Let your horse carry your burdens – he is strong enough. The old saying has a grain of truth. Horses mirror people’s emotions. They can sense sorrow and joy, they do not accept angry people but they also do not bear grudges. This incredible characteristic has also been put to use with children who have difficulties with social situations, managing their emotions or self-esteem.
“The intensive course in social pedagogical equestrian activities will be arranged by the Sports and Exercise
Services for the seventh time this year. Working with Child Welfare, we select a group of six to eight children aged between eight and 12,” says Jetta Laajarinne.
Saara Huhtanen works with Laajarinne as an instructor on the social pedagogical equestrian activities, and physical education instructor Tia Tikkanen is involved in implementing the sporting elements of the course. The course is deliberately scheduled on either side of the end of the school year in May and June.
“For many special needs children, these transitional times are challenging. For this reason, the course will experiment with the practice of meeting again in August when the schools restart this year,” Laajarinne says.
The children selected for inclusion in the group have no prior riding or horse-handling experience. The course involves looking after horses together. Any willing participants can also jump on the back of a horse.
“The children will do things together. The horse and horse-care are important to some, while others enjoy the sense of community in the stables. It is incredible to see how sensitive, withdrawn children become emboldened and the most lively children calm down when they are near a large animal.”
“At the stables, many of them have the courage to talk about difficult topics.”