THEY say horses have a human instinct like no other.
So it comes as no surprise that a Ballarat suicide awareness and support group is using the animals as a part of the healing process.
Suicide is one of the biggest killers in Australia, but Survivors of Suicide is slowly creating a buzz around Ballarat about its services.
Founder Kristy Steenhuis, who lost her husband Matt to suicide in 2005, said it was crucial people affected by suicide had a place to turn to for support.
Setting up her awareness and prevention group shortly after her husband’s death, Ms Steenhuis offers a program which uses the horses on her Magpie property.
A horse lover for most of her life, Ms Steenhuis said she wanted others to experience the healing power of horses.
“Horses are beautiful, intelligent, sensitive and strong animals and they can really provoke strong feelings in humans,” she said.
“These sessions are all about people discovering hidden emotions and feelings through being with a horse.”
Dubbed “equine assisted bereavement support”, anybody who may have suffered any emotional trauma is encouraged to take part.
Another program, called brumbies, is more youth focused and encourages young people to believe in themselves, again working alongside horses.
All programs are overseen by professional counsellors.
Anyone wishing to find out more about the programs can visit www.survivorsofsuicide.com.au or call Ms Steenhuis on 0427 762 929.