The Riding Therapy Unit at Ferring Country Centre provides facilities to benefit children and adults with both physical and learning difficulties by regular contact with horses.
It is a unique establishment for riding and is well known and respected. We are the only Centre of our kind in the area specialising in all fields of riding for children and adults with any difficulty or disability.
We have a wide range of disabilities in the groups attending therapy lessons. They include: down's syndrome, aspergers, ADHD, Leukaemia, deafness, blindness, Kabuki syndrome, attachment disorder, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, dyspraxia, development delay, learning difficulties, physical difficulties and autism.
The riders are aged between 4 and 60 years old. Each month we provide sessions for just over six hundred people. With the assistance of our instructors, clients and volunteers they enjoy the experience of riding. This gives riders the chance to be independent, have a sense of achievement and above all puts smiles on their faces!
Our dedicated team help the groups with attention, concentration and sensory movement. Riding improves gross motor skills, self-esteem and confidence. Social and communication skills are enhanced through animal contact and peer group competition. Muscle development, co-ordination skills, joints being more supple and increased strength and balance aid physical development.
The physiological benefits through riding and touch are immeasurable and have been shown to increase concentration/attention, alertness, calmness, motivation and responsibility. For those with self-injurious or autistic behaviours, the gentle stimulation of touch helps relieve agitation and promotes relaxation. Riders benefit from the psychological aspects of Animal Assisted Interventions (spending time with animals in a meaningful way) such as forming special relationships and attachment to the animals, increased trust and pro-social activity, understanding feelings and emotions, and increased motivation and responsibility towards others.
This in turn leads to a feeling of increased wellbeing, togetherness and companionship. Interaction with animals is meaningful and can also lead to increased language and speech development and understanding of space and time.
Riding Therapy Sessions and Structure
All riders are assessed and start in a session suited to their age and abilities. As they progress they move on to more advanced sessions. We are open to individual riders, adults and juniors, day care centres, school groups and specialist individual groups.
The structure of the sessions is geared to the needs, abilities and requirements of the riders.
A Rider Enrolment Form is required and this includes a medical form which needs to be completed and verified by the rider’s doctor. The doctor will need to confirm their approval and the fact they feel the person would benefit from the sessions.
Besides learning how to ride a horse either independently or assisted, riders enjoy other activities such as, fun days and games. The riders are set individual targets, if applicable, and goals achieved are rewarded with certification.
Parents and/or carers or key workers are consulted and involved at all stages. Trained and skilled instructors adapt equipment and lessons to help all riders achieve directly or indirectly. We have a range of sessions, some of which include the use of sensory items.
Sessions are run six days a week, 50 weeks a year. The horses have a well-earned rest for two weeks over the Christmas period. We hold a number of events at the Centre throughout the year.
We have a faithful group of volunteers who help with the day to day running of our Riding Therapy Unit. Their tireless support and hard work is very much appreciated. They come from all walks of life, some spending just a few hours each week and others a couple of days, helping in all areas of the stables.
The Unit is a busy, but happy environment and visitors are always welcome to see the horses and watch the sessions in progress.
If you would like to enquire about riding therapy lessons please contact us.