After enjoying a trip to a farm in Wales last year, the young people of Solidarity Sport wanted to have a similar experience with horses at a stable. Thanks to a £750 Jack Petchey Foundation Small Grant, 30 young people had the opportunity to visit a stable in Reading to learn how to ride and care for horses. Solidarity Sport gives disadvantaged children the chance to play sport and take part in activities that they would not usually have access to. This helps them learn new skills and broaden their horizons.
In August 2017, the group of young people made their way to Checkendon Equestrian Centre in Reading. They spent the first half of the day learning about stable management and the second half learning how to ride.
The young people were amazed to see how well the horses were treated at the stables. They learnt that caring for horses requires a lot of love, energy and hard work. All came away from the experience with a fuller idea of what actually happens in a stable, which also increased their compassion towards animals. This was demonstrated when one of the young people was riding a horse which had asthma and said “I don’t mind not going fast, as long as she’s feeling okay, I’ll be happy.”
The whole trip was an excellent experience which the group would not have been able to take part in without the Small Grant funding. The young people absolutely loved every moment of it, and a lot of them were surprised at how big the stable was considering it was only in Reading, a short distance from London. The group came away feeling very grateful for the experience and many of them faced their fears of animals by feeding and riding the horses. One 11 year-old said, “I’ve never been so proud of myself than when I got on that horse, it’s something I never thought I would ever be able to do.”
The group unanimously said that this had been their favorite trip of the year, with one young person saying “I can’t believe I actually went horse riding! I thought only really rich people could go.”
And an older group member adding, “It was so nice to see the younger children developing a bond with the horses, you could tell they were in awe.”
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