Time withhorses inspiring confidence
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.’’
Co-founder of Equine Reflections Plaxy Wish with Cooper, one of the horses used during the exercises.