Equine Therapy Helps Build Confidence and Teamwork in Indigenous Youth and Elders

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The Miywasin Friendship Center has partnered with the Dunmore Equestrian Center to offer an equine therapy program for its young and old.

“With healing and reconciliation, many of our Indigenous people have lost our cultures and our identities and only our ways of life, so bringing the horses back into the lives of young people and creating those relationships and that trust is a really big step for our center and our youth,” said Carlee Eagleplume, Youth Development Coordinator at Miywasin Friendship Centre.

She also saw it as a great opportunity to work on teamwork and problem-solving skills.

The first day focused on the basics of safety and bonding with the horses while the second and third days young and old were able to ride horses and participate in different activities.

The owner of the horse-assisted learning program, Prairie Instinct, is used to seeing huge improvements in people.

“A lot of times when people have experiences with horses, they just get on the horse and go,” said Kenzie Schulze, who is also a social worker. “Where my program is about making a connection with the horse, learning to read body language and really developing the relationship between people and the horse.”

As the riding and teamwork skills grow day by day, so do the smiles. Something once scary for Rava is now fun.

“It’s a new experience for me and I can really trust him and it makes me feel really good about myself,” Rava said.

Now she can’t wait to ride again.

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