What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?

In Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy the therapeutic relationship between you, your social worker and the horse is used to create a safe environment where you can reflect, learn new skills, and heal from past hurts. The social worker brings knowledge and expertise regarding human behaviour, horse behaviour and counselling/psychotherapy. The horse gently reflects back to us areas where we may not be congruent in a gentle and nonjudgmental manner, teaches us how to live in the present moment, and provides us with the opportunity to practice the skills needed to build healthy relationships with others. And you bring your own experiences, knowledge and expertise of where you’ve been and where you aspire to be one day. Together, through openness, honesty, and gentle curiosity, we learn can learn to grow, heal, and live life more authentically.

Why Horses?

Horses gain information from us through their senses, and especially their sense of smell.

Horses are experts at living in the present moment and can teach us how to be more mindful and how to let go of the things when they no longer serve us – two skills that can be helpful in reducing stress and improving life satisfaction. Horses are prey animals and because of this they have become especially attuned to recognize even the smallest changes in their environment. They can detect possible danger from long distances and this helps them to survive.

When someone establishes a connection with a horse, they become your friend and show you, through actions, that they want to spend time with you.

Horses notice movement, sounds, and smells, but they can also pick up on emotions and intent. They feel safe when people or other animals around them are calm and grounded, and they feel threatened when people are not being congruent. For example, if someone asks you how your day is and you’re having a bad day but you say that you’re great, the horse can pick up on this incongruity and it doesn’t understand why you’re being inauthentic, so it becomes weary of this behaviour. This is important because horses reflect back to us our emotions and intentions in a way that can help us work through them and begin to act more genuinely. In working with horses, we too learn to become more attuned to ourselves and our environments and this can aid us in growth and healing.

A lady leads Paco, a miniature horse, through an obstacle in this path to your goal exercise.

When participating in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy you will have the opportunity to learn how to:

  • Tune in to your needs and emotions
  • Learn to read body language
  • Genuinely connect with Others
  • Develop healthy boundaries
  • Find your personal power
  • Balance your needs with those of others
  • Assert yourself respectfully
  • Calm down and regulate your emotions
  • Process your emotions
  • Develop healthy relationships
  • Overcome obstacles in your life
  • Heal from grief and trauma
  • Become self-reflective and self-aware
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Live authentically
  • Live in the present moment

Meet Our Equine Partners


A grey arabian mare, Abigail would tell you that she is of royal descent. She insists on having only the best and very much expects everyone to treat her like a queen (don’t worry, she deserves it!). Pictured here yawning on a beautiful sunny day, Abigail is inquisitive and adventurous. She’s a former endurance horse and loves trail rides and sweet treats. She’ll be happy to teach you to recognize that you’re worth only the best too!

Abigail, a grey arabian mare, letting out a big yawn


Breezy is a friendly, kind, and curious quarter horse. She’s the first one to greet you in the field and is always happy for attention from horses and people, alike. Breezy had one baby colt named Batman. Breezy enjoys teaching us about social skills, boundaries, and being a good friend. If you’re feeling down, she’ll surely cheer you up with her happy and friendly demeanor.

Love Song

Love Song is a patient and sweet thoroughbred mare. She raced in her early years, and recently took five years off to be a broodmare and have some babies. Love Song is courageous, sensitive, and smart. She feels deeply, and is attentive to the feelings of others. She is a wise soul and teaches us to stay attentive, stay present, don’t be afraid to try new things, and prioritize taking care of you.


Zara is the eldest and the leader of our herd. She’s a grey arabian mare who performed as an endurance horse in her earlier years. As the leader, Zara is aware of everything going on in and around the farm. She’s particular about who she surrounds herself with, and a cuddle bunny if you’re able to win her over. Zara teaches us about self-awareness, self-advocacy, and how to regulate our emotions.

Beautiful Zara, a grey arabian mare, standing amongst flowers
fawn and bebe
Rhi and Dolce
moms and babes
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Scout: The Horse Who Changed It all

In 2020 Nicole met Scout, the horse that would teach her just how transformational and healing working with horses can be. Nicole remembered the moment that she met Scout; this old, playful thoroughbred with no teeth. She immediately thought to herself that he reminded her of her grandfather.

One day Nicole and Scout were in the arena doing an activity and Scout was nipping at Nicole. Nicole wanted him to stop biting at her, but she was worried that if she drew a boundary with Scout that he might get upset with her and not want to spend time with her anymore. She begrudgingly drew a line in the sand. She’d never done this with Scout before, so he was a bit taken aback for a second. She turned and walked away from him.

Scout, rolling in the arena during a session, showing his playful side.

To her surprise he walked up beside her. She walked around the arena and he chose to walk with her. When she sped up, he sped up. When she stopped, he stopped. When she turned, he turned. He chose, completely at his own free will, to both respect her boundary and continue to spend time with her.

Scout showed Nicole that he valued their relationship and the time that they spend together. From that day forward, whenever they spent time in the arena together, he was always by her side. They developed a friendship and their own little language. He was very good at telling Nicole when she was overthinking things and would nudge her with his head to encourage her to return to the present moment and enjoy their time together. It became a safe relationship where Nicole could be herself without any judgement, work through the things she needed to work through, and she knew that he loved her for who she is, unconditionally.

Scout not only taught Nicole an important lesson that day, but he gave her the opportunity to experience it. When we draw healthy boundaries with others we run the risk that they could walk away. However, when we draw healthy boundaries with others, we also show people how we want to be treated. The people who value you and want you to be well will choose to respect your boundaries and this will strengthen your relationship, because you’ll know that they value you for who you are. Relationships are about mutual respect: You take care of each other, you look out for each other, and you choose willingly to be in each other’s lives.  

Only when we are true to ourselves and open our hearts to others, may we experience genuine friendship, connection and love.

A selfie of Scout and Nicole.

Horses have a beautiful way of teaching us how to connect with others in a genuine and authentic way. They’re nonjudgmental, patient, and forgiving. Everything Scout taught Nicole she rationally already knew, but experiencing this lesson first-hand allowed her to extend the lesson so that it also became part of her felt experience. She didn’t just know how someone who values and respects you should treat you, she felt what it feels like when someone values and respects her.

Nicole recognized that day how much horses can teach us as we learn to grow, heal, and find hope in our lives again, and she knew that she wanted to give others what Scout gave her – the opportunity to experience the profound healing that can occur when we work with horses.