The Avon Riding Centre was founded by Stella Saywell, one of the first physiotherapists that were involved in therapeutic riding even before the formation of the Riding for the Disabled Association in 1969.
For over fourthly years, Avon Centre is providing the positive experience and proven therapeutic benefits of horse riding to children and adults with a wide range of complex special needs.
The Avon Centre is recognised as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for disabled riding regionally and throughout the UK. The Centre enables around 200 disabled children and adults per week to benefit from a carefully structured programme of riding sessions, amounting to 7,500 individual rides annually.
We work with people living with over 30 different forms of difficulties: learning difficulties, neurological conditions, sensory disabilities and those on the autistic spectrum. They range in age from 4 to 78.
Riding helps people with disabilities in many ways: simply sitting up straight on a horse provides physiotherapy and core strengthening exercise without the need to coordinate or understand complex movements. Improved core strength means better balance, improved mobility in everyday life.
Riding is so much more than just physiotherapy. Horses are natural animal therapists, with huge empathy; they also give their riders access to the outdoors and nature, in our beautiful woodland; the opportunity to learn a skill – and take part in sport – boosts resilience and confidence. All this in a friendly, accepting environment and with the opportunity to make like-minded and often life-long friends.
Non Disabled Riding
Avon Riding School provides lessons for riders age 7 and above. We have an indoor and outdoor school, a full set of show jumps and extensive hacking. Group lessons have a maximum of 6 riders. We have a full size simulator to work on specific areas of improvement.
We welcome enquiries from anyone who would like to know more about our work. Why not contact us and see for yourself the amazing work that the charity undertakes.
Beyond The Gait
During the Covid pandemic The Avon Centre developed a new, non-ridden, Wellbeing activity working with a small team of rescue Shetland ponies to support people's emotional health. This allows people access not only to equine facilitated learning, but also to the beneficial effects being in nature in over 100 acres of woodlands and pastures.
Meet the Trustees
Andy worked in Technology and has a working knowledge of SEND Children and RDA Riding. He has been involved with the Centre for over ten years and has recently joined the board of trustees.
Sylvia Vincent has a wide variety of experience working with charities which is extremely beneficial to the Centre. Sylvia is very familiar with the Centre as her daughter started her Paralympic journey here at the Centre when she was 4 years old.
Cliff is a retired teacher and trade unionist. He has expertise in Health and Safety and Employment Law.