By Natasha Fujimoto
HORSES lend us the wings we lack and sometimes it is the special bond that is shared between a horse and a human that can liberate both from the shackles of trauma.
Situated on a sprawling 25-acre property just outside of Shepparton, Horses for Hope is an organisation that harnesses the empathetic power of horses to cultivate a therapeutic relationship of healing and wellbeing with their human counterparts.
In a perfect marriage of need, Horses for Hope has joined forces with the Barmah Brumby Preservation Group (BBPG) and will incorporate one sanctuary brumby at a time into its ground-breaking Equine Assisted Narrative Therapy (EANT) program.
Having reared, raised and rehomed many brumbies in her time, BBPG president, Julie Pridmore knows only too well the restorative nature of the wild horses and why they will be the perfect fit for Horses for Hope.
“Brumbies are the most intelligent horses that I’ve probably ever worked with. As herd animals it is essential that they have a leader and when they are away from the herd mentality they can bond with a person quickly, which is perfect for Horses for Hope.
“As a nonverbal animal, a horse can only react to a person’s emotional state and can detect their feelings of anxiety, anger or even loneliness. To form a connection with a horse, you really have to come to terms with yourself; there is a saying- horses never lie- so when a person is face to face with a horse, they can’t hide their troubles, feelings or emotions.” Julie said.
With all the sanctuary’s fifty brumbies having survived traumas of their own, whether it be from drought, starvation and/ or the exterminator’s gun, Julie said the positives for the horses will be just as powerful as they are for their human partners.
“The person who works with the horse will become its leader away from the herd and with that leader the horse will develop a relationship of trust as well as sense of acceptance which alleviates anxiety very quickly.”