Nine-year-old Apii Takitumu student Celine Piakura, who helps take care of the horses, is minding Beauty. 20072313/14
Kanela, Bella and Beauty are the last surviving horses on the island.
They are well-loved and cared for by Brynn Acheson-Nooroa. And now, she has been giving children the chance to visit the horses at Turangi valley.
Apii Takitumu’s Celine Piakura, 9, was one of those who braved light rain to be meet the horses this week. She often assists with horse duties: “I love feeding them and changing their water.”
Acheson-Nooroa grew up with horses, and has brought together the three on Rarotonga: “Beauty was by herself for a long time so getting her settled in the herd was very important,” she said.
Acheson-Nooroa’s main priority was to get their basic needs met, like food, shelter and water.
She has been working with Apii Te Uki Ou special needs students and the horses as a special treat: “It’s been pretty magical.”
“It has been wonderful, some of the kids are now going on sleepovers, it’s pretty nice to hear their stories.”
She is appreciative of the landowners who have given permission to keep the horses on their sections. “The horses eat the grass down and do such a magnificent job and they produce fertiliser for the land.
“The long-term plan is to continue to work with school groups, not just to educate them. Horses are so big it can be intimidating, it’s about learning how to set boundaries and learning how to be a good communicator.
“It’s either a love or a fear for a lot of people, regarding horses.”
“Living harmoniously with them and working together as a team, so it can teach you massive life skills, it’s not just for special needs kids, it can be for corporate people that want to do team building exercises.
Acheson-Nooroa says: “It’s special for me to be able to give the horses a good end to their lives and educate people and give them the opportunity to be around them.”