Therapeutic Carriage Driving
Therapeutic carriage driving provides an easily accessible activity for disabled and disadvantaged adults and children. The driving sessions take place in an enclosed arena, woodland track or on adjacent fields. Individuals or groups of up to six are welcome.
Why carriage driving?
For some participants mounting and riding a horse is not an option, carriage driving can offer an interesting and achievable alternative. For other participants driving is their first choice, enjoying the company of the carriage driver sitting beside them and the responsiveness and obedience of the pony pulling the carriage. The driving session is comfortable and acieveable for those not used to regular physical exercise.
The carriages we use are easy to access, with a large comfortable seat. An experienced driver is in the carriage at all times to maintain control of the horse, and to encourage the driver to learn the skills required to start taking as much control as is appropriate in order to fully benefit from the carriage driving experience.
Sessions can take the form of a quiet ride in the carriage; this relaxing activity usually has a calming effect, alternatively a more hands on driving session which involves learning to communicate commands to the horse and to negotiate the horse and carriage through achievable manoeuvres.
So, how is carriage driving therapeutic?
- Carriage driving promotes balance
- Helps improve muscle tone and core muscle strength
- Helps improve co-ordination
- Increases confidence and self esteem
- Provides a stimulating and meaningful experience
- Good exercise
- Helps promote good communication skills
- Allows measurement of progression
Our sessions regularly benefit participants with cerebral palsy, congenital heart disease, autism, learning difficulties, partial paralysis, complex physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries and amputees. We are able to offer carriage driving to wheelchair users through the use of a wheelchair accessible carriage.
Quote from participants
“As a registered blind person, who also suffers from other disabilities from a car accident many years ago. Carriage driving has given me a freedom that I cannot describe; there are no words of thanks big enough which can be given to the AVCP who in the last year have taught me to drive a pony and carriage. As 70% of blind people who live alone never go out of their houses, I was becoming one such person, how easy it was, just to stay in, instead of trying to go out. Cars parked on the pavement, overgrown hedges, busy roads, obstacles around every corner. Not to mention the fact how vulnerable a blind person is alone out there. When I first went to the stables and yard a year ago, I thought I would never learn how to put on all the harness, or take it off, never mind driving a pony. Now a year on not only am I putting harness on and taking it off but I can now drive a pony myself, and I have found a freedom I thought I would never find.”
“My name is Annette, I am a below knee amputee. I have always loved horses. I had my accident 7 years ago and about 1 year ago was ready to give up horses as I didn’t feel safe riding. One day I was talking about my problems when they suggested carriage driving. So I started to have lessons and loved it. Then after a while I was asked if I would like to be a buddy for other disabled drivers and I said yes. I am enjoying being part of the team and hope that I will always be a useful .”
If you think carriage driving is for you, or someone in your care, please click here to contact us or ring
07472910009 / 07973222644
WE ARE ALWAYS PLEASED TO HAVE EXTRA VOLUNTEER HELP. VOLUNTEERS ARE TRAINED, SO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN CARRIAGE DRIVING AND HAVE SOME TIME FREE, COME ALONG AND GIVE IT A GO,WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU.