Transforming lives one hoof-beat at a time
Rebekah was born with spina bifida and has spent much of her life in a wheelchair. In 1999, at the age of six, her parents took her to the HorsePower Hills with a view to improving the movement in her joints and strengthening her muscles. Little did they know that this would be the start of a journey of discovery and achievement that would transform Rebekah’s health and life, not only as a child, but also as an adult.
From Max, the first pony Rebekah rode as a six-year-old, through to Brian, who she has ridden since 2012, Rebekah’s journey with HorsePower Australia and her equestrian friends (two-legged and four legged) has been a remarkable one. It has transformed her mobility, independence, self-confidence and emotional wellbeing – when Rebekah was diagnosed with a mental health issue, her relationship with Brian took on a whole new dimension and importance.
It’s also a journey that has seen Rebekah compete in a host of dressage competitions and, since 2016, train with a number of dressage coaches from around the world – Paralympian Sharon Jarvis, Jon Pitts and Katrin Kuenstler to name a few.
Jasmine’s mother describes the outcome of 3 years of Hippotherapy:
“Jasmine was born with a rare genetic disorder. When a baby she was extremely floppy– unable to sit up, roll over or grab toys. Because Jazzy’s condition is so rare we have no idea what this meant for her future which was a huge challenge for our whole family.
Jasmine started riding in the hippotherapy program at HorsePower Hills when she was around 2 years old. This was the first time that we had felt accepted and understood as a family and it made a huge difference to be treated normally instead of with the concern that others approached us with.
She cried through the first 2 terms of riding. It was physically very hard for her as at the time she could barely hold her head up and needed to wear a neck brace for riding. One day she rode Jacko, a pony that she instantly bonded with, and began to love riding and all the attention that she received from the wonderful volunteers supporting her on her pony. It also became very apparent how incredibly sociable Jazzy is and how desperate she is to communicate with those around her.
Jazzy’s sign language flourished, something we did not expect to happen from riding a horse. She has now graduated from Hippotherapy to group riding.”
Mya was awarded the Hearts and Horses scholarship and she has been very happy with the scholarship. It has allowed her to enjoy riding Nick.
Mya’s confidence has grown and given her a sense of belonging which has had such a positive impact on Mya’s life. Each week she looks forward to seeing her rainbow- coloured Nick and has developed a real bond with him. Mya's mother explained that the warmth and acceptance expressed by everyone at HPH really made her and Mya feel part of HP Hills.
Aldi, 15, has been riding for 10 years with HorsePower Hills. Aldi has received several awards for his riding including an award for the Most Improved Rider in 2017 and an award for his first state-wide dressage event hosted by HorsePower Australia in 2020.
His mother, Bingah, said that Aldi has a unique bonding with his horse and always thanks his horse with kisses after every ride.