway Riding School said: “We have always wanted to be as inclusive as possible but have lacked the confidence and expertise to do so – the Accessibility Mark has now allowed us to do this and we look forward to welcoming lots of new riders in the future and working closely with RDA.”
There are currently 30,000 riders at 500 RDA Groups around the country, but demand is such that many groups have waiting lists. This new project allows for an additional pathway into riding for disabled people and allows for potential development and rider progression through lessons at a commercial facility.