Programme: Get Started with Horses 2019

After last year’s successful collaboration with the Prince’s Trust, we were thrilled to run another Get Started with Horse Care programme this November.

The Prince’s Trust’s ‘Get Started’ programmes are aimed at 16-25 year old’s, not in education, training or employment, helping them to transform their lives. The programmes are run with delivery partners like Vauxhall City Farm, aiming to work on skills such as team work, organisation, communication, managing emotions and building confidence.

The Prince’s Trust brought 8 young people to the farm for a week long introduction to horses, the various ways of looking after horses, and career options in the equine world. One of the young people had previously volunteered on a riding school, while everyone else was definitely stepping outside their comfort zone, and experiencing new things every day during the week.

Monday was all about easing the young people into how the week was going to run. The riding team instructed them on basic stable maintenance, allowing them to learn the lay of the land as well as getting to know each other and build relationships within the group.

However from Tuesday onwards it was all systems go!

The group learned about stable management and horse care, including grooming, feeding, handling, tacking up, leading and a bit of riding, from our wonderful riding staff here at the farm, as well as having external workshops delivered by a range of fantastic organisations.

To keep things lively and active, we invited the British Grooms Association to deliver a careers talk, on the same day as Helen Creasy from HAC Therapies did an anatomy and physiology workshop on the yard, talking through equine anatomy on a real life horse, as well as doing a demonstration of equine massage. Thanks go to both organisations, as well as Molly the pony, for being very obliging during the workshop!

Midweek the anatomy knowledge learnt the previous day was put to the test, when NKC Equestrian Training facilitated a British Horse Society accredited Equine First Aid course, which all 8 young people successfully passed – well done to you all!

The next day the group of young people were joined by the British Horseracing Authority who spoke about careers in the racing industry, the marketing surrounding the industry, and pathways to access one of the over 1000 jobs that are posted to their job board every year, as well as the training courses they offer.

The week culminated in a fabulous celebration event on Friday, in which the participants got to invite friends and family, to show off everything they had learnt over the week and demonstrate their practical skills.

Participants got the opportunity to present all the knowledge and skills learnt throughout the week, using engaging posters displaying their favourite parts, as well as interactive sessions, where they led guests to create enrichment treats for the horses, and demonstrated that they learnt how to pick out horses’ hooves and how to properly groom the horses, using a variety of different brushes. Others showed off their abilities and learnt skills in riding, leading and side walking the horses in our riding arena.

The day ended with Annabella, Vauxhall City Farm’s Riding Instructor and Lizi West from the Prince’s Trust summarising the events of the week. Our Trustee and Chair of the Riding Advisory Group, Alison Ewen presented certificates to the young people and congratulated them for their hard work on the course.

Earlier in the week it was discussed with the group on whether the participants wanted to speak during the celebration event, and there had been an overwhelming veto from the group on this, due to nerves, however by the end of the celebration event, every young person wanted to thank the staff and volunteers so much for everything they got to experience this week, that they each ended up doing a short speech, which is also where we will leave you.

We would like to say a massive thank you to the Prince’s Trust for the opportunity of running this course for young people. And a big thank you to our delivery partners for leading excellent workshops and a big thank you to Alison Ewen, staff member’s Annabella, Megan, Alisha and Volunteers Lizzie and Jadwiga.

And last but not least, a huge well done to all the young people who completed the course. We wish you the very best for your future in the equine world and other industries.

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