Horses change men’s lives

Groom training programme brings more than just employment

Nine Port Elizabeth men have undergone a life-changing experience thanks to a group of horses and an intensive training programme.

With no previous experience in grooming horses, or taking care of any animals for that matter, the men have now all qualified as grooms –with all of them securing jobs.

Eastern Province Polocrosse chairwoman Anneli van Jaarsveld said she had come up with the idea as a way to fill a gap in the market.

She said the men’s willingness to learn had led to jobs for most of them at polocrosse clubs in the Eastern Cape, with one landing a job in Plettenberg Bay.

The men were taught everything from feeding the horses to keeping them safe, and cleaning and beautifying them.

The programme, piloted in July, is a partnership between the Polocrosse Association of South Africa, the Port Elizabeth Polocrosse Club and Phumula Groom School, in Colleen Glen, on the outskirts of the city.

Van Jaarsveld said it aimed at helping to alleviate poverty by ensuring employment in the horse industry.

“With our sport growing as it is, I felt we needed a stronger workforce and I specifically wanted to take people from an underprivileged background,” she said.

Most importantly the programme taught the young men responsibility.

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