Horses have power to heal

By Tara Whitsed

Euroa Horse Park is encouraging people to learn the physical, mental and emotional health benefits of being around horses.

Through the therapy forms of hippotherapy and equine facilitated learning, Euroa Horse Park’s Vanessa Hawkins said horses were great healers.

‘‘They are used in a range of programs which assist people who are disabled, disadvantaged, have special needs or like most of us, generally need help coping with the pressures of life from time to time,’’ she said.

Ms Hawkins explained the difference between hippotherapy and EFL.

‘‘Contemporary clinical research shows that close proximity to horses changes human brainwave patterns, suggesting that humans can be transformed in a very positive way when in the presence of horses,’’ she said.

‘‘Appropriate interaction with horses can therefore prove therapeutic to adults and children alike.

‘‘Equine facilitated learning is an interaction between horses and people designed to promote experiential learning for all the participants.

‘‘Hippotherapy is another form of practice using horses which is carried out by, or under the direction of, a specially trained physiotherapist or occupational therapist.’’

Ms Hawkins said Euroa Horse Park would run a clinic this month with rider Sally Francis, who runs both approaches.

‘‘She has been Chef D’Equipe and assistant coach for five paralympics and five world championships,’’ Ms Hawkins said.

‘‘She has been coaching riders of all abilities for over 40 years in all disciplines.

‘‘We will run two sessions — 11am to 1pm as an introduction to hippotherapy and EFL and then from 2pm to 4pm with practical demonstrations.

‘‘These may be changed around if the weather looks inclement.

‘‘One two-hour session will cost $55 and a full day is $99 including GST, refreshments and a light lunch (tax invoices can be supplied).’’

Ms Hawkins also encouraged existing coaches or health care program providers with clients to take a look at the workshops in particular.

‘‘Come along to have some fun and learn more about the benefits of ‘Horses 4 Healing’ and how you can become an EFL facilitator or a client,’’ she said.

‘‘Anyone is welcome to attend but numbers will be limited, so please book your place now to avoid missing this great opportunity.’’

The workshop will be on Saturday at Euroa Horse Park. Visit for more information and to book.