A horse is more than just a horse to Anita Terblanche. For her a horse is sanity, happiness, a teacher, a therapist and her best friend.
On their smallholding, just outside eMalahleni on the R555 we experienced what horse therapist, Anita gets to experience every day as she works with these magnificent animals.
Horses are without a doubt an emotional mirror for humans.
Horse riding therapy or also known as Equitherapy is the use of horses and ponies to help children and adults learn and recover optimally by adding movement and gravity, while developing sensory motor skills.
“In other words, movement and gravity develop gross motor, fine motor and perceptual motor skills. It also develops the rider’s ability to conceive, plan and execute what to do. Research conducted by many world renowned experts found that most learning disabilities are caused by sensory integration problems,” Anita said.
“Sensory integration one of the reasons why horse riding therapy really works and therefore you can believe in what you do and know that it really works.”
When someone cannot ride on the horse for health reasons, Anita and her team let them interact with the horse in other ways. This builds confidence and a feeling of being in control and building a relationship with the horse.
A horse has a very calming therapeutic effect on people around them. That is also why just touching a horse or brushing the horse or even feeding the horse can be therapy to you.
“We work through emotional conditions like depression, anxiety, anger and stress while sitting on the horse or while working with the horse from the ground. It is really amazing to see how someone can start off so stressed and scared on and around the horse and then when you start with breathing exercises while the horse is walking or while he or she is touching the horse the fear starts to go away and they become aware of how amazing the horse is and how they can be like a gentle giant.”
Anita literally started horse riding when still in her mom’s womb.
“As an unborn baby my love for horses started when my mother was horse riding while being pregnant with me. When I was a baby I even fell asleep on the horse once while they were leading me. When I was four years old I competed in my first horse riding show with a miniature pony.”
My passion for horse riding therapy and helping others, where the world thinks there is no more hope, started to grow day by day.
Anita and her husband, Johan owns nine horses.
On Caramia Speranza which means ‘My beloved’s hope’ their three children Chanel (13), Danika (8) and Giovanni (6) shares their mother’s love for horses.
“We believe God chose this special place and name for us so that we can give hope to all who lost their hope – putting a smile on their faces and in their hearts again.”