my ten years as a Head, and many more in the classroom, I always felt
that whilst we can spend hours on curriculum content and delivery,
record keeping and target setting, the
most important thing we do in school is help ‘people learn to be
people with special learning and emotional needs, who find it hard to
cope with the demands of school and the work place without support, are
still, as we all know, at risk of being discarded by society.
The Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy, in the New Forest,
is a unique establishment for the training of such young people. At this
centre, horses are a channel through which, by virtue of their unique
temperament and confirmation, individuals are enabled to take their
rightful place in society and in the work place.
is the work of this centre, (combined with a perverse wish for a real
personal challenge!) that has inspired me to plan an expedition on
horseback to ride the length of New Zealand from South to North.
I shall have two horses, and will be travelling off road wherever
possible, often in remote high country, and normally camping or staying
in shearing sheds and musterers’ huts.
At points along the way young people with disabilities, for whom
the four strong legs of a horse spell a freedom of movement that they
may never otherwise feel, will join me. I aim to give
these young people the opportunity to ‘grow’ through
participation in a physically challenging event that operates at local,
national and international level.
shall also be promoting the work of the Brooke Hospital for Animals,
which provides veterinary care for working equines in parts of the
Developing World and educates their owners in better animal husbandry.
By having healthier, stronger animals with longer working lives
the owner’s economic situation is vastly improved and so the cycle of
poverty in which he lives is broken.
may I bring the expedition
into your school, to talk with the children about the challenges it
presents, and about the challenges faced in the daily lives of those who
range and facilities
topic is probably best suited to Key Stage 2 or lower Key Stage 3
children, but I am very happy to include go older or younger if you wish
- ideally as a separate
group. All that I would
need is the use of an OHP and a screen.
I will need about 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the age of the
children and the size of a group.
I hope that I can raise a few questions in the children’s
minds, about our perception of ability, about the limitations we set
ourselves, and about the nature of ‘realising a dream’.
children may follow my progress throughout the year, on the expedition
. When I get back I
hope I may come in to your school, in the autumn term 2002, to show
slides and give a talk about the adventure, the country, and about the
lives of the people who joined me.
the website you will find a sheet of teaching ideas and some worksheets
that you might like to use with the children – you can of course adapt
them to your own needs.
ride runs from 20 October to approximately the end of May
am available for talks/ slide shows throughout the autumn term 2002.
To book, please contact Mrs J Pearson, 39 Alma Ave, Foulridge,
Colne, Lancs, BB8
would be wonderful if any school feels it can get involved with
sponsorship: any money
raised in sponsorship from schools will go to the charities themselves:
I am not seeking funding for my own trip!
hope to hear from you!