Horse expert spurs on volunteers from special needs centre at seminar

READY TO RIDE: Horse riding coach Loretta Lunt with one of CPEC's horses Trevor. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

READY TO RIDE: Horse riding coach Loretta Lunt with one of CPEC's horses Trevor. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

VOLUNTEERS working with special needs horse riders have learned new skills on the trot at a seminar with Thornlands-based horse behaviour expert and author Joanne Verikios.

With more than 50 years of experience as a horse-woman under her belt, Ms Verikios said she wanted to share her knowledge with those who volunteered at the Special Needs Equestrian at CPEC (formerly Calisto Park Equestrian Centre), at Thornlands.

"I have been a lifelong student of horses and horse behaviour, learning first through Pony Club, then from a range of equestrians, horse whisperers and natural horsemen from many nationalities,” she said.

“I have spent thousands of dollars, broken a few bones and poured plenty of blood, sweat and tears into learning what I know. Now it's time for me to share that knowledge so that others don't have to pay the same price.”

Ms Verikios is author of Winning Horsemanship. A judge’s secrets and tips for your success.

President of the centre Janet Butler said the volunteers, who included seasoned riders and complete novices, were the lifeblood of the riding school and performed vital roles including feeding, leading, side-walking and office administration.

“We all enjoyed Joanne's simulation exercises where we took turns to be horses and handlers and loved the lessons from model horses,” she said.

“Joanne peppered her talk with anecdotes, humour and sayings designed to stick in your mind and get you thinking.”

The equestrian centre provides horse riding and horse therapy for people with disabilities.

Volunteers are needed and training is provided.

Volunteers and clients can contact Deb Myers from Tuesday to Thursday during business hours on 0402 299 905.

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