Words aren’t necessary for horse and groom

KOTA BHARU,. Muhammad Asrul Sani Abdul Halim, 22, may be deaf and mute, but communicating with horses is not a problem for him.

The horse groom from Kampung Beris Kubu Besar, Bachok said he was hired by Yayasan Orang Kurang Upaya Kelantan (YOKUK) in Pengkalan Chepa two years ago and that it took him six months to get familiar with the job and understand horse body language.

He said that he was sent for workshops to learn how to look after horses so that they are healthy and happy.

“The most important part is understanding the horse’s emotions and how to calm it down. Among the signs to look out for if it’s angry, for example, are ears pinned back and kicking.

“Normally this happens in response to a loud noise and the horse feeling threatened. To help it relax, I caress its head and body,” he told Bernama with the help of sign language interpreter and YOKUK physiotherapist, Nurli Syuhada Md Arifian, 31.

He said he does a 15km commute by motorcycle to begin work by 8.30am with a daily routine of bathing, feeding and cleaning the stalls of the two horses under his care, then completing his work by 5.30pm.

Muhammad Asrul said his workmate, Izzad Hadri Muhammad Zin, 27, helps him with the care of the horses that are used for hippotherapy by YOKUK’s clients.

YOKUK hippotherapy assistant, Che Ishak Che Yahya, 56, said those living with autism, cerebral palsy, global developmental delay (GDD), et cetera can reap the benefits of this treatment method.

“If the client has head and trunk stability issues, or weak arms and legs, 30 minutes on a horse can build muscular strength,” said the practitioner with almost 17 years of experience.

Umi Kalsom Kassim, 34, attested to that, saying that her youngest child, Nur Mohd Aqil Mohd Noriham, 4, who has cerebral palsy has improved after a year of hippotherapy.

“Before this he couldn’t stand up or sit down, but I’m thankful that the equine therapy has had a positive effect and he is able to stand with support now,” she said.


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