THE owners of equestrian education facility Jeu de Cheval Hobart Horseplay in Brighton Municipality are operating their business on a day-to-day basis and hoping they can continue past the COVID-19 pandemic.
The facility is not only focused on trail riding and horse education but it is also providing valuable care for at-risk youth and adults with disabilities through the NDIS program in the Brighton Municipality.
Co-owner Kaylene, with partner Tasmanian, Rick Cartledge, moved from Western Australia a little over two years ago to run their business after more than 20 years running riding schools in Western Australia, with four years as business owners of the Big River Ranch, an iconic tourist business in Kalbarri on the Coral Coast.
Their property, in Middle Tea Tree Road, Tea Tree which also has exclusive access to a further 364 hectares nearby, is just part of a lifelong horsemanship passion, particularly for Kaylene who has Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease (bronchiectasis) along with cystic fibrosis. Kaylene gets pneumonia every year but this has improved dramatically since moving to Tasmania.
The Brighton facility has 46 horses — a mix of rescued horses, former racers and purpose-bought animals, all of which have a role in promoting better relationships between horses and humans. Jeu de Cheval Hobart Horseplay offers rehabilitation for horses, and for people, particularly youth who have lost their way.
“Our skills lie in making space for them, helping them cope with their fractured lives and allowing them to bond with our horses and provide a better quality of life for them.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the facility’s business model and now Kaylene and Rick are hoping business and individuals may be able to help get the business through what will be a very trying next few months.
Kaylene has been involved in horse welfare for more than 40 years, breaking in and training horses as well as providing advice in equine nutrition.
“I stumbled across the fact that we can take broken horses and make them whole again. They’re so forgiving and I found I could train them and use them to help people who also needed special care.
During the week Kaylene and her team run disability programs for all ages, respite programs, saddle club and general horse training.
“Our fees are kept low (starting at $55 for saddle club) so that our services are accessible to more of the community.”
Kaylene said most of the facility’s clientele has been by word of mouth with ages ranging from two to 70+ years-old.
“We normally have clientele from Parkside Foundation and various NGOs, self-funded and plan-managed clients. We run saddle club for kids, with camps every term. Jeu de Cheval is usually a steady stream of people coming and enjoying time with friends and horses, working outside in the open air, building confidence and resilience and learning new skills.”
But now with COVID-19, the business can only offer private one-on-one lessons which means three to four clients a day, taking into account cleaning and disinfecting after each lesson.
“Normally I would be able to see up to 40 people a day.”
The business is looking at what government support might be available for sole traders and has welcomed offers of support from the community.
The Cartledges are hoping they can get some support from larger businesses or a corporation to ensure their business can survive through the pandemic and in turn support those who rely on Hobart Horseplay for their individual needs.
“We have 14 years of experience with at-risk and disengaged youth. Horses have helped us improve the mental health and future direction of hundreds of kids, and we know that there is still a great need for this type of assistance. Many children in Brighton would benefit from this. If I could find an organisation that would sponsor these at-risk youth, the positive effect on these lives and the community around them would be incredible.”
You can contact Kaylene on mobile 0433 806 708 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Jeu-de-Cheval-Hobart-Horseplay-1230517570386436/