Hoofbeats is an initiative of I Give A Buck Foundation of Australia Ltd. We are a children’s charity (operating as a Australia Public Company Limited by Guarantee) fully endorsed as a Public Benevolent Institution, Deductible Gift Recipient and Tax Concession Charity. I Give A Buck Foundation is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
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.
We trialed private sessions, small group sessions (maximum of 4 children) and large group sessions (maximum of 8 children). We trialed programs where the program facilitators were qualified mental health practitioners as well as qualified EAT/EAL practitioners and we trialed programs where the facilitators had an EAT/EAL qualification only.
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.
What we also found was:
- neither the children nor their care-givers wanted the program to end, or as one youth worker said, “the worst thing about this program is that it ends”. Sending a child on a 6 week program had benefits but how long could those benefits be sustained once the children were no longer in the program? Had we given them sufficient tools for them to find a pathway to a positive future? Or had we just given them an amazing and hugely beneficial experience that then came to an end all too quickly?
- we needed a more affordable model if we were going to be able to help as many children as possible (throughout our trials, all the facilitators we used had their own EAT/EAL businesses and charged us their usual rates – which are extremely high because so are their costs; horses are expensive critters to keep)
So, we started to do some more research on different models in different countries and found an amazing organisation in the USA that was doing tremendous work and used a model that we could see would work really well for us too. Their name is Reining Grace Ranch and you can learn more about them here: https://azrgr.org/who-we-are/