The Lions Club of Cambridge Park and Ross “Rossco” Hutchison have teamed up to back a unique form of therapy.
Christie Hall, who runs ‘The Therapist with Hooves’, takes her horses to aged care facilities to share love and support.
After Ms Hall was injured and could no longer work as a high care dementia nurse, she decided to help the elderly in a new and innovative way.
“I have always owned horses but taking ‘Bushman’ to nursing homes I saw a completely different side to him and the people who come from a generation that grew up with horses,” Ms Hall said.
“Bushman is a 20-year-old 550kg Appaloosa Quarter horse but is so sensitive and he stimulates memories while calming the clients and absorbing their emotions.”
With an estimated 153,000 people in NSW living with dementia, there is a need for therapy horses like Bushman and 11-year-old Winston, who Ms Hall is currently trying to toilet train, but it comes at a cost.
“I am the first person in Australia to do this full-time with fully grown horses, but I haven’t made any profit in the two years I have been doing it. All the money goes back into the business for the horse’s costs, but it needs to be done so fundraising and sponsorship is so appreciated to help our ageing population,” she said.
Lions Secretary Alan Bideleux said the club found out about Ms Hall’s work when she spoke at the Henry Sports Club in Werrington County.
“Jason Cornelius invited her and Bushman to be our guest speaker at our monthly dinner meeting and everyone was blown away by how well behaved he was,” he said.
“We decided we would make her and Bushman honorary members, and we will promote her to clubs and raise some money to help her get along.”
Mr Hutchison, who has a long history and passion for horses, is also getting on board to help.
“I am totally biased towards horses, but this project is so exciting that these quarter horses seduce everybody and remain so cool the whole time,” Mr Hutchison said.
“I will definitely be fundraising with shows I am doing at the Paceway and spreading the word as people need to see the value of these horses.”
For more information or to support, visit www.facebook.com/therapywithhooves.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers community news and entertainment for the Western Weekender.