Jo Honeychurch

Alishia Griffiths riding horse

Horse experience

As a young girl growing up in the country, horses were part of the everyday. The township itself had an active horse racing industry and always ‘off the track horses’ that didn’t have a winning future, were available to take home and often appeared at their house.  Lack of public transport also meant that horses were the best way to get yourself to and from friend’s houses via the network of farms and tracks.  Jo’s father is a horseman himself and he provided the early introduction encouragement and transport to and from pony club.  Many hours were spent in the saddle, and this was only interrupted when the kids came along and as her children grew,  Jo recognised there was a missing and meaningful part of her life that she needed to reconnect with.  Since then, Jo has been back in the saddle and not only enjoying riding, but the hours of headspace spending time around her horse gives.  More of a trail rider these days, Jo owns an Australian Stock horse which she works with to further educate herself and her horse on building a safe and relaxed partnership for many happy trails and camping trips ahead.

Professional Experience and practice

Jo is a registered Occupational Therapist and came into the discipline later in life after a commercial/retail and event career.  Occupational Therapy became an area of interest after Jo started teaching children to swim and mature age adults to row – noticing there were differences in skill levels and this led to wanting to understand how to tailor programs to suit each individuals physical and learning needs to help their skills progress. Occupational Therapy was a good fit, encompassing the breakdown of functional skills which impact the person capacity to do what they want, enjoy and need to do.

Jo initially practiced in a pediatric setting and moved into the occupational rehabilitation to assist her with managing a work life balance.  Jo more recently has been working in the community, which is challenging and provides her with an extremely diverse field of practice.  Always with an interest in horses and the benefits of nature-based therapies, Jo also has been volunteering with the new Knox RDA centre which unfortunately hasn’t’ been able to really get started due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions. Jo also has an interest and would like to increase her practice to include hippotherapy once she is able to access the most appropriate certification.

Working with the horses at Rehab4 Rehab will not only give Jo and her client’s an opportunity to engage with horses in a nature-based space but provide a fun modality to create evidence-based activities that motivates and build skills to help in everyday life – at school, home and in the community. Jo likes to describe her therapy sessions as active play / activity based, so the client is engaging in therapy without really knowing it,  all the while enjoying the benefits of being in the natural surrounds and connecting with the horses.