MEET

THE TEAM

MEET THE PEOPLE

aukje galwey - wild heart connection

AUKJE (ALKIA) VERMAAT

EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING FACILITATOR & OWNER OF WILD HEART CONNECTION

I have been around horses since I was 9 years old. By the age of 14, I rescued my first pony called Chucky, he was a gorgeous mini Shetland pony. In my teens and early 20’s I’ve had several horsey and non-horsey jobs (children and aged care mainly), and I knew I always wanted to make a job from my hobby. At the age of 22, I was already looking for programs where horses would help people “heal” and make them grow in their own process. A year later, I moved from The Netherlands to Australia, had a baby the year after and everything was put on hold. After 2 years of living in Australia and horse-less, I met up with my 'now' best friend and volunteer at Wild Heart Connection, Alicia, and we started a horse rescue. To pay for the great amount of feed and vet bills I started a small business in horse clipping. I now clip between 150-200 horses a year in the winter for amateur, international and 

Olympic riders. Even though this seasonal business did really well, life kept nagging me to do something greater and I started looking again for programs where horses could help people. My Shetland pony had helped me through a great deal of trauma and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him! In 2017, I finally took the leap and became an Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator! After lot of bad luck and life consistently throwing its challenges at us for the next year and a half, we finally made our dreams come true! Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do something - with hard work and persistence, anything is possible!

MEET THE TEACHERS

Pebbles - Wild Heart Connection Teacher

PEBBLES

EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING TEACHER

Pebbles is our 10 year-old registered miniature pony mare. She may be small but she has a big heart and personality. Pebbles has a very cheeky and fun, loving nature. She has competed in many horse shows on a local and national level, coming home with many ribbons! She loves the beach, playing and being doted on by children. She has a natural maternal instinct which she shows when children are around, keeping them safe and happily plodding along as the kids lead her around. Pebbles has never known any form of neglect, however, she suffered a loss when she lost her newborn foal 2 years ago. She has an unbelievable ability to sense grief and seeks to comfort those who need it, soft nuzzles to the face, cuddles and mutual affection, while in her presence, no matter what your situation is, for those few moments, she makes you feel safe and loved.

CINDERS

EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING TEACHER

Cinders is a 4 year old, 35-inch palomino Palouse miniature horse (spotty pony). Although she is small, she has a beautiful nature and a heart of gold. Cinders was saved from an uncertain future when she was approximately 12-months-old, from the sale yard. She had never been handled by a human and was very scared. With love and patience, Cinders blossomed into a beautiful young pony who adores children and loves attention. She has attended local agricultural shows and has won many ribbons, she enjoys the beach and tags along to pony club to meet all of the children. Cinders is a very important team member as she very kind and supportive to her students and helps people to learn in their own time.

Cinders - Wild Heart Connection Teacher

Rosie

EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING TEACHER

Rosie is our 9 year-old registered miniature pony mare and a half sister of Pebbles. We purchased both of them 4 years ago as they had such a tight bond. Rosie has been to a few horse shows but other than our programs not done much. If you're a beginner with EAL then Rosie is your girl! She takes her job very serious and is very focused especially with our youth. So far Rosie has been an excellent teacher that loves attention and tries her hardest in every challenge she gets. Out in the paddock though she's very cheeky!!

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Peyton

EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING TEACHER

Peyton is a 10 year old Welsh mare we've only had for a couple of months. She's still learning but takes everything in her strive. When she was only with us for a week we let her do an Authentic Me! weekend program, it was blowing a gale wind things flying everywhere and she calmly guided her students through the obstacles like she had done it for years!

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