Horse riding is accessed through The Riding Disability Association (RDA). RDA is an inclusive and diverse organisation which welcomes riders with physical and learning disabilities and autism. Pre-identified children (See Horse Riding Criteria below) from Lady Zia Wernher School access this provision once a week.
Children benefit from improved gross motor development, including core strength abilities and balance. The children access therapeutic elements of these sessions through close contact with their consistently accessed horse. Social skills are promoted whilst working with coaches and volunteers who become familiar, positive faces in the children’s weekly routines.
Horse Riding Criteria - Lady Zia Wernher School – 2022 – 2023
A pilot project with RDA had been accessed by 8 children from November 2021, to July 2022. During this time, we have seen the children develop communication skills, social skills, independence, SEMH development (wellbeing and happiness) and gross motor skills and have monitored elements such as logistics, group size, pupil need and age. Participants have been from different cohorts and age bands. Sessions available at RDA are riding or horse care. Pupils have accessed one or the other. Evidence of progress has been secured through a grading and certificate system.
It is clear the sessions benefit our pupils and we will continue to offer at least 1 session per week on our timetable. Sports Premium and parent donation will fund the sessions. A criterion for attending is required due to a greater number of potential “applicants” than there are places, sessions will focus on riding rather than the horse care sessions as this is the most effective use of time and experience.
- Pupils’ will attend for 1 term. This will allow for an effective time period to attend and progress in.
- There are no hoisting facilities therefore a wheelchair user has limited access. Once a child is too heavy (13.5st / 80kg) or tall to lift safely it is too risky for all for them to attend. Therefore, children accessing the sessions are required to walk independently.
- Pupils’ with ASD diagnosis have responded particularly well. These pupils’ have tended to have barriers to engagement such as hyperactivity, attention deficit, sensory defensive and communication difficulties.
- By focusing on 1-year group, it enables an equity of access throughout a pupil’s schooling.
- 22-23 – Year 3
- 23-24 – Year 3 & 4
Research into the benefits for riding & autism is very positive. For further information, please follow the links below: