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.
Accessibility Mark now has 55 accredited centres up and down the country providing opportunities for disabled people to take up horse riding.
All coaches at Accessibility Mark centres must be qualified to at least Equestrian Coaching Certificate Level 2 (endorsed by UKCC) or equivalent and 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.
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 riders of varying levels of disability.