Equine Supported Wellness

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Equine Supported Wellness is partnering with horses through programs and experiences which support our general wellness and is facilitated by trained and qualified professionals. ESW has gone by many different names over the past 10 years including Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Equine Facilitated Wellness, Equine Assisted Learning, Equine Assisted Therapy, and Equine Wellness to name a few. 

We have proudly partnered with Clannad Counselling & Consulting Inc., and are pleased to deliver qualified and intentional programming with research informed curriculum designed to support mental wellness and improve health for all individuals.

Our programs each have specialized curriculum that ensures the emotional and physical safety of both participants and equines alike while. 

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Our ESW Programs

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This program is specifically designed for youth who are experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness. Participants will have opportunities to gain further understanding of the impact of anxiety and worry and develop or strengthen skills to support regulation. Topics covered will include navigating loneliness, managing challenging peer relationships and coping with intense emotions. Our carefully designed curriculum will walk participants through 4 weeks of intentional exercises that enhances distress tolerance, promotes problem solving, builds self-awareness and challenges perceptions around wellness.

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Anxiety, uncertainty and stress are all feelings that are far too familiar. This unique opportunity to work with grounding animals can provide valuable insight into how we manage the day to day. Participants will gain further understanding on the impact of stress on our bodies and will be given new ways to support their own sense of emotion regulation while regaining a sense of stability. Our facilitators will allow for exploration around the barriers to wellness, bring awareness to how patterns may keep us feeling stuck and offer new insights and perspectives in how to support our own sense of wellness.

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The global pandemic has only heightened our feelings of loneliness, isolation and weariness. Now more than ever we are needing connection and some semblance of “normal”. This program is specifically designed around enhancing our experiences of connection by providing education on healthy relationships, reducing feelings of loneliness and providing opportunities to explore the hidden supports that may be available. We all encounter times in our life where we feel exhausted and are just ‘going through the motions’. With a shift in perspective, participants will discover resources that will help to support their fatigue and isolation.

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This program is a learning opportunity for anyone who is interested in how equine behaviour can inform and model healthy relationships. This 4 week program will dive deeply into the natural instincts that horses demonstrate when living in herds at different ages and stages of development. Participants will receive in-depth content on how both horses and humans co-regulate each other, explore relational and attachment patterns and how they develop while considering how equine behaviour can inform our own healthy relationships and journeys of wellness. Participants will observe the different developmental stages through the introduction of 3-4 different herds throughout the program

Meet The ESW Team

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Stephanie Townsend

Mental Health Professional

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Alissa Cue

Equine Specialist

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Michelle MacIsaac

Mental Health Professional

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Jessica vanNostrand

Equine Specialist

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Kathleen Murphy

Mental Health Professional

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Katie Roberts

Equine Specialist in Training

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need previous horse experience?

    • You do not need to have any horse experience or even like horses to participate in our Equine Supported Wellness programs. Our programs are designed for everyone. You will never be asked nor forced to complete any task or activity that makes you feel unsafe or puts you at risk. If at anytime you feel uncomfortable, please inform our facilitators immediately so that we can ensure your experience is positive and supportive to your overall sense of wellness. 

  • How well trained are the horses?

    • All of our horses used within our ESW programs are in well-established herds and have had training and experience working with groups and supporting individuals in this therapeutic way with our curriculum and activities. 

  • Is your facility accredited? 

    • Our facility is accredited through the national governing body, Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association. For a facility to gain and maintain its accreditation status, this means that the infrastructure has met quality standards, the welfare of horses is maintained through best practices regarding feeding, handling, training, and have access to regular veterinary care and receive scheduled health care practices and medication. It also indicates that staff have met certification and educational requirements and equipment is maintained and in good repair.

    • Our facility is fully accessible and has a barrier free public washroom available for all guests and visitors to use while visiting the farm. 

  • What is the difference between Equine Supported Therapy and Equine Supported Learning?

    • Equine Supported Learning are programs that are strictly  experiential learning  opportunities and are educational in nature. These are not therapy groups nor is there an expectation for personal information to be shared or divulged. These educational opportunities can be beneficial to leadership or staff teams through shared experiences and opportunities to debrief team dynamics.

    • Equine Supported Therapy are mental health programs that are intentionally therapeutic and are facilitated by a Mental Health Professional. These groups are confidential and are designed with specific therapeutic goals and activities in order to promote greater wellness in participants.