Horses head to school
THERE was much excitement out Clifton way last week, when the two new resident horses arrived ready for the start of the practical aspect of the equine program which has been introduced at Clifton State High School.
Australian stock horse mare, Ayda, and stock horse /quarter horse cross mare, Margot, were the centre of attention last Wednesday for the Year 8 agricultural science class.
Equine teacher Janet Wilkinson will teach the practical side of the course and Alice James will teach the theory.
Both teachers began the course at the start of the school year with theory lessons, outlining the different parts of the horse to students in Year 8 agricultural science.
But now the course becomes hands-on, with the horses arriving last week, on loan from one of the families at the school.
Students will learn how to catch a horse in the paddock or yards, how to lead it safely, grooming, general care, rugging and basic horse management.
Year 8 student William Auld said he liked being able to be with the horses.
"I've never been next to a horse in my life," William said.
"I just want to learn more about them."
Mrs Wilkinson said the students were excited about the arrival of the horses at the school and the course in general.
"They are just so keen, and they have this look in their eyes - excitement and awe," she said.
"It's very inspiring to see how it's affecting the students."
Mrs Wilkinson said the equine program would form part of agricultural science classes only for Year 8s this term.
"We will be teaching animal husbandry and safe handling of animals, based on the horses," she said.
"Students will learn how to catch a horse in the paddock or yards, how to lead it safely, grooming, general care, rugging and basic horse management.
"They will be taught everything from a safety perspective and how to do it correctly."
Mrs Wilkinson said she was looking forward to teaching the students about horses, as she is an accomplished horsewoman herself.
"The children at Clifton High have been given the opportunity to have something they wouldn't ordinarily have access to," she said.
"Every student will have the chance to have hands-on experience with the horses.
"Both of the horses are excellent, and during Wednesday's class Ayda was caught about 20 times. She is a superstar."
The two resident horses at Clifton State High School are also at the heart of one of the Wednesday afternoon sport electives.
"We limited the number of students to 10 for sport, and they will basically learn horse management also," Mrs Wilkinson said.
"It's overwhelming really, as how big do we let it become?"
Clifton High has several staff members with impressive equine credentials, from qualified pony club instructors and thoroughbred trainers, to endurance riders and polocrosse players.
"There is no shortage of offers of help and advice from staff members as almost half of the staff has extensive experience with horses," Mrs Wilkinson said.
But for now the students of Clifton High are beaming with enthusiasm for their resident steads.