A “Brilliant Idea” has earned Kesteven Rideability a special award.
The charity, which teaches disabled children to ride horses, was presented with the Brilliant Idea Award at the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) gala.
The awards, held in London and hosted by TV sports presenter Clare Balding, celebrate the outstanding achievements of RDA participants, volunteers and supporters.
Hough-on-the-Hill based Kesteven Rideability beat off competition from 20 entrants to win the award, after it launched a saddle club for children already attending classes on Thursdays.
Volunteers were finding the two 30-minute sessions accommodating six children were leading to an ever increasing waiting list, while the charity struggled to recruit new volunteers and motivate existing ones.
So the sessions were replaced with a 90-minute class broken down into three 30-minute workshops on riding, using a previously under-used horse simulator and pony care.
Group instructor Karen Thompson said: “All the participants have benefited from the extended session as it has enabled them to get more closely involved with the ponies in a safe, supervised situation. The parents have become more involved with the group and enjoy having some time-out together, a chance for them to share experiences over a cup of coffee.
“The number of participants has increased to 18 with most riders able to ride every week.”
RDA chief executive Ed Bracher praised the quality of Kesteven Rideability’s application. He said: “The idea is simple but effective and increases participation, which is one of the charity’s key aims.”
Kesteven Rideability is aimed at children aged six to 15 with physical or intellectual disabilities. Three group instructors and a special needs teaching assistant work together to teach the children, supported by a team of volunteers.