Hoofbeats Sanctuary volunteers Martine Firth with Trixie and Sue Williams with Mack with support and local MP Ted O'Brien.
Hoofbeats Sanctuary volunteers Martine Firth with Trixie and Sue Williams with Mack with support and local MP Ted O'Brien.

Saddling up for some healing on the hoof

A Doonan haven for traumatised horses where handlers also heal themselves mentally and physically could be the tonic for communities ravaged by COVID-19’s attack on normality.

Founder Barb Blashki said Hoofbeats Sanctuary Sunshine Coast was a safe space for those who have been abused, neglected or traumatised to work with recovering animals.

“The healing power of animals for the most vulnerable members of our community cannot be underestimated, especially when those animals are recovering from trauma themselves,” she said.

'Hay', time to lend us a hand at Hoofbeats.
'Hay', time to lend us a hand at Hoofbeats.

“Unloved, neglected, uncertain, fragile, weak, frightened and withdrawn is how a rescue horse appears at the start of the rehabilitation process – which is very much how many of our clients see themselves.

“Throughout the rehabilitation process, clients see the horses grow in confidence and strength, find friends and assume their rightful place in the herd.”

Ms Blashki said being part of the organisation allows the horses to regain their health, dignity, courage and love of their handlers and helps them “learn that what has happened in the past does not have to define what happens in the future”.

“Our programs are built around 12 attributes which are key to horses and humans setting themselves on a pathway to a positive future,” Ms Blashki said.

“These attributes are gratitude, optimism, resilience, empathy, mindfulness, acceptance, responsibility, kindness, awareness, bravery, liberty and empowerment.”

Kazu and his carer have him on the right road to recovery.
Kazu and his carer have him on the right road to recovery.

One of Hoofbeat’s favourites, Kazu, is “a very sweet Arabian” adopted in November 2018 as the centre’s first rescue.

Kazu’s horse biography reads: “His name means ‘the first’ in Japanese and it really suits him.

“Kazu came to us as a colt but was gelded almost straight away and is settling well into the calmer life of a gelding.

“Kazu had been just left in a paddock with very little feed for his entire life and has had little handling and so his rehabilitation journey will be a long and slow one.

“He loves to be around people and to have great snooze sessions together. He’s a lovely gentle boy and we are thrilled that we have been able to add him to the herd.

“Kazu deserves a stable and loving environment with lots of care and attention.”

Hoofbeats is having its first fundraising event of the year on Saturday, August 9.

The mega sale includes stock donated in support of the sanctuary including DECJUBA clothing, footwear and accessories for kids and adults, box sets of books, colouring books and pencil sets, Lego, homewares, toiletries and makeup.

“We will ensure everyone is adhering to social distancing and we will have hand sanitiser on every stall,” Ms Blashki said.

Volunteers will run a sausage sizzle and cake stall.

The event will be held at the sanctuary at 26 Fellowship Drive Doonan from 10am to 3pm. For more info visit hoofbeats.org.au.


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