News • 29 Jun 2022

Horse riding gives Hayley the gift of peace and connection

Horse riding gives Hayley the gift of peace and connection

Open Minds client, Hayley, has always been an animal lover but it wasn’t until recently that she discovered the magic of horse riding at Trevena Glen Farm located in Samsonvale, Queensland.

After an initial trial and assessment at Trevena Glen Farm Hayley was accepted to join the program, which includes horse riding, horse grooming, helping with Alpacas, rabbits, sheep, goats and much more.

Kate and Georgia, Hayley’s support workers happily assist Hayley to enjoy her fortnightly activity.

Hayley believes horse riding will be a long-term practice in her life.

‘I love the feeling of peace and calm being with the horses gives me,’ said Hayley. ‘Sometimes I get nervous about leaving my house but going to horse riding is something I now really look forward to.’

Hayley was born with NF 1 (Neurofibromatosis Type1) and suffers from anxiety which can sometimes make community access difficult for her. The disruptions to routine brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic also heightened Hayley’s feelings of isolation and loneliness over the past two years, but this new activity has greatly motivated her to get out and about again.

‘I like learning how to connect and build trust with the horses,’ said Hayley. ‘They are such gentle, sensitive creatures and it feels magical being with them.’

In addition to the emotional and psychological relief Hayley experiences through horse riding, it is also presenting her with a wide range of physical benefits.

Kate and Georgia acknowledge that horse riding is helping Hayley to work towards her goal to keep healthy and exercise, with health benefits such as improved core strength, balance and coordination.

‘This is a fantastic opportunity for Hayley to regularly enjoy fresh air and nature, which we know is so important for wellbeing,’ said Kate.

‘We are so grateful to Hayley’s mum for suggesting horse riding,’ said Georgia. ‘Hayley loves her pet cat Minky, but this has diversified her interaction with animals and given her a reason to connect socially again.’

Seeing Hayley flourish through horse riding has inspired her support team to help other Open Minds clients engage in similar activities.

While research shows that animals can have a positive effect on our overall health and wellbeing, pet ownership is not possible for all people. Activities like horse riding and equine therapy are wonderful ways for people to engage with animals who might otherwise not be able to have a pet.