Retired thoroughbred ‘Barely Made It’ and TV presenter Gorgi Coghlan, whose off-air interests include a love of horse riding, have this morning launched ‘16 Hands – Connecting Kids With Horses’, a community-based primary school program supported by Racing Victoria (RV).
The duo visited South Melbourne Primary School, the city’s first vertical public school, to launch the new program, which aims to connect school children in inner-city and suburban areas with horses through an informative and interactive hour-long presentation.
Named after the average height of a thoroughbred horse, 16 Hands is being offered to all primary schools across Melbourne. The free incursion program is educational, encourages student participation and is aligned to the Victorian school curriculum.
Coghlan’s love of horses, instilled in her as a young girl growing up in Warrnambool, and her former career as a school teacher inspired her to become a 16 Hands ambassador, whilst ‘Bare’ will combine his work as a clerk of the course horse with educating youngsters.
“My daughter and I both own horses and pony clubs and trail rides play a very big role in both our lives, so I jumped at the chance to become an ambassador for 16 Hands,” said Coghlan, a former state level equestrian competitor in eventing and dressage.
“I love 16 Hands, and think it’s fantastic that many of the experiences I had as a young girl are now being offered to inner-city kids through the program.
“As an animal lover and passionate equestrian fan, I love the concept behind the program and want to help as many city children as possible connect with the beauty, majesty and wisdom of horses.”
To coincide with the launch and to encourage visitation, RV has developed a new website, www.16hands.com.au, where schools can find out further information and make a booking.
“The concept behind 16 Hands is to bring a country experience into the heart of Melbourne, with many inner-city and suburban schoolchildren having never come into contact with a horse before,” said RV’s Community Engagement Manager, Nicole Coughlan.
“Through the program, we are hoping to instil a love of horses into these children. Meeting a thoroughbred horse for the first time is an exciting experience and one they will always remember.
“The intention is to roll the program out right across Melbourne, so that we can connect with as many inner-city schoolchildren as possible. We would encourage teachers and parents to get more information and book their visits through our website.”