Taranaki horse lovers now have the chance to gallop through a new NZQA-approved equine course, which started this week.
Onside Education, which targets students aged over 16, is providing New Plymouth with the National Certificate in Equine, Care and Handling.
General manager Jo Means has been working with her colleagues for 18 months to get the certificate NZQA approved.
"It is a dream for my staff and I together, it's something to give back to our community," Means said.
The 34-week course includes theory and practical work such as learning about general care of horses, farrier skills, nutrition, paddock maintenance and conformation.
Oakura woman Claire Brignall, owner of Valley Equine, is taking some of the students for work placement.
"It helps to educate students in an equine industry setting with a focus on stable management, nutrition and general handling," she said.
"I think it's good they get on-job experience, especially dealing with a wide range of horses."
Means said the hardest part of setting it up was funding the programme, but sponsors helped.
One of the highlights for the students will be volunteering at Equidays in Hamilton, which is a three-day event similar to the farming Fieldays.
The course is based in Tikorangi on 5.6 hectares of land, where the students can graze their horses during the course.
*Emma James is a Witt journalism student
- Taranaki Daily News
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