Widening Perspectives Through Equine Supported Therapy Incorporating Te Whare Tapa Whā, Ōtaki

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Date(s) - 14/02/2019
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Horse Sense


We at Horse Sense are running a one-day experiential workshop with our horses, sharing the fundamentals of Equine Supported Therapy. Our emphasis is giving respect to the horses and what they bring to sessions, as well as bringing in our cultural respect for Māori and all indigenous people. We work outside and this element of being in nature is one of our foundation principles.

Horse Sense recognises the somatic underpinnings that make this work possible. Our goal is to encourage you to expand on your existing skills, focusing on developing your ability to observe, recognise, and articulate the verbal and non-verbal dynamics between the horses, yourself and your client.

The horses bring us into full awareness of ourselves, they help us be aware of our bodies, our heart space and make us more sensitive to our environment. Increased awareness allows us to be more of an observer, helping us understand indigenous culture which means being connected to the environment and what it is telling us. You will be able to take the learnings from this workshop and apply them to your work with clients, even without the horses being present.


Key learning objectives:


1) Enhancing awareness of self, others and the environment

2) Experiential verbal and non-verbal interventions

3) Widening therapist’s perspectives

4) Use of metaphor in therapy

5) Integrating tohu and client lead therapy

6) Authentic cultural responsiveness


Presentation methods:

  • Presentation of theory
  • Group and individual exercises with horses
  • Handouts
  • Time allocated for personal reflection and consolidation


Outline of the day:


Morning Afternoon
09.00 – 09.30 Introductions 12.30 – 1.30 Lunch Break
09.30 – 11.00 Preliminary Principles 1.30 – 3.30 Application and Reflection
11.00 – 11.15 Morning Tea 3.30 – 4.00 Afternoon Tea
11.15 – 12.30 Application and Reflection 4.00 – 5.00 Summation and Overview


Workshop Details:


Date:                               14th February 2019

Cost:                               $399 including lunch

Timeframe:                      One day, 9am – 5pm

Location:                         242 Taylors Road, Otaki 5512

Suitability:                       Professionals working in mental health (practitioners)

Requirements:                 No prior knowledge/ experience is necessary

Additional information:    Workshops are outside with the horses. With our New Zealand summer, be prepared for 4 seasons in one day, so please bring a jacket, hat, and sunglasses, as well as outdoor covered shoes.

Organisational Details

Full Name:                       Horse Sense

Founder/ Director:          Jenny Gibbons

Email address:                horsesensetrust@gmail.com

Work phone:                   027 536 6911

Website:                          www.horsesense.org.nz  (currently being updated)

About Horse Sense:

Specialising in Equine Therapy for the past nine years, we have funding through ACC Sensitive Claims, Epuni Care and Protection residence, Oranga Tamariki, and High and Complex needs. These organisations have reported that they have seen dramatic positive changes in the clients referred to Horse Sense, especially in acute cases.

In each session with a client there is an equine specialist and a mental health professional. The equine specialists have undergone training in Gestalt Equine therapy and training with the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). The mental health professional on our team has a PhD in Psychology, a Masters in Clinical Psychology and is registered with the NZ Psychologists Board.

We combine traditional wisdom of the mind, body, spirit connection with contemporary understanding. The emphasis is on the herd dynamic and non- verbal communication in the interactive collaborative process. We believe in creating an environment where human consciousness and connection to others can be explored which allows space for the integration of self. Entering the herd environment in this way provides the opportunity for enhanced awareness and widening perspectives.


We offer sessions for:

Individuals – Families – Couples – Corporate Teams – Groups

Effective and long-lasting personal growth occurs through active participation with the horses, with 90% interaction and 10% talking. The paddock with the horses often represents a micro version of the person’s world and aspects of their life. The herd behaviour provides us with metaphors and lessons about ourselves. In this safe space, people can experiment with new approaches and transfer these insights into their lives.


We assist with:

·         PTSD ·         Behaviour problems
·         Grief ·         Abuse and neglect
·         Burn out ·         Eating disorders
·         Suicide ·         Depression and anxiety
·         Self-harm ·         Parenting
·         ADHD ·         Self-worth
·         Anger management ·         Workplace issues
·         Relationship difficulties ·         Personal development


Further training opportunity:

For those that want a more in-depth understanding of Equine Supported Therapy you can register for further training workshops:

  • 22nd – 25th March 2019
    Four-day introduction to Equine Supported Development and Therapy incorporating Te Whare Tapa Whā
  • October 2019
    Four-day training on Equine Supported Development and Therapy incorporating Te Whare Tapa Whā. This workshop is suitable as an introduction for first-time participants, as well as an opportunity for those who attended previous training to deepen their understanding and apply their newly acquired skills in practice.