A DEEP yearning to combine a passion for psychology and a love of horses resulted in a unique career path for Tamworth local Brooke Thrupp.
The 22-year-old launched her business, Equine Assisted Mental Health, just six months ago, taking a leap of faith after losing her job due to COVID-19.
Fast forward to today, and she couldn't be happier to be joining the emerging group of equine assisted therapists in Australia, a treatment which is widely recognised in America.
Describing her line of work, Ms Thrupp said she uses her horses as co-therapists, to draw more out of the client than what she can do alone.
"If you're in a normal therapy session with a counsellor or a psychologist it's a bit daunting for children especially because you're sitting in a room with someone who's quite formal, usually with a pen and paper and lots of questions," she said.
"Here, in a different setting you can put that outside, which in this case is a fun activity with a horse - kind of more like an afternoon activity rather than going to therapy."
Clients work through a ten-week phase with a horse, or horses, and the job of the horse is to draw out emotions and help her to reach goals with the client.
"I work with adults and children, a lot of kids mainly though," Ms Thrupp added.
She developed her passion for horses at a young age on the family farm at Manilla, but her interest in psychology began when she started experiencing her own struggles.
"I've grown up forever on a farm and around horses, and I actually struggled myself with mental health at quite a young age and still continue to, and mental health has always been a big part of my life and making sure that I'm healthy," she said.
Going on to study psychology at university, she got half through her degree and got on the thinking path of "how can I incorporate my psychology with horses?".
"As a young girl I was introduced to a guy called Tony Ernst who does a lot of his own Tai chi methods with horses and people," she added.
"He's done a few juvenile justice clinics here and at a young age I helped out at one of those clinics and had my first real insight into equine therapy.
"I looked into it more and I was lucky enough to find a course here in Australia that was Canadian based, I got my qualification as an equine therapist and here I am."
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