Hope Rising Farm’s purpose is to encourage vulnerable youth and women to develop life skills, confidence, leadership, trust, empathy, problem solving and emotional skills, by partnering with our friendly horses and mentors.
Participants learn to trust, build confidence in themselves and others in a relaxed environment through learning horsemanship and farm skills and building trusting relationships with animals and mentors.
Working with the horses and on the farm, participants can practice personal and interpersonal skills in a safe and fun learning environment and realise that in changing themselves, they have the power to influence their whanau, community and the wider world around them.
Our vision is to empower vulnerable students, youth and women, in our local Waikato communities of Huntly, Ngaruawahia and Hamilton, to live lives filled with hope and to equip them with the life skills to make a difference in their own lives, their whanau, and their communities.
The Waikato region has very high NEET scores (13.2% in Q1-2022). NEET children are 15- to 24-year-olds that are Not in Employment Education or Training. This demographic often has very challenging backgrounds and can lack many personal and interpersonal skills that many allow them to succeed in employment and education. Our programmes aim to positively influence this demographic of vulnerable youth and build their personal, practical and wellbeing skills.
We focus on working with local schools that have struggling students and service providers.
Horses are prey animals which means they are always looking for a safe leader that they can trust, and as soon as we show them healthy leadership, clear communication, and care, we can build a strong relationship of trust and connection.
Horses are naturally highly responsive, emotionally reflective, and have many similar personal, behavioral and relational dynamics to humans. This means their behaviours and responses can also teach us a lot about ourselves.
As participants learn to manage a horse, they are learning skills to manage their own behaviour, thoughts and emotions.
Horses' sensitivity and need for safety means they can be very non-threatening, and sensory interactions with horses can lower heart rate and breathing and build co-regulation skills with a calming effect.
It has been shown that the time taken for a student to build trust and open up to a mentor/counsellor is drastically reduced when horses are introduced into a programme. The effect is that significant outcomes are realised even within a single term (10 weeks).