Sparsholt College in Hampshire is delighted to have secured Accessibility Mark accreditation to expand its services to disabled people.
The college joined forces with Andover RDA group in 2017 and have recently expanded on this by becoming an Accessibility Mark Centre.
The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with riding centres with the aim of opening up more opportunities for disabled people to participate in riding.
The college offers a wide range of equine programs especially designed to enable both adults and children to develop their skills, improve their awareness, communication and confidence. This combined with the numerous therapeutic benefits of riding to help individuals become stronger and more supple within a community of like-minded people is a fantastic way to widen participation in the sport.
Through the Accessibility Mark Centre initiative, the college has been able to successfully train its coaches’, all of whom already hold BHS coaching qualifications, to be a part of this life-transforming venture.
Gabbie McHenry, the Equine Centre Manager explained, ‘Many of the college’s full-time equine students enjoyed being a part of the RDA group sessions last year, gaining valuable experience in volunteering as ride leaders, side walkers and training to become coaches themselves. This opportunity allowed Sparsholt students an insight into working alongside others who have difficulties and disabilities which they found not only rewarding but inspiring too.’
The college will continue to work closely with the RDA to gain further training and advice. However, by becoming an Accessibility Mark Centre, the hope is that this will enable more students to join as volunteers and become involved in a variety of ways. The centre will also be able to host additional lessons and expand the offer beyond the current weekly group lesson.
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 they offer continuous support to the establishment to ensure they provide you with a first class service and an experience that aims to be hugely beneficial.
For further information contact Sparsholt College Equine Centre on 01962 776895 or visit https://www.sparsholt.ac.uk/college/equine-centre/
There are currently 50 Accessibility Mark approved centres across the country. To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit www.rda.org.uk