Therapeutic Riding Coach Course graduates awarded

  • 24 March 2023, 14:06

Hundreds from within the disability sector can now avail of therapeutic horse riding coaching and equine-assisted activities after the completion of training courses delivered by Childvision and the Association of Irish Riding Establishments (AIRE), in association with Horse Sport Ireland.

It is the culmination of an 18-month project that began in September 2020, when HSI secured €40,000 funding under the NGB Community & Disability Sports Inclusion Fund.

With the support of this funding obtained by HSI, Childvision and AIRE delivered the courses which provided comprehensive training to equine professionals in therapeutic riding and equine-assisted activities. The investment engaged with communities across the country, focusing on people with disabilities, people who are educationally disadvantaged and from disadvantaged communities.

This week, certificates were awarded to successful candidates who participated on the course from equestrian centres around the country, and they will now provide crucial supports to those with disabilities ranging from Cerebral Palsy to Acquired Brain Injury, Cognitive Difficulties, Mental Illness, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorder, Developmental Delay and Social/Emotional Disorders.

With demand for these services increasing every day, there is now a qualification for experienced equine professionals in equine-assisted activities. It was deemed essential for the welfare and safety of clients that equine professionals expanded their skillset, in order to provide these services.

Equine professionals who completed the course were awarded with their certificates this week

By addressing the need for education, and following the culmination of this Therapeutic Riding Coach Course, which took place at the Childvision Equine Assisted Therapy Unit, Dublin, a standard, widespread, quality service to children and adults with a disability in Ireland can finally be provided.

The Childvision Equine Therapy programme had been unable to meet the demand from families, so this programme, completed by candidates from around the country, ensures greater access to therapeutic horse riding and equine-assisted learning, which will prove invaluable to so many.

Terri Brosnan, Equine Project Manager, Childvision, said: “We are delighted to have been able to develop and deliver this program to so many talented and enthusiastic coaches around the country.

“It has been a pleasure to share our expertise and experience with them and we feel that our services have benefitted from the exchange of ideas and feedback that has come from these courses.

“In our opinion it was important for Equine Assisted Services in Ireland that both Horse Sport Ireland and AIRE were instrumental in supporting the ongoing development of this education program. The knowledge and input from qualified equine professionals is vital to the advancement of this sector.”

Rita Dunne, Chairperson of AIRE, who worked tirelessly alongside the team at Childvision, said: “AIRE were very pleased to receive Dormant Account Funding from HSI and to be able to partner with Childvision in the creation of the Therapeutic Riding Coaching Course.

“It will benefit many children and adults around the country with special needs.”