Smarden Therapeutic Stables Gain Accessibility Mark Accreditation
Kent based Smarden Therapeutic Stables CIC (Community Interest Company) based in Kent is the latest riding establishment to gain Accessibility Mark accreditation.
Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), in partnership with Hoof, the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) participation programme launched the Accessibility Mark scheme to encourage those who do not already partake in equestrian activities or would not usually have the opportunity to do so, to experience the many benefits that riding can bring.
Set in the beautiful Kentish countryside, Smarden Therapeutic Stables CIC was set up by Occupational Therapist Caroline Parfitt, who specialises in autism, mental health issues, ADHD and learning disabilities and Lisa Evans who has been a riding instructor for over 23 years.
The stables offer one to one sessions tailored to individual needs and half and full days at the yard, including group sessions, working on developing work skills, coping strategies, communication skills and increasing confidence.
With 18 years’ experience of working in a variety of services, Caroline assesses each individual when they first join the stables and sets out goals for them to work towards.
As a KCC (Kent County Council) provider and Pony Club approved stables, Smarden Therapeutic Stables work with a variety of clients, including local special needs and residential schools and social services.
Caroline said: “Just being around horses is hugely beneficial for physical and mental well-being, helping with social skills, and developing teamwork, which is something people with autism can sometimes struggle with.
“The Accessibility Mark accreditation gives people security in the knowledge that we have been assessed by a well-established association and the continued support from the RDA is evaluable.
“We believe passionately in the positive outcomes that can be achieved through working and being with horses in a therapeutic manner,” added Caroline.
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 25 Accessibility Mark approved centres across the country.
To find your nearest RDA Group or Accessibility Mark centre visit www.rda.org.uk.