Local riding school provides opportunities to those who may miss out

Knowsley Village Stables Yard Manager Penny Pleasant
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Local riding school provides opportunities to those who may miss out

Educating Through Accessibility Mark

A local riding school in Merseyside is helping young people with learning difficulties to find a career path, with the help of a nationally recognised scheme.

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), in partnership with Hoof, the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) participation programme launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

Wendy Kinnin, owner of Knowsley Village Stables is passionate about providing opportunities for those who might get left behind through the conventional education system due to learning difficulties, having worked in the care profession all her life with both vulnerable adults and children.

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Knowsley Village Stables is a friendly riding school providing a hands-on educational experience for people of all ages and abilities, with the aim of encouraging a high standard of training, riding and stable management to young children, adults and people with learning difficulties, to open up opportunities and help them achieve.

A British Horse Society and Pony Club approved centre, Wendy and her team hold regular Accessibility Mark sessions for clients from schools, day centres, and children’s homes, and work closely with national disability charities.


Clients attend for either a one off session or a six week course. The six week course is designed to provide an introduction to basic horse care and riding, including yard safety.

Some find the pressure of exam conditions in mainstream schooling stressful, leading to under achieving and an uncertain future, but some of the young people that have attended Knowsley Village Stables have gone on to successfully gain their Level One Essential Horse Knowledge certificate.

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With the help of her new yard manager Penny Pleasant, Wendy is hopeful the students will return next year to study for Level Two.

Said Wendy: “Very often clients arrive with their support workers who tell us that we will struggle to engage with them and get them to follow instruction. They have poor communication skills and are sometimes so unconfident they can’t look you in the eye.

“The transformation that can be achieved through patience and understanding is just amazing to witness, seeing them grow in confidence and gain life skills is incredibly rewarding.

“For some young people with learning difficulties finding direction in life can be a challenge but if they can gain a nationally recognised qualification it is a foot on the ladder to a brighter future, opening doors where there were previously limited options available.”

Accessibility Mark status is awarded to a riding centre that has been approved by RDA following training and assessment. The close link with the RDA means that they offer continuous support to the establishment to ensure they provide you with a first class service and an experience that aims to be hugely beneficial. There are currently 34 Accessibility Mark approved centres across the country.

To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit www.rda.org.uk.

Written by 

Author: Suzanne Ashton Founder, Everything Horse email: sashton@everythinghorseuk.co.uk

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