Horses chang­ing hearts

Four-legged friends take first class

Chinchilla News - - NEWS - Brooke Dun­can Brooke.Dun­can@chin­chillanews.com.au

WHEN most of us think of teach­ers, our minds zip to back­packs, class­rooms and play­grounds.

But there are some new teach­ers in the Chinchilla district, teach­ers of the four-legged va­ri­ety.

Hoof­prints of Change is one of only a hand­ful of cer­ti­fied Equine As­sisted Learn­ing (EAL) fa­cil­i­ties in Aus­tralia, and is based in Burn­cluth.

Fa­cil­i­ta­tor and founder Vicki Mayne was in­spired to start Hoof­prints of Change for two rea­sons: to help the com­mu­nity and her beloved horses.

“I’d known of a young per­son in our com­mu­nity that had gone through a very dif­fi­cult time... and I re­ally thought that un­like the kids on the east coast, chil­dren out here in re­gional Aus­tralia are lim­ited by what is on of­fer to them,” Mrs Mayne said.

“... (Also) it was so dry here last year that we se­ri­ously looked at the op­tions of sell­ing some of the horses and... they’re just like fam­ily mem­bers to us and I thought ‘no I need to find a way for the horses to have a sus­tain­able part here on the farm’.”

Hav­ing been part of a sim­i­lar pro­gram in the past, Mrs Mayne said she knew the pos­i­tive ef­fects work­ing with horses had on youth, and was soon trained as an EAL fa­cil­i­ta­tor.

“I saw a real need to be able to of­fer this to our re­gional kids.”

Mrs Mayne said EAL was about life skills, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and fo­cus, with pro­grams tai­lored for school chil­dren, com­mu­nity groups, busi­nesses, women, and fam­i­lies.

“Us hu­mans are the fa­cil­i­ta­tors, our horses do all the teach­ing.”

Mrs Mayne em­pha­sised the role the horses play as teach­ers, and said they’ve even taught her a thing or two.

“You’re never too old to learn, you’re never too old to grow and find your pas­sion in life.”

“For me be­ing an EAL fa­cil­i­ta­tor, I feel that I’m so pas­sion­ate about the pro­gram and the beauty of the pro­gram and what it has to of­fer.

“You’re never too old ... to em­power your own life.”

❝ You’re never too old to learn and to em­power your own life — Vicki Mayne

PHOTO: BROOKE DUN­CAN

NEW TEACH­ERS: Chinchilla Po­lice li­ai­son of­fi­cer Robyn Jen­nings, youth worker Jesse McLen­nan, Coun­cil­lor Kaye Maguire and Robyn’s daugh­ter Tiarne Leed­ing at the Hoof­prints of Change soft launch.

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