Delphine Périard-Larivée, Quebec, Canada

It all started about six years ago when I first came across the book called ‘The Horse Boy’. At that time I was really interested in zoo therapy and horses – how animals could help to reach people. This book was a revelation for me! I wanted to help people through horses.

By the time I managed to go to New Trails, I had horses at home and had read a lot about the Horse Boy method, but I also came to the conclusion that at 21 yrs old I could not start a center in Québec on my own. I went to Texas having in mind that my trip there would help my dreams come true. It would probably not come true before many, many years but this was a starting point. As it turns out my time in Texas offered me even more than I ever expected.

I learnt a lot about how to train horses and why to do so in that way which helped me to understand and interact with my horses at home. I discovered new ways to be with kids, not only those on the spectrum either. I can now understand some of the struggle of people on the spectrum which helps me to create an autistic friendly environment at the day camps I work at. I met many amazing people from across the world that made my stay there wonderful and each of them taught me something different about life.

But the most surprising for me is the opportunities that going to New Trails opened for me. I now have the opportunity to continue Horseboy and Movement Method across the world in different centers. I was also put in contact with people starting a pilot project in Québec where I now have the chance to help putting the project together and where I will be able to volunteer during playdates. Just as I was dreaming of a few months earlier, except on a bigger scale than I could have done by myself. It also offers me the possibility to write a thesis on the horseboy method, to further develop myself and the knowledge I gained in Texas.

I would describe my stay as a working student at New Trails as a dream, ‘miracle grow’ or whisperer, an eye opener and the perfect workout (mind and spirit) for a student after a year with her nose in books. To all those future working students out there, I would say be fearless, offer to help in anyway you can, you learn from every little thing you do in New Trails. Take the time to speak with the people living there, they are amazing and you can learn tones of stuff from them in an informal context and smile, it’s a life time adventure’


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