Protect… Restore… Empower

Each year more and more studies around the world are showing the effectiveness of Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) programs. As a result, more and more services, families and schools are looking for equine assisted programs for the children in their care. Sadly, the cost of those programs is out of the reach of many of the children that would benefit the most. We thought we’d like to do something about that.

Throughout 2017 and 2018 we ran some trials to find out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to using horses to heal at-risk children.

What we found was that every type of program resulted in significant shifts in how the children felt about themselves and their place in the world.

We were pretty amazed at the results of the trials and knew we had to find a way to bring horses, children and young people together in a way that was most beneficial to the program participants and most financially sustainable for our charity. (If you’d like to learn more about our trials and the approach that we’ve decided to take, visit the About page.

The Plan for 2019

Big, hairy, audacious goals take time and money and, in this case, a 20+ acre property too. We plan on creating a human and horse sanctuary right here on the Sunshine Coast – a sanctuary for healing horses and people – with a particular emphasis on children and young people that have been impacted by childhood trauma or are living with mental health challenges. In time, we’d also like to add programs for veterans and first responders.

Program participants will be provided with equine-assisted learning programs at little or no cost to them – and will be empowered to remain engaged with the program, the horses and the new friends they’ve met by becoming involved in our own horse and pony rescue program. They can stay involved for as long as they want – and even be trained to become mentors for other program participants.

Once we find our permanent home, the sanctuary will be called Koorana Place. Koorana is an indigenous word meaning “bringing forth our youth”. To make that plan a reality, there will be three main stages:

Stage 1: Find A Short-Medium Term Home For The Program – Complete!

Thanks to support from the Sunshine Coast Council and Eumundi & District Pony Club, we signed a sub-lease agreement over the Easter weekend to use the Pony Club grounds in Fellowship Drive, Doonan. It’s not an ideal location due to it’s limited size but it will allow us to get some limited programs up and running by Term 3 of 2019!

We now need lots and lots of volunteer help in order to get organised in time for programs to start. We need to build fences and storage sheds, install automated water troughs to the paddocks, plan the programs, set-up all the necessary procedures and policies, set up rosters for horse care and horse training and soooo…. much more.

If you’d like to make new friends, get a bit more active and out in the fresh air and do something wonderful for some of the most vulnerable children in our community – why not join our friendly volunteer team?  Click here to find out more about current volunteer opportunities.

We’ve already started to build a therapy herd and take on some rescues – all of whom need to find sponsors to cover their costs – click here to learn more about sponsoring a horse.

Remember: we still need to spread the word far and wide that we are looking for an exceptionally generous donor/benefactor to donate a property to become Koorana Place – either one that is suitable for our needs, or one that isn’t suitable but can be sold to raise funds to buy the perfect place.

Stage 2: Second Half of 2019

  • open applications for children and young people to join the program

Stage 3: As soon as the charity has its own property

  • develop the sanctuary, implement more programs, save more horses, support more children…

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