12 students from St George’s school in Sleaford had the opportunity to visit the Saddle Club at RAF College Cranwell as part of the Jon Egging Trust’s (JET) Inspirational Outreach Programme. The students were joined by comedian, impressionist and JET ambassador Jon Culshaw for a session themed around equestrian eventing.
Inspirational Outreach forms part of JET’s youth engagement programmes in partnership with local schools and focuses on key skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership, in particular with young people at risk of dropping out of education. JET also delivers their flagship Blue Skies programme to Priory Witham Academy and Barnes Wallis Academy.
JET is currently Charity of the Year for Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, which takes place between the 5th and 8th September this year. This particular Inspirational Outreach session looked at what happens at this three day 5* equestrian event. Students had the opportunity to spend time understanding what it takes to get horses and riders ready for such a high-profile event.
Working as teams the students were allocated a horse to groom and tack, they then looked at transportation and safety equipment on event, such as the inflatable jacket and hat that riders wear. The students looked at pre-recorded footage of the riders in the dressage discipline and using criteria from Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and communication skills, they scored each horse. They then moved outside to watch show jumping. Students took the roles of timekeeper and pole picker as well as scoring. At the end of the day the students added up the scores to announce the winner and each had a rosette to take away.
A student from St George’s School said: “I was so scared at the thought of going near the horses, but the staff from JET and RAF Cranwell reassured me that I didn’t have to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. I’ve enjoyed today a lot and it helped me to regain confidence. My favourite part was when we got to groom the horses, I didn’t want to leave!”
Laura Carey, JET Area Director Central said: “Experiences like this don’t only help build students’ confidence around horses, they will be able to apply this to other experiences and challenges in their everyday lives. It gives them the confidence to try something new. Being afraid is ok and if you are given the opportunity to face your fears in a safe and fun environment you can overcome anything.”
Jon Culshaw, BBC Radio 4 Presenter and JET Ambassador said: “The Jon Egging Trust does amazing things to inspire and support young people facing tough chapters in their lives. Days like today helps them realise how full of potential they really are.”
Mr David Linger, Teacher at St George’s School said: “For young people who don’t have access to such opportunities in their day to day lives, a visit to a stable or an RAF base allows them to understand how the education provided at school applies to the world of work.”
Liz Inman, Event Director at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials said: “Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials team is delighted to have the Jon Egging Trust as our charity of the year. Their work which supports young people to be the best they can be through inspiration, teamwork and leadership opportunities, links with what it takes to put on such a huge event and we are pleased to offer an insight into this to some of their young people who will be with us on event.”