Washing down and mucking out stables, cleaning up the paddocks and learning all about donkey and horse nutrition – it was certainly a school day with a difference for Year 8 pupils from King Edward’s Witley when they recently visited the Lockwood Centre for Horses & Donkeys in Witley.
The Lockwood Centre (www.rspca.org.uk/local/lockwood-centre-for-horses-and-donkeys) which is run and managed by the RSPCA, rehabilitates and rehomes horses, ponies and donkeys. The trip to the equine centre was part of King Edward’s Pursuit of Excellence initiative, which requires younger students to gain specific knowledge and experience outside of the School. Although not a fund-raising exercise, the project witnessed the King Edward’s pupils actively rolling up their sleeves to provide practical help at the charity working across a wide range of activities and of course, getting to know the centre’s four-legged residents: 10 donkeys and 30 horses.
Commenting on the trip, Steve Gardner, Head of Lower School and Houseparent of Queen Mary House (QMH) – the house for Year 7 & 8 boarding and day pupils - “I’m really proud at the way in which our girls and boys have embraced this challenge. The decision to work with the Lockwood Centre was made entirely by the children and it was wonderful to see them putting so much effort into their practical responsibilities on the day. As a School, we’re keen to nurture this special relationship with such an inspirational local charity and our Year 7 pupils will also be visiting the centre in the near future to lend their support.”
Year 8 pupil Christian Brunton said, “Going to the Lockwood Horse and Donkey sanctuary was an educational experience. It helped me to understand how much work volunteers and the RSPCA do. It taught me how to do certain jobs and look after donkeys. I did many things that I had never done before (like scooping up donkey poo and disinfecting barns). It gave me an insight on how donkeys are mistreated and how they are brought back to health. I enjoyed collecting long grass, sticky grass and cow parsley and creating treats for the donkeys from them. The visit taught me that there are two cases for horses and donkey mistreatment, neglect and abuse"