Hello good reader. I’m a Disability Support Worker for the Coffs region and the following bunch of words is a brief insight into my experiences and take on Valery Trails and Horse Riding Centre. For those less inclined to read more, my simple out-take is: it’s heaven.
If you’ve got a minute to spare, I’ll happily explain why I reckon this and I’m keen spread the word because I think it has very genuinely helped my client and, I’m sure, many, many others.
First and foremost, the place is situated in such exquisite surroundings, that visiting in itself is a pleasure. The beautifully kept Centre is surrounded by forested mountains, which are just a stone’s skip away from the renown Promised Land and Never Never Creek.
Having driven through forests to get there, arriving at Valery and turning off the car, finds one immediately in a beautiful and serene environment where your stresses can’t help to drop. Getting out of the car (or launching, as my client does now), there’s a palpable feeling of relaxation. This is a remarkably nice part of the world. But there’s more than the view to create this feeling: every time I’ve visited, (which has thankfully been a few now), everyone there seems to be calm and enjoying themselves. The more I get to know the horses, the more I believe they’re enjoying a good life there themselves. Beautiful view. Happy people. Happy horses. It’s a pretty compelling proposition – and a great place to take my clients.
And then, from a professional sense, I’ve had the opportunity to engage my client directly in the ‘Horse Friends’ program which has been developed specifically to help build self-esteem, empathy, resilience and strength. My client was matched-up with a horse, which they have been taught to communicate with through a focus on emotion, feeling and body language. I have witnessed, first-hand, my client progress in areas such as increased self-respect and respect for others, improved emotional control, self-discipline and an enhanced ability to handle difficult situations. It’s wonderful to observe and is an almost magical experience, which I hope more people will consider for their own clients, family and friends. It has, without doubt, been a transformational experience for my client.
Given the high demand for disability support services in the region, the Centre has, for several years, provided extraordinary and highly-beneficial programs specifically-developed to cater to those of us with learning needs, and/or a wide range of disabilities. This includes the professionally-designed ‘Riding for the Disabled’ program which takes place every Tuesday (during school terms). Do note, Valery Trails are very keen to bring in more volunteers to assist with this program, so if you like helping people, stunning natural beauty, a relaxed environment and horses, then I urge you to get in touch with Mary and her team and get involved!
During school terms, they run a ‘Kids Club’ every Saturday – 2hrs each in the morning and afternoon. This presents a great way for children and early teens to learn about horses in a safe and fun environment. Also, they offer group lessons for teenagers and a 2 day camp during school holidays.
And of course for the abled-bodied, they offer trails rides catering to all levels of competency through the surrounding forests and along local beaches. Something for everyone!
I imagine my enthusiasm for the Centre is fairly self-evident. It really is a very special place that we have right at our doorstep and recommend it, most definitely, as a place to provide support to people with a disability (which, by my experience, has been covered by the NDIS) but also as a place to anyone to spend some time with beautifully cared for and respected horses in a natural environment which (again, by my experience) is right up there with anywhere in the world.
It’s right up the road, good reader. Time for another visit?
Finally, don’t forget, they’re looking for volunteers for their ‘Riding for the Disabled’ program on Tuesdays. Contact the lovely Mary through [email protected] or on 6653 4301.