NA Intro

Nathasha asked me to look at what I saw as the five major barriers to wheelchair access. Soft sand, muddy estuaries, long grass, rocky slopes and river beds are easy, so here I choose five of the problems that give me most trouble.

Pony Access uses ponies to provide access, and at the same time provides access to ponies, hence Pony Access. We do what it says on the tin.

I am Simon Mulholland, and I invented the iBex, the safe, wheelchair enabled, pony drawn vehicle that makes Pony Access possible. Pony Access uses the iBex, and my pony training system to provide safe, all terrain access, across any terrain, for any person, in any wheelchair, manual or powered. www.ponyaccess.com has all the details.

Pony Access has faced a number of challenges during development; engineering issues and animal behaviour issues are the easy ones. Engineering and animal behaviour follow logical patterns, the problems come with human behaviour. Human behaviour is frequently governed by assumptions, and those assumptions can be based on hard data, and confirmed by repeated experiment, or they can be the product of a wild guess after two seconds of thought. Assumptions based on hard evidence can be changed by producing more evidence that contradicts the original assumption, the assumptions based on guess work seem to be welded permanently into the skull. I hope these articles will make people think about the issues involved before they make a rash, and irrevocable assumption.

There are five articles in this sequence, as follows:

Safety, especially in England, can be seen as a block to an activity. ” Elf and Safety gone mad!” is a standard headline as yet another myth is perpetuated about the evils of Health and Safety. In this article I look at Health and Safety legislation as a positive feature, providing more choice.   “It wouldn’t be safe!”

Wheelchair access becomes easier if it is assumed to be possible, desirable and reasonable. In these three articles I discuss the attitudes that suggest wheelchair access, cross country is impossible, not wanted and an unreasonable demand for special treatment by the disabled community.

PAGE People in wheelchairs don’t want to get muddy, or cold or wet or hot or ………….

PAGE If the wheelchair can’t get somewhere, that’s it.

PAGE People in wheelchairs aren’t interested in/ don’t want to………………..

The final article is difficult to categorise, yet for me, it was one of my biggest stumbling blocks. I have never seen the issue discussed before, so why not start here, and discuss whether people in wheelchairs want to get out of their wheelchairs. Think about it. It isn’t as simple as it first appears.

PAGE People in wheelchairs want to get out of them.

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