We work with children and adults with physical and learning difficulties
Barnfield Riding for the Disabled is a unique establishment, the only centre of its kind in the area. We are well known for our warm welcome, achievements and professionalism. We specialise in riding activities for children and adults with any difficulty or disability. Our services include beginner lessons, lead rein ride outs and more besides. Opportunities for those who prefer not to ride include horse care, healing therapies and animal communication programmes.
We are experienced in working with riders with a wide range of disabilities. They include Down’s Syndrome; autism and Asperger Syndrome; ADHD; leukaemia; deafness; visual impairment; Kabuki Syndrome; attachment disorder; epilepsy; cerebral palsy; dyspraxia; muscular dystrophy; global developmental delay; learning difficulties; and behavioural difficulties.
The benefits of riding are immeasurable. Physical development benefits include muscle development; co-ordination skills; joint mobility; and increased strength and balance. The physiological benefits of riding and contact with horses and ponies include increased concentration/attention; alertness; calmness; motivation; and responsibility. For those with self-injurious or autistic behaviours, the gentle stimulation of contact with the horse or pony helps relieve agitation and promotes relaxation. There are also psychological benefits of Animal Assisted Interventions. Forming special relationships with the animals can lead to increased trust; social activity; empathy; motivation; and responsibility towards others. Interaction with animals can lead to language and speech development, and a better understanding of space and time.
These physical, physiological and psychological benefits contribute to a feeling of increased well-being, togetherness and companionship.
Our riders are aged between four and 60 years. With the assistance of our instructors and volunteers they experience the joy of riding, and develop close connections with our wonderful horses and ponies. This gives them the chance to be independent, a sense of achievement and, above all, puts smiles on their faces!
Getting started with riding or riding therapy sessions
Riders who come to Barnfield RDA are assessed individually and the training they are offered is tailored to their age and abilities. A New Rider Form needs to be completed, and a medical form completed and signed by the rider’s doctor. The doctor is also asked to confirm that, in their view, the patient will benefit from the riding experience. As part of our new client induction we check the rider’s height and weight, so that we can match them with the most suitable pony.
Some of our riders have private lessons, and some are taught in small groups. We provide group lessons for children from specialist schools and day care centres.
Parents and/or carers are consulted and involved at all stages. Trained and skilled instructors adapt equipment and lessons to help all riders achieve and have fun.
Lessons take place on six days per week.