School pupils being trained to care for horses as part of police-run course

Sergeant Lauren Semple started the equine care programme to build bridges between the police force and young people.

Schoolchildren in Glasgow’s east end have been learning how to take care of horses as part of a police-run course.

Sergeant Lauren Semple started the programme to build bridges between the police force and young people.

The qualification brings students from St Andrews School and All Saints School together with horses at Hooves and Paws Equestrian Centre in South Lanarkshire.

The pupils are trained to groom, lead and clean horses – while also completing vocational qualifications which could prove to be a massive benefit to them in the future.

The group of 22 students were part of the 2024 cohort who undertook a SQA qualification in horse care – they will now go on to qualify levels 5 and 6 in the same.

The students are learning to take care of horses. STV News

Naomi says she would probably have left school without any qualifications without the programme – and Sajad had never even seen a horse before.

“When you ride them it gives you a sense of freedom…and you just forget everything,” Naomi, 14, told STV News.

“You feel free. Obviously we’re in the middle of nowhere, and you’re not used to it – we are used to the city, and the crowds and going shopping.

Naomi, 14. STV News

“It actually gets me to go to school and gives me something to look forward to.”

Meanwhile Sajad, also 14, says the horses have helped him understand all animals on a deeper level.

“My favourite part [of the programme] is just understanding that horses and all animals in general also have emotions like humans,” he said.

“It doesn’t take a genius to understand if a horse is angry or sad – you can just tell instantly. It’s fascinating.”

The programme focuses on four learning outcomes – horse identification and care, grooming, tacking up and stable management.

Sergeant Lauren Semple has been recognised for her work. STV News

Last month, Sergeant Semple was recognised for her work with the programme, winning the Community Award at the annual Godolphin Thoroughbred Employee Industry Awards.

She’s served in the east end of Glasgow for 18 years, and said she was encouraged to start increase community outreach – to break down barriers between the police and young people.

Sergeant Semple now wants to bring the programme into schools across the country.

She said: “I’m very aware of the power of the horse, it’s so fantastic what they can do for people.

“We want to try and get it in as many schools as we can, obviously funding’s an issue – there’s loads of cuts for everybody, but we are working hard.”

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