Taking the reins - recent grants help equine organisations raise whanau resilience

Friday 23 October 2020

Foundation North supported several organisations over the last month in Northland including Āwhina hōiho and Kaitaia Group of Riding for the Disabled Association Incorporated.

Āwhina hōiho received funding of $15,000 to enable its work providing empowering and experiential therapy and emotional skills development for people supported by a herd of horses. Amongst other areas, the grant will help in horse preparation, herd care and facilitating therapists to support visitors to their centre south of Kaitaia.

The organisation is concerned about the increasing mental health struggles in the community and acknowledge self-harm and trauma are limiting the lives of whanau.

“We know how exploration and resolution with the herd rather than traditional talk therapies can make a difference. We are here and genuinely want to increase our help,” said Wendy Sporle (MNZM), Āwhina hōiho Equine Psychotherapy practitioner. “We are also receiving additional referrals from whanau and schools about children with low resilience and anxiety which is showing in depression and anger. We want to enhance their wellbeing for themselves, their whanau and the community.”

Āwhina hōiho’s intention is to improve personal resilience and self-acceptance through exploration of their life and relationships, with the herd and guiding practitioner and have observed increased self-esteem, motivation and participation.

“We have seen people (young and older) move from depressed, excluded, unmotivated lives to ones where there is purpose. We believe that positive relationships heal.”

Kaitaia Group of Riding for the Disabled also received funding of $6,346 to help support its mission to allow children with disabilities to participate in therapeutic riding programmes.

“We meet the need in our community to allow children with disabilities to participate in therapeutic riding programmes which makes them feel included and increases confidence making them valuable members of our society,” said Denise Lennox, Kaitaia Group of Riding for the Disabled’s Secretary.

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