Hoofbeats Sanctuary Trauma Program 2019/2020
This is a truly wonderful, unique program that brings together children and animals that have suffered from neglect and/or abuse and enables them to heal each other. Participants help to rehabilitate the horses at our Hoofbeats Sanctuary. The skills they learn in order to help the rescues are an invaluable lesson in resilience – ponies appear to be small, fragile, weak and frightened at the start of the rehabilitation process (which is very much how the children see themselves) and the children are able to see the ponies grow in confidence and strength and assume their rightful place in the herd (community). Ponies are highly resilient – their stoicism in the face of trauma and their willingness to accept help – and the wonderful outcomes for them, make them incredibly powerful teachers. Their predicament and that of the children are so similar – the major difference is how the ponies and children view their situation and how they respond to it. The children discover that what happens to you in the past does not have to dictate your future. The children are paired with a Mentor throughout their first 12 sessions where they learn how to be safe around the horses and how to regulate their emotions and thoughts in order to be the calm and supportive person that the horse needs them to be. Once they have finished their 12-week program they can then become members of our Junior Volunteers Program so that they can remain involved with the program and the horses for as long as they feel the need. All programs are provided free of charge since the vast majority of the children who would most benefit from the program are from financially disadvantaged families or are in out-of-home care and cannot contribute toward the cost of their program. For these children it is vital that there are fully-funded placements available and it is for this reason that we are seeking your support.