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At Shiresmill we offer Therapeutic Riding. Lessons are all under the direction of a trained RDA Coach and take place as listed under 'Session Times'.

Download our Rider Application Form and Guidelines below:

Rider Application Form (PDF)

  • Therapeutic Riding

    Therapeutic Riding

    In Therapeutic Riding the aim is to teach basic riding skills and horsecare, gradually decreasing the level of assistance required; riding is taught but there is also a focus on the specific need of the rider.

    Man has been using the horse for work and pleasure from ancient times.

    There is a very unique relationship between man and horse.  There is an old saying that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of man.

    Horse riding is a real rehabilitation of both the mind and the body.  Physically it helps to improve balance, coordination, muscle control and posture.  In addition, motor planning (getting on and off the horse), decision making, communication, and social skills are all improved in an enjoyable environment.

    The rhythm of the horse as it walks provides a multisensory input to the rider which is hard to replicate through other activities.   

    Some individuals who display challenging behaviour and also some of those on the autistic spectrum find that the horse gives a non judgemental response to their actions which calms encouraging relaxation and thus learning.

    Horse related activities such as grooming, leading and learning how to care for the horse can help to develop self esteem and confidence.

    Most of all being with horses is fun and a place where riders can learn new skills, often through games working as a team or individually, for example learning a dressage test.  There are always certificates to work towards and endeavour awards to encourage progress.

    All the sessions are lead by trained coaches who attend regular updates and assessment of their skills through training sessions with other RDA groups in the area.  They are supported by the team allocated to each horse or pony; usually a leader and sidewalkers as required.  The classes usually have a maximum of 4 or 5 riders.

    Want to Ride?

    For Therapeutic Riding or Vaulting;

    • Complete and return application form with medical section completed and signed by a medical person who knows the applicant.  Please note that until the application form is completed and returned you will not be added to the waiting list.
    • Read the information attached to the application form carefully.
    • Wait for a taster session.
    • Get in touch if need help (see Contact Us)

    Rider Information

    For Theraputic Riding riders must be a minimum of 5 years of age, and both adults and children can apply.

    There is a weight limit of 12 and a half stones (80.64 kg).  This is for the welfare of our horses

    Starting to Ride

    The Pony or Horse

    The pony or horse is specifically selected for the rider according to their height and weight. The rider will be introduced to the pony and helped to mount. Some riders mount the pony from a raised platform or occasionally from a mounting block; whichever method is used the rider will have support from the coach and helpers.


    Sadly we are no longer able to offer this service as our trained Physiotherapist has retired and therefore is no longer registered with the Health Professional Council. However, she will remain as a RDA coach working with riders requiring more individual attention. 

    Waiting List

    We do have a waiting list of riders and the availability of a suitable pony may determine priority. We have a Retired Physiotherapist who carries out assessments on all new riders. She will identify what support or special equipment may be required to assist with the ride. 

    Ultimately, the aim is to achieve maximum independence for each rider.

  • Vaulting

    Equi-Power have finished holding sessions at Shiresmill and are now located nearer Stirling. If you wish to find out more about vaulting, we are happy to help put you in touch with Equi-Power. 

  • Education Through Horses

    Education Through Horses

    RDA isn't only about riding a horse, it is also a platform for learning in an engaging, supportive, rewarding and fun environment.

    Increasingly RDA activities are being recognised for their educational benefit as curriculum-based subjects can very easily be incorporated into the sessions.  The end result can simply be life changing!  Numeracy and increased vocabulary can be included easily whilst tacking up the pony, laying out the arena or making up the feeds for the next day.


    At Shiresmill we offer;

    • Grade Certificates for horse riding
    • Grade Certificates for horse care.
    • Endeavour Awards
    • Endurance Awards
    • ASDAN
    • An annual sponsored challenge ride
    • The Tracker System which monitors change in 5 key areas over a short period of time.


  • Session Times 2019
    Session Times of our Classes

    Day/ Time Date Number of Sessions

    Monday Evening



    1st April

    **No classes 8th-15th April**

    22nd April- 24th June


    Tuesday Morning


    11.15am-12 noon


    5th February- 2nd April

    **No classes 9th-16th**

    23rd April-25th June


    Wednesday Morning 





    6th February- 3rd April

    **No classes 10th-17th April **

    24th April-26th June


    Thursday Morning



    7th February- 4th April

    **No classes 11th-18th April**

    25th April-27th June 




    Thursday Evening 



    18th April- 12th September  2

    Friday Morning




    8th February- 5th April

    **No classes 12th- 19th April**

    26th April- 28th June 


    Saturday Morning

    10.15am- 11am


    12 noon- 12.30pm

    9th February- 30th March

    **No classes 6th April- 13th April**

    20th April-22nd June





    Please note: Daytime classes resume in February and the evening classes in April (see table above).  All classes will be off during the Easter break with the exception of the Thursday evening class which will begin on April 18th.

    The Monday class will not have any breaks for public holidays.  However, please let us know in advance if you will not manage in order that we can plan ahead.


    Please always check your emails/ texts if the weather is looking unsuitable as the lessons may have been cancelled.


    Happy Riding!

    Download our Rider Application form below:

    Rider Application Form (PDF)

  • Rider Testimonials

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