Open Space
Thursday, 4pm
Room 2F15


Pony rides: Off-road in a wheelchair


Imagine going cross country, in a wheelchair, enjoying the freedom, the wildlife, the marvellous views and that feeling of freedom from being out in genuine countryside, miles from tarmac, out of reach of the sounds and smells of the road. And occasionally you get that incredible silence of wide open spaces that sucks your brains out through your ears! I want everyone to share access to open country, and parks and beaches. Pony Axe S provides this for anyone, using any wheelchair, across any terrain.

If you have a pony called Obama, and you design and build, pony powered all terrain wheelchair accessible vehicles, and you have an evil sense of humour, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, 2003, is the perfect piece of legislation.

Only in Scotland, can a pony called Obama pull a person using a wheelchair, across one of President Donald Trump’s golf courses, and feel safe, legitimate, and just a little smug.

But the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, does so much more than legitimise a publicity stunt. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, and its trusty sidekick the Scottish Outdoor Access Code mean

  1. Pony Axe S (Scotland) can wind up President Donald Trump of the USA (though to be fair, he may offer help and encouragement, I haven’t tried it yet).
  2. Can make Scotland a country whose legendary beauty will be accessible to everyone.

Scottish legislation doesn’t just open up the countryside to people with disabilities, it opens it to everyone. Pony Axe S provides an activity for all the family. Not for the members of the family with a blue badge, or the members without a blue badge. To be inclusive, you offer the activity to everyone.

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 does that. Let’s celebrate a great piece of legislation by showing just how accessible we can make Scotland. In a year we could produce a calendar showing Scotland’s most beautiful scenery with someone using a wheelchair in every shot. We can make going to the beach, or the park, or the mountains or moorland or forest, loch or glen, something that everyone in Scotland can do.

I started this piece with a suggestion for a fun publicity stunt that would get quite a few laughs and upset about the same number of people. Inclusive access is too important to be a political sketch, when in Scotland we have all the tools to make it a reality. Let’s do it.

Come and hear more about Pony Axe S and consider how together we can make inclusive access to our beautiful countryside a reality.

Can’t make the session? Watch this BBC news clip where Simon explains more about how it works.