British Equestrian has partnered with Access Sport, a national charity driving inclusion in community sport, on a review of the Accessibility Mark scheme, a programme which facilitates disabled access to equestrianism. The research phase is now underway with a final report and recommendations due in early 2023.
Introduced in 2013, the Accessibility Mark (AM), which is delivered by the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), acts as an industry quality/ kitemark scheme for equestrian centres delivering riding sessions for disabled adults and children. Fifty-five centres currently hold AM status.
Horse riding and other equestrian activities provide wide-ranging benefits for disabled children and adults and, nearly a decade after the scheme’s launch, this review aims to shape its future development. In turn, it will also inform how more of Britain’s estimated 1750 riding centres can be encouraged and supported to deliver disability-inclusive activity.
The research phase will involve extensive research with all riding centres, including both current RDA facilities and AM holders, as well as non-AM and RDA establishments. Current and potential participants will also be consulted in the next phase of the research.
Mandana Mehran Pour, British Equestrian’s Head of Participation commented; “Access Sport’s experience of, and commitment to, developing sustainable, inclusive opportunities for all disabled participants, made them an ideal partner for this project. While the AM scheme has been a success, we know it could be better. Access Sport will review the current offering and make recommendations to shape its future development which will, in turn, attract new disabled participants to our sport.”
Jude Palmer, Director of Operations for the RDA, added; “We welcome the review commissioned by British Equestrian and are keen to receive the insight and recommendations. The Accessibility Mark is an important element in growing participation, ensuring disabled participants feel confident in choosing their equestrian provider.”
Access Sport’s CEO, Helen Rowbotham, said; “This is an exciting project which aligns with our mission to make inclusion the norm in community sport. Working with British Equestrian, RDA and equestrian community, we aim to shape the AM into a scheme that delivers optimum value both for riding centres and the disabled participants they serve. Ultimately the goal is to further develop and grow disability inclusive horse riding.”