Saddle up for mental health

Saddle up for mental health

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Takare O’Neil, Member for Darling Range Alyssa Hayden, Elyse Wallace, Alison Pretzel, Joel Weir, Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale president Michelle Rich, Colm Galvin, Sasha Keay-Smith and Jarrahdale Equestrian Centre founder Salli Galvin. Photograph – Richard Polden.

A breathtaking ride on horseback last Sunday offered youth from all over Perth the chance to experience something new and bring awareness to mental health. 

Jarrahdale Equestrian Centre hosted four youth ambassadors from not-for-profit organisation Youth Focus and the organisation’s outreach manager the opportunity to saddle up and come together for a free horse riding experience through the pristine hills in the Jarrahdale region. 

Jarrahdale Equestrian Centre founder Salli Galvin, Alison Pretzel, Sasha Keay-Smith and Elyse Wallace. Photograph – Richard Polden.

Centre founder Salli Galvin said she had previously run pony camps, which donated profits to Youth Focus but this was the first time she had hosted an activity like this. 

“Suicide rates are soaring and we want to do something about it,” she said.

“Horses have an amazing ability to relax their rider and release endorphins so that they open up and chat about what’s going on in their lives. 

“To communicate with and control something as powerful and majestic as a horse is good for your soul. 

“It boosts self-esteem and builds positive self-belief and horses help the rider to break though fear barriers and believe in themselves.” 

The equestrian centre has previously painted a 14 metre high tree blue in the hope of raising awareness and shine some light on one’s mental health and wellbeing. 

If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental health issues, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kid’s Helpline on 1800 55 1800.