Project information

Therapeutic Horseriding for Disabled Children

Provide a therapeutic riding facility for disabled children with complex physical disabilities and health needs so that they can participate in an outside sporting activity in the same way as their able-bodied peer group.

January 2014 - December 2014

Charity information: Chailey Heritage Foundation

Chailey Heritage Foundation logo
  • Need


    Currently, there are no other riding facilities in the area that are able to cater for very disabled children. Their complex physical disabilities and health needs (all are wheelchair users, over 50% are visually impaired and some have dual sensory impairment, communication and learning difficulties). prevents access to local groups due to manual handling issues and their high medical needs which require onsite nursing/medical support.


    By using our skills and expertise in the area of complex disability, we can offer Therapeutic horse riding to profoundly disabled children as part of a strategy of therapy. We already have a specially adapted all-weather riding arena and can provide trained physiotherapist, staff, medical expertise and volunteers who are experienced in therapeutic riding and the needs of severely disabled children. We also have the specialist equipment needed.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To offer disabled children an opportunity to participate in a sport


    » Our pupils will have an opportunity to experience sustained physical activity in an outdoor environment.
    » For those who need more stability than can be provided from ground a Hippotherapist sits on the pony with the child to help posture & do activities.
    » Carry out the neccessary risk assessments to ensure the provision meets all safety and welfare requirements and training required to support it.

    Receive positive feed back from children, parents and carers and providers. Evidence of visible improvement in some aspects of the children's posture and responses.

    Aim 2

    Promote educational and physical development


    » Riding Increases their physical fitness and provides pupils with an opportunity to be out of their postural equipment.
    » Teach the pupils how to direct the pony which helps to develop meaningful alternative communication as many pupils are not able to talk.

    Through the pupils Individual Education Plan Target, eg: pupil to lift her head for 5 strides with two side walkers facilitating. Achieved in 6 months.

    Aim 3

    To offer physiotherapy in a fun and innovative way


    » The movement of the pony helps with with core stablility such as joint mobility, balance, confidence, muscle tone, head and trunk control.
    » Gives the pupils an opportunity to see things from a different level as most of the time they are in wheelchairs.
    » Increases general knowledge and gives the pupils a real interest

    By making it fun, pupils can enjoy working at complex physiotherapy exercises like maintaining head control, giving eye contact to a side walker and 'commanding' pony to 'walk on'

  • Impact


    Riding is an important element in the holistic education and well being of our disabled pupils who have complex physical disabilities and health needs. The benefits are demonstrated by improvements in the abilities assessments of each pupil. This covers every aspect of their progress. Riding enables many of the children who take part to achieve goals/target that would not have been possible without this activity. There is marked improvement to physical development, health and morale.


    Lack of funding, sickness of the ponies, shortage of appropriately trained staff
    We are continually applying to appropriate sources to try to ensure that funding is always in place.
    Sickness of ponies – When the ponies are not available we substitute with specially adapted bicycle riding.
    Shortage of trained staff – we have over 80 volunteers taking part in various activities around the school –many are designated to riding and more are trained as and when needed.


    Progress reports are prepared at regular intervals, at least annually and updates on our website

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £38,380

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £17,500 Riding Teaching Assistant Person responsible for all aspects of the care of the ponies and supervising all riding sessions
      £2,565 Supervising teacher Part of their overall role witihin the school
      £13,680 Hippotherapist Specially trained physiotherapist
      £2,200 Pony maintenance For example blacksmith, vet
      £2,435 Weekend care for ponies and In The ponies are in the school during term time when we are responsible for their care.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Private Trust £1,100 Guaranteed
    Local Freemasons £2,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Chailey Heritage Foundation is situated between Haywards Heath and Uckfield in Sussex. The riding takes place on the all-weather riding arena which has been purpose built with hoisting facilities, mounting platform and a rubberised non slip surface.


    Currently we have 25 young people between the ages of 3-18 participating in riding. All 25 have complex physical disabilities, health needs and in some cases sensory impairment, leading to postural instability, poor motor control and coordination difficulties which make it extremely difficult for them to participate in a physical activity without the support of a specialist team. Because we have 52 week residential provision, we can take young people from local authorities across the UK.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Chailey Heritage Foundation has been working with disabled children for more than 100 years and is well placed to offer this activity. Our aim is to provide a stimulating and inclusive environment where all young people are given every opportunity to make progress towards fulfilment. We have the staff with the wide range of skills and expertise needed to enable these young people to participate in therapeutic horse riding.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sarah Ottway

    Part of Sarah's role within the School is to supervise every aspect of the riding provision - staff, pupils, ponies, training, health and safety.

    Michelle Quibel

    To work with the teacher/supervisor providing skilled care for the ponies and lead, instruct and support during all riding sessions.

    Katherine Anscombe - Hippotherapist

    To provide physiotherapy. Direct the sessions, volunteers and other staff. Undertake riding assessments, provide written reports about pupil progress.

    Group Of Volunteers

    It requires three volunteers to support the pupils, Hippotherapist, Teaching Assistant for every pupil that rides.

Chailey Heritage Foundation