Horses for courses at Ambarvale High

Humans and horses haven’t been able to communicate so well since Mr Ed graced television screens in the early 1960’s.

But Macarthur local Dave Hollier believes the way people interact with horses can be applied to every day life.

The Thirlmere-based trainer/farrier has teamed up with Ambarvale High School to run a program for students with behavioral problems called Lead Role in accordance with the international Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association model.

He said the idea was to help the teenagers fine tune their communication skills with horses and to apply what they had learnt when interacting with other people.

‘‘We use the horses to draw parallels with human reactions and explore life solutions,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a hands on program where the teenagers can experiment with different aspects to lifes problems and how they go about finding a solution.

‘‘For example when you have a whole herd together how do you approach them — do you take a one-on-one approach?

‘‘We work on things like how much pressure is needed to be applied so the horses react of respond when you need them to.''

Dave Hollier with one of his horses. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Dave Hollier with one of his horses. Picture: Jonathan Ng

The program ran for six weeks, with Mr Hollier bringing horses to the school for each hour-long session.

Mr Hollier based his approach on the acronym ACTORS: awareness, communication, team work, organisation, roles in the community and relationships, and steps to achieving goals.

‘‘This is a foundation for life solutions,’’ Mr Hollier said.

‘‘It’s about setting up a communication network of leadership and confidence.’’

He said the response from the eight students currently involved in the pilot program had been ‘‘unreal’’.

‘‘The kids have been identified as having behavioral problems but they got stuck in straight away,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s encouraging to see such a mature response from them to the program.’’

Mr Hollier hopes to expand the program to cater for teachers, corporate development days and parents.