At the end of 2017, Hall Place Equestrian Centre based in Reading gained its Accessibility Mark accreditation.
Riding for the Disabled Association, in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation’s participation programme, launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with commercial riding centres with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.
Hall Place was delighted to receive this recognition. Riders with special behavioural and physical needs have been riding at the centre for over 35 years and the Tilehurst RDA Group ride at Hall Place weekly.
The instructors are enthusiastic and dedicated with great client empathy – Kate Turner, Head Coach, and Ruth Chance, Assistant Coach have 25 years of experience between them and are complimented by the Hall Place team of instructors and yard staff who tailor training to rider needs.
Hall Place Livery Owner, Lindsey Stevens said: “Every child has an inner greatness and finding that greatness is one amazing adventure! Daisy, one of our riders was born at 24 weeks weighing just 1lb3oz and amongst many other diagnoses Daisy has Autism. She faces many difficulties daily but what makes her smile, what makes her flourish and beam with confidence, what makes her concentrate and access learning with a different approach – horses!”
Katherine Cooksley, Grade III para-dressage rider, trained at Hall Place as a child and went on to be part of the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme podium potential squad.
“When I was 21 months old I got Pneumococcal Meningitis with Septicaemia, which caused a hemiplegia resulting in significant left sided weakness. In addition, I had to have amputations to my middle three fingers on both hands and have impaired hearing and loss of binocular vision.
“I started riding at the age of four as a form of therapy, because I was very weak through my left side and needed to build strength in my body. I rode at a private stables and I went around the countryside on the end of a lead rein. After about two years I decided I wanted more of a challenge, so I moved to a local riding school, Hall Place, where I was able to ride in group lessons off the lead rein, which I thoroughly enjoyed! Over the next couple of years I managed to move up groups and discovered jumping.
“This was great fun and, having no fear, I went into the jumps very fast which had my instructors worrying. My favourite pony at this riding school was Dexter who was the cheekiest, most mischievous pony going, and best of all he liked going just as fast as me. I learnt to love horses during this period and it became clear they were going to be part of my future.”
Last summer Sarah Kelly’s daughter Georgia was joined by her friends for a Hall Place Pony Party after some one-to-one riding lessons: “My little girl has various special needs, including hypermobility and visual impairment but nothing has held her back from falling in love with a pony!
“Thank you KJ and Ruth for being so lovely and patient! I cannot praise Hall Place enough for giving my little girl the opportunity to learn to love horses. Without their knowledge, patience and expertise I very much doubt I would have seen such a beautiful sight and the biggest smile ever!”
To find out more about riding at Hall Place contact reception 0118 9426938 or visit www.hallplaceequestriancentre.co.uk.
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.
There are currently 42 Accessibility Mark approved centres across the country.
To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit www.rda.org.uk