One of the limiting factors preventing people with disabilities from the joy of riding in the countryside is having the facility to get safely on and off the horse. To solve this we have a hydraulic lifting platform which is wide enough for a wheelchair user and two assistants and is high enough to make it easy to transfer onto the horse.... and ride away.
A pop out side increases the living area, which the horses face into. An extra wide door means that wheelchair users from care homes can be lifted in to meet the horses in comfort. The area is heated and has a loo, washing facilities and simple food / hot drink preparation area to make it a comfortable space to use for private conversations.
An awning and external washing facilities gives a defined socially distanced space for volunteers and visitors to meet up - and eat cake!
Visits to Care Homes and Hospices
Learning about the impact of Covid-19 on care home residents was harrowing. We believe that visits from gentle horses can stimulate re-engagement from those that became withdrawn and depressed. They will encourage memories of rural life, horses, racing and the joys of the animal contact. These conversations are in the private living area of the horsebox, which the horses look into, just like a stable yard. The lifting platform ensures that those with mobility issues are easily able to come up into the area.
These sessions are supported by trained coaches ensuring that the horse is calmly managed while carers and family share the special experience with the participant. This can be adapted to meet biosecurity guidelines
We are fundraising to subsidise the cost of visits to care homes and hospices, but will require a contribution for the service to cover fuel and related costs. We can promote events which are organised to fund these special visits.
Riding out in special places
This was the original focus of the Happiness Horsebox service. When Hannah Francis was going through her treatment she said that riding and being with horses made her feel normal again.... We understand.
We can take a rider's own horse, with a companion, to places to ride, as a special service to people with life changing illnesses and injuries. We need to agree the scope and extent of the ride and that appropriate support is in place. We have some bursaries to subsidise these rides, and can support your fundraising events to raise money for a participant.
The open service will start in spring 2021. Unless using your own horses, riders will be assessed and coached at a licensed riding school or RDA group first, so that any needs or restrictions are understood. A programme to build up skills and confidence will be agreed before the ride. This will also ensure the suitability of the horse, tack and that everyone supporting the ride is fully briefed.
Support at Para Equestrian competitions
The Happiness Horsebox can attend Para equestrian competitions and training events and support riders to compete at open competitions too. We need a contribution to the service to cover the costs of driving there - and providing cake!
Attending other events to highlight accessibility issues
We are delighted to use the Happiness Horsebox to highlight the importance of access to horses and nature for people with life changing illness and injuries. It is an attractive vehicle that will always attract interest and attention. It also has a disabled access loo.... Please invite us to your event, show or open day using the booking form.
Professional Horse transport
he Happiness Horsebox is licensed and insured as a professional horse transporter so that it can take horses from a wide range of places to support participants in different areas. It meets high testing standards and all of our drivers are HGV qualified and hold up to date CPC cards.
The horsebox, with one of our HGV drivers, is available to book for private visits, to support events - and to move 1 or 2 horses. It has full height partitions, a new aluminium floor with non slip covering and is disinfected between every use. The horses travel facing backwards which has been shown to reduce travel stress.
This service helps to subsidise our visits to care homes and taking participants out for special rides. We aim to minimise excessive mileage cost by co-ordinating visits in an area, so it helps if you have some flexibility over time and date.
Due to travel costs and time constraints, the horsebox will mainly operate in a 50 mile radius of M4 J15 (Swindon) in 2021. It is not available for self drive hire, or to travel out of the UK.