Coaching through disabilities – CPD workshop

A BHS Continuous Professional Development (CPD) workshop also open to all RDA, Pony Club and BD coaches

One in five people have a long-standing, limiting disability or life-changing condition, and the benefits of interaction with horses and riding are well known. This CPD workshop is an introduction to this huge topic, helping to signpost coaches to a range of practical resources about different disabilities, and safe, thoughtful practices.

The workshop will include a review of life-changing illnesses and injuries in adults (eg Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, sight loss, spinal damage and head injuries) and discussion about the practical issues of coaching them. From mounting and dismounting, adapting tack, contra-indications to riding and working with therapists, there is plenty to discuss!

The roles of RDA , BD, BEF, and Para Equestrian competition will be mapped out as well as the emerging field of equine assisted learning (EAL). It will draw on sports psychology principles about the importance of language and recognition of values and beliefs. Finally, it will highlight how BHS coaches can engage with local RDA groups and how coaching pathways can build on existing qualifications.

Workshop Approach

This one-day, unmounted (6 hours) workshop will cover the topics in an engaging way, drawing on the group’s experience as well as presenting useful information.  There will be a comprehensive workbook and resource guide to take away, and the opportunity to build a network with other local coaches.

Venues and dates – dates for 2020 are being arranged around the country, please contact us for more info. The earliest ones are:

  • March 5 – Thurs South Wellington Riding, Hampshire
  • March 17th Tues W. Midlands Cavalier Centre, Shropshire
  • March 24th Tues South / West Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy, Christchurch
  • April 20th – Mon South East Maidstone, Kent
  • May 5th – Tues South West Avon Riding Centre, Bristol

Cost and booking

BHS / APC member £45 RDA Coach £45

BD/Pony Club Coach £45 Non-Coaches £50

Places are limited to ensure personal attention, so please reserve your place by emailing — We will send you joining instructions , with directions, timing and payment details. Receipts and

Becoming mobile..

When you have a crazy dream it’s a bit scary when it begins to come to life!

Our dream in setting up Positive RDA has been about enabling people to enjoy the healing power of horses and the countryside when they are faced with life-changing injuries and illnesses. Riding out in the countryside is a dream for many, but a basic risk assessment indicates that taking a group out on modern roads to get there is a big No No!

So the idea of a mobile RDA began to develop.  A horsebox that could take 2 horses to lovely places or competitions for riders with disabilities to enjoy – because it has a hydraulic lifting platform to mount and dismount with safety and ease.  The platform would also enable access to a simple day-living area for a cup of tea and cake after – and an accessible loo too.  Riders will be coached on carefully selected horses in a suitable safe environment first, and volunteers will walk alongside the riders and support the whole experience.

So, at last people with disabilities will be able to get out to enjoy the amazing views from the Ridgeway and ride on the glorious North Wessex Downs!

Initial design

Conversations with care home managers then made the link of bringing a horse to them for simple talking therapy and an interesting break from the daily routine.  The accessibility and design of this horsebox will create a unique space where the horse becomes central to a special tea party. It will be a special place to connect with a friendly horse safely, and just escape into memories of the good old days of country living… We are looking at insulation, heating and air-conditioning to make it comfortable to use most of the year.

The dream is becoming a reality now that we are pinning down the specification, costs and presenting the plans to major funders.  It is a true innovation and its bold design should attract attention wherever it goes in the region.  We will be training and insuring our volunteers to  drive it to professional standards and setting up a booking system to make it widely available.

">Please contact us with any contributions to the build and set up costs or connections with charities that would like to partner with us. Volunteers to help with all the different aspects of running the group would be very welcome too!

RDA Dressage Tests

Writing for the List One judge at the RDA Regional Championships we were discussing perceptions of disability dressage.  She commented that it would be a stretch for many  higher level dressage horses with able bodied riders to complete a 5-6 minute test just in walk showing the complexity of movements that are required!  The tests need to be ridden without tension or anticipation to show the quality of the paces and accuracy.

Here is a link to all the tests in use in 2018