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Lots of horsing around at Canberra’s Taqwa School

Equestrian at Taqwa school

Image: Taqwa School children at their Equestrian Australia's Ready Set Trot program.

Imaginations were running wild with the students at Canberra’s Taqwa School who participated in Equestrian Australia’s Ready Set Trot Sporting Schools program.

The physical activity involved teaching the children about trotting, cantering and galloping and was also an exercise in developing their imaginations as the course encouraged the children to start to understand what you need to look after a horse and how they behave, without using an actual horse.

The coach of this course, Michelle Cullen ran this Sporting Schools program with 30 children between the ages of five and seven. She said their fascination with horses was an absolute delight and they looked forward to running around each week as it linked the activities and games to different equestrian pursuits.

“The skills and aptitude shown by these children listening, learning and performing the different movements and games was really impressive,”

“The children galloped up and down lines of cones balancing balls as they went, or they would pass balls to each other so the fence line didn’t break and let the horse out and they practised their different gaits to the different markers,”

“Our course also explored the world of horses. We drew a chalk picture of a horse on the playground and discussed the different parts, which fascinated the children, especially when they came to appreciate the weight of a horse on such skinny legs!”

“I also took some feed in to show the children, they loved the feel of the different textures and discussed which one the horses would like most”

“At first I wasn't quite sure what to expect, teaching 30 children, all at once, without a horse in sight, but at the end of the day the laughing, the running around outside and how they absorbed the fun facts about horses is very rewarding, just like when one of your riding students clears a show jump for the first time with a grin on their face,” Michelle said.

At the end of the seven week program, the children at Taqwa School were rewarded with a visit from Michelle’s horse “Tiger” to the school grounds.

“All the kids were given the chance to feed him a carrot, give him a pat and a brush. They had a ball!” Michelle said.

Sporting Schools is a $100 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Want to run an Equestrian program at your school? Check out all the details on the Equestrian Australia page.

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