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Equestrian centre helps learners grow in animal compassion

Learners from Inhlangano Senior Primary School and Siyajabula Trust visited the Ridge Top Equestrian Centre where they spent time with horses to learn group and leadership skills and compassion.

LEARNERS of Inja Yethu were invited to Ridge Top Equestrian Centre where a team of volunteers and Tracy Cummings, who owns the Equestrian Centre, taught the children practical life lessons and exposed them to horses’ interesting attributes.

The learners from Inhlangano Senior Primary School and Siyajabula Trust attend classes once a week with their dogs, where kindness and non-violence is taught through basic dog-handling skills in a relaxed atmosphere.

One of the volunteers, Hazel Johnson, said that Inja Yethu aims to expand the children’s leadership skills and responsibilities through working with their dog. Cummings and her team were able to support Inja Yethu’s techniques and develop them further by allowing them to work with her horses.

Also read: Upper Highway children visit Animal Anti-Cruelty League

“Many children are not adequately taught life skills or have much exposure to animals, which can provide enormous benefit to people. Tracy had three primary objectives for the lesson which she had expertly prepared. The learners were broken into smaller groups, with each group having a horse to work with under the supervision of a volunteer.”

She said the first lesson was observation which Johnson said is a valuable life skill that can help humans to keep themselves safe and provide adequately for those around them, including their animals.

“Our children were also taught about leadership. Each child was given a horse to lead on a rein. The learners found that unless they had a clear idea or focused on where they wanted the horse to go, or do, it resulted in an aimless stroll.”

The last lesson for the day was teamwork:

“Working in pairs, each learner was placed on either side of the horse, with a piece of string in their hands attached to the horses’ halter. The pair of learners was asked to lead the horse through an obstacle course.

“They soon realised that they had to communicate to one another to avoid giving unclear messages to the horse. The lesson was that it is necessary to explore what options are available to us when things become challenging.”

Johnson said Inja Yethu trainers were thrilled with the feedback from the children at their next lesson as time was set aside to ask them what they had learnt on Saturday before they began working with their own dogs and applying these lessons.

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