Maycie Peigan bonds with a four-legged friend at the Horse Extravaganza. Photo by Maxine Peigan

Horses help heal

By Cole Cappo

Maxine Peigan saw an advertisement for a Horse Extravaganza and thought it would be a great mother-daughter activity despite her own trepidations. 

“I’m intimidated by the large four legged animal,” said Maxine. “However, being around horses is a fear I’m working on to overcome. My daughter’s relationship is different, she has no fear, she approaches horses with love and excitement.”

The event was planned and facilitated by Kamao and Coralee Cappo at Eagle Brothers Ranch located on the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation. The First Nation is located approximately 65 kilometres northeast of Regina.

Maxine and her daughter Maycie have both been around horses for some time, but at varying degrees.

“I have attended horse events in my 10 years of experience as a prevention worker for Touchwood Child Family Services,” said Maxine. “Pasqua Prevention incorporated Kamao [Cappo’s] Horse Therapy during our Culture camps, Equine Therapy, and Repatriation camps that we host every summer for children in care.”

Her daughter on the other hand loves animals and plans to be a veterinarian one day. 

“As an Indigenous person, I understand we are at risk of a lot of social issues such as trauma, intergenerational trauma, grief and loss,” said Maxine. “I personally feel my daughter connects for healing, to learn, and how it brings her joy when she’s around horses.”

She said the best part was watching the children with the horses and just being together as a community.

“We are all related, so connecting that kinship is important, for [Maycie] to know her relatives as well,” said Maxine. “They played for hours on the bales while I visited other families that arrived. We had a lot of great conversations.”

They believe in the therapeutic power of horses and as such do what they can to make the animals accessible to those who need them.

“The horse which has been a large part of Indigenous communities in the past has been disappearing from these same communities,” said Kamao Cappo. “The skills and knowledge of working with horses lifts youth self esteem as well as providing these youth with activities that keep them busy in a worthwhile process that helps them to be grounded in areas of social, mental, physical and spiritual well being.”

The event happened in the first week of November and initially he planned to focus on the youth from North Central.

“This [is an] underserved population in regards to cultural activities,” said Kamao. “It’s very difficult to access and even more difficult to get them to come out to cultural activities on the reserves or other rural settings.”

However, the couple decided to open the event to anyone interested and advertised on Facebook.

About 50 youth and children came from the surrounding communities of Pasqua First Nation, Standing Buffalo First Nation, Muscowpetung First Nation and urban centers of Regina and Fort Qu’Appelle.  

“The best part for me was when you see families come together and have fun,” said Coralee Cappo. 

Coralee said it was a great day, but the best part was seeing the pure joy emanating from the children’s faces once they were on the back of a horse. 

“I am hoping that we will do this again in different communities to help to stir the horse spirit in those Indigenous communities,” Kamao said. 

Cappo is hopeful some of these children will begin to get involved with horses in some form or another, either as riders, handlers or as caretakers of horses. 

For Maycie the experience has proved to be a positive one and one she plans to continue.

Previously, she had been around horses at the Clearview Arena. However, after the Horse Extravaganza she’s excited about being involved with the Equine Therapy after-school program happening on her First Nation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *