Who We Help – NGO Funded Programmes
We work with a variety of beneficiary groups specific to our programmes. Each group consists of 6 beneficiaries, and programmes vary from 6 to 12 weeks, depending on the programme. Each of these programmes is fully funded and beneficiaries attend the sessions free of charge.
Organisations we’ve worked with include:
Youth at Risk:
- Forensic Social Workers from SAPS
Valkenberg Psychiatric Programme
“The Equinox Trust is doing phenomenal work and the participants from our school loved and benefitted tremendously from this program. I am truly grateful that they were afforded the opportunity to grow in love, care and responsibility. – Daniel Raubenheimer”
To whom it may concern, At 9 years old myself I was introduced to the wonder of horse riding. During our school holidays my sister and I would spend time on the Farm with the horses – not riding, but grooming, washing them, cleaning out their water and feed bins and tending to their needs in the stable. As I got older I realised that the bond a person shares with a horse is truly magical. There is almost a type therapy about them in the way they smell, move, breath and mostly accept. The rhythmic way in which they move and breathe brings about a melodious calmness especially when a rider/handler moves in synch with such a creature. Which is why, when I was approached by Equinox last year to select a few children for their programme I eagerly accepted because I know what my time with the horses did for me growing up and I knew it could only better the way these children relate to the outside world. I chose 3 girls who live in Masiphumelele. Their home lives are not ideal as there is little support for them in the home or regarding their school work. They kept very much to themselves. Always sitting together at break chatting to each other in isiXhosa not really opening up to allow others in. when they began their sessions with Sarah and Nicola the children assumed the same roles as I saw in the class room. One taking charge, one following and one very reluctant. But with careful facilitation Sarah and Nicola worked with this dynamic and things slowly started to shift. It was in the middle of their first 8 week sessions when I asked one of my girls, “How was the horses?” to which she replied, “I think he is sick because he wasn’t listening.” Of course I said nothing as I think it is wonderful to use the horse as a metaphor for how one relates to the outside world. All I replied was, “Oh dear, I hope he is better next week.” The next week came and I asked the same question but this time the answer was different. She replied, “He wasn’t sick…I just wasn’t asking him right.” How wonderful it is for to come up with that answer on her own. The children went for their follow up session this year. It was only 2 of them as one of the girls moved schools. This year I have seen the biggest shift. The girls have widened their friendship circle and have welcomed the whole class to be with them. They can interact with clearer thought and can articulate better how they feel without feeling vulnerable. There is definitely a softening to both of them and more of a kindness. There is more of a want to do things rather than the reluctance I used to experience before. It was truly a privilege for my girls to be given tools for the rest of their lives through nature and animals. Best regards, Candice
Working with clients on their journey is a privilege for us and we are rewarded every day when we see moments of change and empowerment. We recently worked with a client who is willing to share her journey with the horses in her words. Her words take you through her journey from beginning to end and we are so proud of her bravery and courage throughout her time with us and for being willing to share with others… Click here to read the full testimonial.
"Being in this horse therapy has taught me a lot about me, also I've realised where I make mistakes in life, my weaknesses for the fact that the horse stopped. But I've learned that I don't need to give up easily and that sometimes it's good to rely on and trust people. I have learned that I am able to do things on my own. I've gained confidence in me. I have learned that I can also lead, I can now express how I feel."
Last year from March - April 2016, my colleagues and I had an opportunity to participate in the caregivers and Mental health professionals programme. I must say it was quite an interesting and challenging experience having been in the arena, surrounded with animals twice / thrice my size not having any knowledge with working with horses. I remember the very first session with the horse’s I was petrified just being around them and having them come any closer to me, the sessions thereafter were liveable in terms of I had to self -talk myself and challenge myself to overcome the fear of the unknown (what would the horses pick up that I don't necessarily know about myself). I must say two things stood out for me about myself through the activities that were done. 1. Following rigid rules that don't leave room for creativity or adaptability frustrates me and can bring out the rebel in me or the despondent side of me. 2. Working in a client professional setting with a male figure or a father figure who portrays an overpowering, dominant and arrogant role within his family can also bring out either the feminist in me or the “I don't want to work with you because it'll be too frustrating”. The reason I highlighted these two points was because I had always seen myself as a calm, I've got this under control person. So, it was quite interesting to see that, certain things bring out certain sides to me. With that said, I think, having this type of programme that is catered to the caregivers and Mental health professionals is a great initiative because one gets to tap into areas that they weren't aware of as well as they become aware of what to work on as a mental health professional or a caregiver. Sarah & Fiona does do a great job.
What a lovely report and what deep and spot on insight into each child after just 6 sessions! I am so happy that what you spoke of when Sue and I met you quite a long time ago now, has become a reality, and is making such a big difference in our children and so many other lives. Keep up your great work and thank you for affording our kids this very special opportunity! Robyn Cohen Director HOKISA, Masiphumelele
“I felt more strong because it made me more trustworthy and caring. It changed my feelings because it taught me not to run away from fear but to face it. It has become my healer to my soul and makes me more fearless. It changes a lot of my body and senses and it gives you a sense of humour. Equinox is real trust.”
Hi guys, I just want to say thank you for showing me things that I didn't experience in life. And also with the horse training I didn't know that horses are like humans in their own way that they also feel pain, feelings. They also communicate in their own way. I've realised that animals are also living things, that they cannot talk but they also have feelings. Now I can also talk about animals how they live and how they feel when they are sad, they are just like us. Hope you enjoyed being with us and we also enjoyed being with you guys. Hope you do the same with the next group.
I was privileged to attend an event with The Equinox Trust in October to raise funds to develop much needed empowerment programs for underprivileged communities. The location was fantastic and the session was both professionally run and highly informative. We were split into small groups and given the opportunity to experience tai chi, bowen, reiki and equine therapy. The highlight for me was seeing equine therapy in action and it was fascinating to witness the powerful healing that horses can assist with from both a social and emotional development point of view. A big thank you to the Equinox Team for their hard work and dedication and for helping to make a real difference to people’s lives.
It was an eye-opening experience to watch our children’s confidence grow during the 6 weeks interaction therapy with your horses. Our little girl who on the first day would not even get close to the animals and needed 5 sessions to let go of your hand, helped cleaning their hoofs at the end. Our boy lost his shyness and is less introvert after working with them. He also found a friend. After the last session he went and said to his favourite horse: “Good bye my friend, I love you!” I admire your patience and your certitude of the magic of the horses' reaction to the hidden pain and suppressed feelings of human beings. The effect these gentle creatures had on our children is amazing. Please, accept our deepest gratitude for this wonderful experience which our children were able to have. - Monika du Sautoy