At the Riding Centre for Special People we are proud of our dedicated team of skilled staff with varied experience working within equine related activities and therapies to benefit all.
All our Instructors are Riding for Disabled Association (RDA), Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) and British Horse Society (BHS) qualified.
Our team have combined skills, ability and knowledge working with and developing beginners, returning riders, skilled riders and disabled riders.
Christine Barratt - Atkin Proprietor
BA Hons Ed RDAGI
Christine is a former teacher who founded the riding therapy centre in 2007 along with husband Nick. They saw this as an opportunity to combine their love for horses and working with people of all potentials to share the benefits of working with animals. Christine teaches riding and carriage driving as well as skills in art and music.
“I enjoy my job because every day is different .I love seeing individuals in our care grow and develop in self-confidence and independence and the positive affect that the activities and environment that we provide has on them."
Christine is also Chairman for Durham and Tyne Wear North Region Riding for Disabled (RDA)
Nick Atkin Proprietor Nicky has a wonderful rapport with our clients and is often the "class clown", making everyone laugh! He enjoys working with our clients around the farm and taking them out and about. He is also a good taxi driver but insists on listening to one radio station only!! His skills and knowledge within equine enforce safety working with horses and people.
Claire Walker RDAC BHS 2 ABRS Claire is our senior riding instructor and yard manager. She has worked at the centre since we started in 2007. She is an enthusiastic and dedicated instructor with a talent for teaching people with disabilities. She is also very competent in working with non-disabled riders, assisting them to achieve high levels of riding competency.
"I find the work here enjoyable, very rewarding and fulfilling. I enjoy teaching riders and carriage driving, meeting different people’s needs and helping them improve their skills. The centre is a very important place for some of our clients."
Kirstie Stapleton BHS Stage 1RDAGI Kirstie joined the centre in the summer of 2013. She works part time teaching riding and supporting our clients with stable management activities. She also assists in the breaking and schooling of our new, younger horses. Her experience and skills working with nervous riders and young children of various backgrounds is invaluable.
Jorunn Gluyas - BHS Stage 4 Jorunn was initially a volunteer at our centre, assisting with disabled riders.
Jorunn is a University student who is highly qualified in teaching riding - she has BHS Stage 3 and AI.
Jorunn has taught in riding schools in London, the North East and America. She currently teaches riders of all abilities on a Saturday and is very passionate about teaching.
Emma Fryatt as joined us as an Education Support worker assisting our pupils on Alternative Education Provision and supporting our Day care Service Users in the school holidays. Emma is a lovely, cheerful young lady who owns her own horses and dogs and another asset to our team.
Visiting staff are also employed to take art and craft activities and local approved coaches are used to facilitate sporting activities.
We have a strong volunteer base that assist with riding and carriage driving activities. Volunteers are the unsung heroes of our centre. Our volunteers provide an invaluable service.
If you would like to volunteer and join our team, please contact the centre for further information - 01388 604637
"There is something about the outside of a horse, that is good for the inside of a man”, Winston S Churchill
What our visitors say: Tom - attends four days a week. "My favourite horse is Ellie but I good at riding Conker and Jess. I like helping get the horses ready for lessons and harnessing up Molly for carriage driving. I really like dogs and help care for the dogs at the centre and the puppies when we get some to puppy walk."
Interesting facts: Horses have bigger eyes than any other mammal that lives on land.