Horses changing hearts
Four-legged friends take first class
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
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.