LOCAL horse whisperer Ruth Pattie is weeks away from gaining formal qualifications which will result in expanded services at the Helenvale Horse Sanctuary and Therapeutic Centre.
Mrs Pattie, who runs the not-for-profit sanctuary with husband Marty and their six daughters, said the sanctuary would soon be able to cover its own costs, thanks to her Equine Assisted Learning Practitioner qualifications.
“I can write plans for people to come and spend time with the horses and learn skills, we can have holiday groups, adults and children, and the horses can help pay for themselves,” she said.
“It’s very exciting, it just works, the horses are paying for the care they need, and they are offering joy and experiences to other people as well.”
Since Cape York Weekly last spoke to Mrs Pattie in July, the sanctuary has gained another four horses, building the herd to 18.
The herd are mostly elderly, with horses from all over Far North Queensland seeing out their last days under Mrs Pattie’s loving care.
“I don’t profess to know everything about horses, I’m learning every day from them and about them,” she said.
“They are here to stay, to be cared for and loved until their time is up – we don’t rehome horses ever, we give them a forever home, a sanctuary.”
Most of the horses have physical and emotional issues due to their age and sometimes previous neglect, with monthly vet bills costing more than $4000, and costs including feed, therapy, hooves, teeth, vaccinations, tack and infrastructure mounting.
“But now we have a weekly income and we can apply for grants, so we are really happy and it gives us all a purpose,” Mrs Pattie said.
“I hope that we can get to a point where I can employ other people and put others through the training and have work experience people come out as well,” she said.
“That’s what this sets us up to be able to do, offer more.”
For more information, visit The Sanctuary on Facebook.