A Brief history of Horses for Hope

2004

As part of a search for better ways, Colin Emonson and colleague Tiffany Peverall, made the first attempts to combine Monty Roberts method of natural horsemanship working with the healing and recovery of troubled horses with Narrative Therapy, to engage and assist adolescents classified as “high risk”. Most of these adolescents were under the guardianship of the state and were unwilling to engage effectively with counselors or professionals. From the first participant it was obvious that this method had great potential to engage with and assist this cohort. 

2006

Registered charity Uniting Care Cutting Edge recognized the potential of Horses for Hope and chose to establish it as a program with the aim of supporting it’s development.

Mooroopna Facility
Mooroopna Facility

2009

Following the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria which took the lives of 173 people, Horses for Hope was invited to provide a program at Kinglake supporting survivors focusing on PTSD. We continued providing that service until 2018.

 

2015

Independent evaluation conducted confirming the remarkable outcomes that we knew from participant feedback    

 

2015

The model written up in the Horses For Hope Principles and Practices document.

 

2016

Moved to our beautiful new home established for us at 840 Ardmona Rd, Mooroopna North.

2019

Horses For Hope Limited established and program transitioned to it’s own independent management.  

 

Along the way Horses For Hope has assisted approximately 1500 people of all ages and many horses, all of whom (people and horses) have had significant trouble in their lives that they had not been successful in addressing and overcoming.

We are told regularly and it was confirmed by the evaluation, that the idea of coming to assist another being that is having trouble in it’s life, horses, and then genuinely knowing and feeling that they are doing that in every session, is a critical part of enabling reluctant counselees to come to and then continue to attend sessions. Participants usually enjoy their time at Horses for Hope, working with and helping horses. This can be because there is often synergy between the horse stories and their own and and they are being cast in the role of a helper, an unusual and unfamiliar but valued role for them. Dealing with their own issues and problems them becomes much more possible.

The model has been developed and refined over the following 15 years, but the underpinning theories and practices remain the same and the outcomes continue to be as good as first attempts promised, as evidenced by an independent evaluation conducted in 2015.

It remained a Uniting Care and later Uniting (Vic Tas) Limited program through Uniting agency mergers until July 2019 when the independent Horses For Hope Limited was established and the program transitioned to it’s own independent management.