Time with­horses in­spir­ing con­fi­dence

Central Leader - - LIFESTYLE & LEISURE - DANIELLE CLENT

At its heart is the de­sire to pro­vide a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence that pro­motes lead­er­ship, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­fi­dence.

El­lie Hancock, Hay­ley Smith and Plaxy Wish have founded Equine Re­flec­tions, a busi­ness in­spired by equine as­sisted learn­ing.

Based in Muri­wai on 65 acres of land, groups could in­ter­act with horses to de­velop skills they may not have.

‘‘When you’re work­ing with a horse, you re­ally have to tell it what to do. You have to give it clear in­struc­tions and you’ve got to be re­ally con­fi­dent in your com­mu­ni­ca­tion,’’ Hancock said.

She said it pro­vides a ‘‘real life learn­ing sit­u­a­tion’’.

‘‘It’s in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful. They come away with ac­tu­ally emo­tion­ally ex­pe­ri­enc­ing be­ing con­fi­dent and be­ing a good leader.’’

The women said they were hop­ing to at­tract all types of peo­ple but help­ing at risk youth was what they would work to­ward.

Wish said for youth who had been bul­lied, work­ing with horses would help build their con­fi­dence, as­sertive­ness and help them to un­der­stand their own en­ergy and power.

‘‘Horses have no judge­ment. When you in­ter­act with a horse, they don’t say any­thing. You can have this ex­pe­ri­ence with them and all they give you is love. That’s re­ally pow­er­ful for peo­ple who have been hurt or suf­fered se­vere trauma,’’ Hancock said.

All three women have been in­volved with horses for the ma­jor­ity of their lives and the ‘‘long term dream’’ be­came a re­al­ity when Smith pur­chased the prop­erty in Jan­uary, Hancock said.

The ses­sions could be any­thing from a two hour ses­sion, to a full day or even a week­end re­treat, Wish said.

The prop­erty had six bed­rooms that could sleep up to 14 peo­ple.

Ex­er­cises in­cluded lead­ing a horse, mak­ing it stop and mov­ing it with­out touch­ing it.

‘‘A lot of it is around us­ing body lan­guage and com­mu­ni­ca­tion styles,’’ Wish said.

A trained coun­sel­lor, Hancock said her ex­pe­ri­ence would help as coun­selling was sim­i­lar to what they were try­ing to achieve.

‘‘The core of my coun­selling is to give peo­ple con­fi­dence, build self-es­teem and re­silience and make them change to what they want to be. That’s es­sen­tially what this pro­gramme is do­ing, but for groups.’’

DANIELLE CLENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Co-founder of Equine Re­flec­tions Plaxy Wish with Cooper, one of the horses used dur­ing the ex­er­cises.

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