Rocky View Schools students to benefit from equine therapy
Thursday, Mar 16, 2017 06:00 am
Students in Rocky View Schools (RVS) will have the opportunity to benefit from equine therapy offered through Equine Enrichment, an organization based southwest of Carstairs on Highway 580 and Range Road 21.
The organization has recently entered into a five-year partnership with RVS to offer the program to students in kindergarten through Grade 12, according to owner Angie Payne.
“We are service providers for RVS, offering equine youth programs,” she said. “This is the first year. We’ve put a couple of programs through already.”
A number of teachers and staff from RVS were able to try out a portion of the program Feb. 27.
“We’re offering as many opportunities as we can to have teachers or admin staff or principals come out and have an experience. What they did is, they came out for a couple of hours just to experience a couple of the activities that we do,” Payne said.
“(We) talked about what the kids would learn through the six-week program.”
Janelle Jones, a Grade 3 special needs teacher at Airdrie’s Ralph McCall School, said the experience was one of the most impactful she’s ever had.
“It was an absolutely amazing, powerful day,” she said. “I’ve never been through anything so powerful before and I couldn’t even put into words why it was so powerful.
“Seeing how the horses responded to how I felt – if I was confident, the horse was confident. If I wasn’t confident, the horse kind of did its own thing. It was amazing how you can get this 1,200-pound animal to respond to you without hands or words, just by your body language.”
Equine Enrichment has been in business for five years. Payne offers private coaching sessions to help clients through difficult or traumatic situations or as a way of marking a special turning point or event in their lives. Payne said this is the first time she has worked with a school division.
The program offered through RVS involves the students coming to the facility for two hours once a week for six weeks.
“We have six weeks of curriculum and activities that we do each week with the kids and there are learning opportunities,” Payne said. “We also give them – not homework like you have to write, homework – but things they can be mindful of in the week before they come back. It’s soft skills that they’re learning, such as mindfulness, healthy communications and boundaries, boundary setting, teamwork – that sort of thing.”
Individual schools will determine if they would like to participate in the program and would have to find funding to take part.
Payne said the organization also offers the same program privately, if parents would like to sign up their children.
Payne, who is a certified Equine Gestalt Coach, has a business partner, Amy Monea, who owns Heard Wellness Through Horses.
More information about Equine Enrichment can be found online at equineenrichment.com.