Therapeutic Benefits of Horse Riding
Horse riding provides opportunities for therapy, achievement and fun. At the Avon Centre we currently offer riding for 75 riders regularly each week. We are also able to offer show jumping and endurance riding for some of our riders too. Our facilities include a large indoor arena with stables, an outdoor arena, a wooded area and almost 100 acres of land. We have 15 riding horses and ponies in many shapes and sizes.
We have 18 group lessons each week, mostly weekdays and during term time, led by qualified RDA Coaches and supported by volunteers. We can accommodate riders with a range of capabilities and riding ability, from those who ride mostly at walk, with a full support team, to those who are able to ride independently at walk, trot and canter. We also have a mechanical horse, which can be used to increase core strength, rider confidence, practice or improve riding skills.
Horse riding is a non weight bearing activity which can benefit riders with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, cerebral vascular accident, development delay, Down’s syndrome, learning or language disabilities, multiple sclerosis and injuries resulting from an accident. There are only a very few conditions that we cannot accommodate.
We use the movement of the horse or pony within a riding session to stimulate the desired response in a rider. The riding session content (stretches and exercises) plus riding school movements (straight lines, circles, serpentines) and changes of pace (usually halt, walk and trot) add to the riding experience.
There are significant physical benefits from therapeutic riding, the warmth and three dimensional movement of the horse is transmitted through the riders body gradually making it more relaxed and supple strengthening core stability, reducing spasms and allowing improved balance, posture and coordination.
Riding can also have strong recreational and psychological benefits - freedom of movement, increased confidence and self esteem, taking control, decision making, building relationships and improving communication skills
Riders are also offered an element of risk, often denied to them elsewhere, giving them a sense of achievement and the chance to regain some mobility to those who may have lost it through accident or serious illness. Riders with congenital disabilities discover a new freedom in movement and those with progressive diseases can retain mobility and remain active for longer.
There are educational opportunities too, tests, exams and the chance to represent your group and compete at the RDA’s National Championship - the biggest event of its kind in the world!
In summary, our aim is to improve a rider’s posture, balance, communication, confidence, self esteem and gross and fine motor skills, whilst enjoying a relationship with volunteers and the horse and having fun!
It’s what you can do that counts – We have the potential to transform lives!