Nicole Stephenson, Mental Health professional, and Yvonne Hunter, a specialist in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, conducted an 8-week programme for disadvantaged Aboriginal young people at Willow Creek, Mullengandra NSW. The programme came under the auspices of Indigenous Community Support of Gateway Health Wodonga.Pooling their areas of expertise, Yvonne and Nicole took four young women to the horse property for a weekly session. The girls were introduced to the horses and came to know and trust them over the weeks. They grew in confidence and in self-confidence as they learned to love and handle these powerful yet gentle animals.

Each week Yvonne set up specific activities for the young people to work on with the horses to meet particular goals. These activities helped them learn skills such as empathy, choices and consequences, relationship and many more core life-skills necessary for their growth in emotional intelligence.

Yvonne and Nicole were delighted with the way these young people developed over the weeks. They reported that the outcomes for them were quite astounding.

Bernadette Wallis, after a visit to Willow Creek during one of the sessions, commented “It was great to see how the

young people related with the horses, with Yvonne and Angela McFarlane (filling in for Nicole that day) and with one another in that beautiful setting.”

It would be wonderful if Yvonne and Nicole could continue this programme that was so transformative for this group of young girls. But that needs more funds than the Foundation is able to contribute.