Spark of Hope seeks to offer a five week program that serves as a basic introduction to horse care and handling. An optional sixth week may be offered, for those wanting to try horse riding. It is assumed that participants in the program have had little or no experience with horses. As such, we welcome anyone, especially those who have had little interaction or experience with horses.
Our goals at Spark of Hope are to help individuals and families, better work together and through problems and issues that they may face. Horses, being large animals, cause us to confront some of the fears and doubts that many of us face. By facing and overcoming these fears, we can in turn, become stronger and better able to help and support others who may also be struggling.
Spark of Hope acknowledges that there are various techniques and methods that can be used when handling horses. The techniques chosen in this program have been done so on the basis of what is safest and kindest for both horse and participant. One of the pillars of Spark of Hope is respect for one another – this respect is to be shown not just towards other people but towards the various horses used in the program.
Spark of Hope offers two program options.
Option 1 is a five week, 2 hourly program covering basic horsemanship skills. It takes the participant through the very basics of horse handling, horse care and horse training. Because it is a “hands on” program, participant numbers are kept to maximum ratio of 1 overseer to 3 participants. It may be run on a weekly or fortnightly schedule.
Option 2 is a once off, 3 hourly session that focuses on the nature of the horse. This program is designed for larger groups (up to 15) and provides only limited hands on experience.
Both programs are non-riding programs.
While the outline given below is spread over 5 weeks, it is important to remember that people and horses are individuals and as such this program may be altered so as to best serve both the participant and the horse. At the completion of the 5 week program, participants may be encouraged to continue on with Spark of Hope in the volunteer program. Spark of Hope will also seek to connect these participants with other people and organisations involved in the horse industry.
Spark of Hope is built on 5 pillars – Strength; Purpose; Advocate; Respect and Kindness – as such the goal of this program is to see these 5 pillars built into each of the 5 weeks of the program.
Option 1: Program Outline
Week 1 – Introduction to the Horse (Pillar – Purpose)
- What makes a horse, a horse? What are some of the unique characteristics of the horse? How do horses communicate? Learning to “read” a horse.
- Safety around horses, part 1. What to wear, how to behave around horses.
- What are horses used for – the purpose of the horse; our responsibilities for the horse
Week 2 – Approaching and Haltering a Horse (Pillar – Respect)
- Review of week 1
- Horse terms and confirmation
- What is respect – How do we show respect for a horse. Why is respect important?
- How to greet a horse
- How to tie a rope halter
- Horse safety, part 2 – How to lead a horse
- Caring for a horse, part 1 – How to groom a horse
Week 3 – Horsemanship Exercises – Part 1 (Pillar – Kindness)
- Review of week 2
- How to assess body condition
- Horsemanship Exercises – including assessing your horse through touch, leading and maneuvering your horse (forwards and backwards)
- Caring for a horse, part 2 – Hoof care
Week 4 – Horsemanship Exercises – Part 2 (Pillar – Strength)
- Review of week 3
- Further horsemanship exercises – yielding front and hind quarters, lunging a horse
- Caring for a horse, part 3 – assessing body condition, weight and feeding a horse, the horse and movement
Week 5 – Horsemanship Exercises – Part 3 – Round Yard (Pillar – Advocate)
- Review of week 4
- Round yard work – join up
- Caring for a horse, part 4 – first aid
Week 6 (Optional) – Riding a Horse
- Review of week 5
- Introduction to Saddle and tack
- How to saddle a horse
If you are interested in finding our more about our program and how to be involved, please contact us via the contact form found elsewhere on this site.