Brandles boys saddle up for new initiative
PUBLISHED: 17:29 25 July 2018
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Students from Brandles School in Baldock have been helping care for horses as part of a new initiative aimed at improving mental and physical wellbeing.
The Pupil Equine Training Scheme – PETS – is a Herts Fire and Rescue initiative that is being run in partnership with North Hertfordshire District Council and Courtlands Riding Stables, near Stevenage.
HFRS fire prevention co-ordinator Julie Springett said: “We are always looking at new ways to engage with young people to guide, mentor and influence their future in a positive way.
“This new project is different and offers an avenue of engagement through equine education and interaction.
“Working in partnership, and with funding from the police and crime commissioner, we hope that the project will provide a new avenue of interest for the boys.”
PETS will involve pupils aged 11 to 16, and is set to run until March next year. Boys from Brandles having been taking part in hands-on stable management, learning how to look after and care for the horses.
They will also receive riding lessons and take part in an awards ceremony to celebrate their achievements upon completion of the course.
Brandles School engagement support worker Katie Bridgen said: “The students have immensely enjoyed this unique opportunity to develop and gain skills in a horse management programme.
“The course has helped them to learn how to manage and self-regulate their behaviours in a therapeutic environment.”
Brandles School specialises in teaching boys with emotional, behavioural and mental health needs.
Studies have shown that animals have a therapeutic and positive impact on children who find it difficult to connect with, or concentrate on every day tasks.
It is hoped that those chosen to participate will benefit from forming a close connection with the horses, helping their self-esteem, educational attainment and ability to integrate into the local community.
Councillor Tony Hunter, who is responsible for community engagement at the district council, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the delivery of such a worthwhile, innovative project, which could really help to improve the outlook for these young people.
“We wish the project and the individual pupils involved, every success in the future.”