A Hartpury student and graduate are at the heart of a project that is giving more people who lives miles from the countryside the chance to ride and learn about horses.
Sam Goss, 50, who studied a Masters in Coaching Science at Hartpury, has played a leading role in establishing a new riding school at St James City Farm, Gloucester, which has recently celebrated a busy and rewarding first year, having been formally opened by Countryfile presenter Adam Henson.
The centre provides the local community, including young people from inner city schools and children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties, with opportunities to ride. The centre has six horses - three living at the centre and three who come as required.
While Sam is working as the riding school co-ordinator and senior coach at the centre, current Hartpury student, Charlotte Forkes, 24, from Stroud, is also coaching there. Masters in Research Equestrian Performance student, Charlotte, is currently undertaking her British Horse Society assistant instructor qualification.
Thanks to Sam’s hard work, the centre has not only secured their council licence but also been awarded British Horse Society approval – meaning the centre has passed an inspection recognising the high standard of safety and welfare for both clients and horses.
This approval also allows the centre to encourage and support riders to take British Horse Society qualifications, which will help them increase their knowledge and ensure they meet industry standards if they then want to go on to work with horses or study for an equine diploma or degree.
Sam said: “It has been a really exciting first year! I’m so proud of what we’re achieving at St James City Farm Riding School. We’re giving children and adults from all different faiths and backgrounds the chance to experience horses and ponies.
“They are not only riding but also working with the ponies to understand their environment and how they can change a person’s ability to look at their own life and development.
“We’ve also become one of only three facilities in the UK that the Pony Racing Authority are using to develop an initiative around inner city children taking up pony racing. The aim is for one of the children to race at Cheltenham Racecourse in April. Even the Bristol Mounted Police section have been to visit the centre, performing a demonstration for clients!”
St James City Farm has always enjoyed a close working relationship with Hartpury’s equine, animal and agriculture departments. Hartpury students are able to access the farm and the riding centre for work experience, volunteering and to use the facilities.
Sam is also currently developing the work that she carried out whilst studying for her Masters by working with international riders and developing social and psychological environments around children from a range of different backgrounds.