Posted: 25th August 2022 | Back to news feed

The Equestrian Centre at SMB College Group’s Brooksby Campus, which is based in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside, has become an Accessibility Mark accredited centre – providing students with the tools to teach disabled riders when they embark on their equestrian coaching career.


Rachel Watson, Section Manager for Equine at the college, was watching the Paralympics when struck with the inspiration to develop the college’s Degree course in Equine Performance with Coaching to better reflect the needs of disabled riders.


With the help and support of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), Rachel developed a module to introduce students to the considerations needed when planning and delivering riding sessions for a diverse range of riders, including children, older adults, individuals with disabilities, and under-represented populations in equestrianism.

Following this, the team at RDA suggested that the best way to facilitate this learning for students was for the college to take on the Accessibility Mark accreditation.

Accessibility Mark status is awarded to riding centres that have been approved by the RDA following training and assessment. The close link with the Riding for the Disabled Association means that the RDA can offer continuous support to the establishment to ensure it provides a first-class experience to benefit riders of varying levels of disability.

The knowledge and skills gained in this unit will be useful for students wishing to progress onto further courses in coaching, or a career based around delivering specialist riding sessions. Furthermore, this new module designed by Rachel also links with the professional standards required within the fitness and coaching industries.

SMB College Group Equine students who complete this module, alongside additional volunteer-assessed modules with the RDA and voluntary work at two other RDA groups, will be awarded the RDA ‘Coach Certificate’, which qualifies them to coach at any RDA centre.

Rachel said: “RDA has been instrumental in creating the module for our new Foundation Degree Course, providing informative content that will help cement students’ knowledge.

“The Accessibility Mark accreditation will allow us to welcome disabled riders to our centre for lessons, giving students the opportunity to gain valuable experience.”

Applications for SMB College Group’s Foundation Degree in Equine Performance with Coaching are now open and can be made via UCAS –

For more information about courses, open days and college life, visit

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