HORSES AND THEIR SIXTH SENSE – INTUITION. The ability to understand something instinctively without the need for conscious reasoning does not come naturally to humans with overthinking, analyzing, and judging the world around us. The heightened level of awareness and intuition for animals does not only come naturally but is a foundation for survival. While most animals can offer an extraordinary amount of emotional support, horses have unique traits that have made them a top choice for animal-assisted therapies.
Horses are keen observers staying vigilant and sensitive to movement and emotion. They often mirror behavior or emotions, conveying understanding and connection that allows you to feel safe. PonyClub CW originated from the dream of two sisters to work with these amazing creatures and share their gift to provide a real peace of mind with others. Inclusivity, self-love and ‘peace of mind’ are central themes within the PonyClub CW.
In society, a lot of pressure is placed on children from an early age and with time that pressure only increases. When a person does not meet the standard description of how a person should behave or act, this person will be ‘labeled’. Having both experienced being labeled as children, they understand the trauma it can inflict. Chantal Wiertz, the younger of the two sisters, still experiences being ‘pigeonholed’ every day. “I have autism and I am Miss Universe Curaçao 2020, there is no greater contrast than between these two worlds”, Wiertz elaborates. “I think it is important to show that you can achieve all your dreams, despite having a certain label.” With her participation in Miss Universe, Wiertz is trying to show the world that someone is a lot more than a ‘label’. “At the PonyClub CW, there are no labels. Everyone is welcome with us and no distinction is made. We celebrate that everyone is unique and help our members with self-love and acceptance”, Wiertz explains.
Currently, there are classes for kids, starting at age 4, and adults. During the classes, children are taught about horses and the value of nature as it is an incredible wonder that can provide inspiration for everyday life issues. Nature underlines the economy, society and even our very existence. During the classes, the focus is on happiness and prosperity, and the way nature can help everyone to obtain these. “As nature is free, it is often taken for granted or exploited. We work with the kids in a way that helps them understand the importance of nature and the benefits nature can provide for them”, Wiertz explains.
Additionally, therapy sessions are available with the goal of helping people develop skills such as emotional regulation, self-confidence, and responsibility. The technical term for the therapy sessions is ‘equine-assisted psychotherapy’ (EAP). EAP incorporates horses into the therapeutic process, where activities such as grooming, feeding and leading a horse are undertaken supervised by the sisters. EAP can be used in a variety of therapeutic settings and beneficial for people of all ages in the treatment of traumas, depression and PTSD, as well as be effective for autism, ADHD and anxiety. Offering a much different experience than traditional office talk therapy, EAP brings people outdoors and provides an opportunity to use all senses while learning and processing through emotional challenges.
Equine Therapy for Kids
Equine facilitated psychotherapy can be just as effective with children and teens as it is with adult clients. Equine therapy offers a therapeutic environment that can feel less threatening and more inviting than a traditional therapy office as it can be difficult for kids to open up and process painful emotions and experiences. “We have seen the after effect of a session where kids were able to work through their painful memories. Those moments are hard, but we see improvements in their entire behavior and the way they maintain themselves, which makes those moments so worthwhile and meaningful”, Nathasja Plaizier, the older of the two sisters, explains. “EAP allows the kids to work on issues such as assertiveness, confidence, emotional awareness, empathy, impulse control, problem-solving skills, trust in others and themselves, developing and maintaining relationships, and social skills.” It can be easier for kids to process through painful experiences and emotional challenges using the horse as a reference point. The deep connection with the horse allows the kids to maintain a sense of self-awareness, using the horse’s behavior and interactions for feedback and opportunities to check in and process what is happening in the moment.
Celebrate Your Uniqueness Movement
Life is about stepping out of your comfort zone and into the person you can be. Start celebrating you, your achievements and goals, but also your setbacks and bad days. They all add up to your uniqueness. This idea motivated the sisters to start the ‘Celebrate Your Uniqueness’ movement. The movement was originally an initiative by Wiertz as a Miss Universe project, where she promoted equality for everyone and showed the world that someone can be more than their ‘disorder’ or ‘label’. To raise more awareness, the sisters started their brand: Celebrate Your Uniqueness with PonyClub CW. Their first accessory is a bracelet with ‘Celebrate Your Uniqueness’ written on one side and ‘PonyClub CW’ on the other. The bracelets are a reminder for the ones wearing them, that they are unique and should celebrate it. The movement is based on the principle that no one should be excluded and everyone has the same value.
PonyClub CW is busy planning more activities and the sisters are actively working on expanding their merchandise to a clothing line and accessories. The expectation is to expand further in the upcoming months as the sisters are currently working on building their own ranch, where they will live together with their horses and other animals. Some activities to be expected are vacation packages, birthday parties, pony-camp, more forms of therapy sessions and different types of classes.
More information about PonyClub CW can be obtained via social media, e-mail (email@example.com) and Whatsapp (+5999) 6984220.