Call Us: (902) 847-1278 Aylesford Nova Scotia

Equine Supported Wellness

What is Equine Supported Wellness?

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. 

All of our ESW programs are facilitated by both a qualified and registered Mental Health Professional and a trained Equine Specialist.

ESW does not involve a riding horses. Instead, it is working with a herd of horses (their family) through semi-structured activities. 


There has been significant research in the past 10 years proving the efficacy of animal-assisted therapies. Given that horses are naturally herd animals, they depend on one another for safety and survival. With these natural survival instincts, horses can mirror our own tendencies of survival (fight, flight, freeze) and provide us with new perspectives on our own approaches, emotional states and relational patterns. 

Simply being in the presence of these animals can help us to feel more settled, feel connected, and experience a sense of belonging that is critical for our own survival and emotional wellness. 

Our Fall 2023 Programs

About the Program:

SPIRIT is designed for all women CAF/RCMP Veterans (a VAC award is not required to participate). Individuals who identify from the 2SlGBTQ+ community are welcomed and encouraged to apply.

This program contains two components that run simultaneously.
The first component involves 8 weeks of Equine Supported Wellness Sessions (ESW). Participants will have the opportunity to spend time at Rohan Wood Stables with a small herd of gentle and compassionate horses. Participants will be guided through carefully constructed exercises with the support of a Mental Health Professional and an Equine Specialist. The intention of these sessions is to allow for opportunities of reflection in how some of our patterns may keep us feeling stuck or overwhelmed. Weekly intention and attention will be placed upon supporting ourselves to settle into the space and experience moments of presence.  These sessions occur once per week and are 2 hours in length for the full 8 weeks. Although 8 weeks of this program involves working with horses, it is important to note that absolutely no previous horse experience is required.


By reflecting on shared experiences and discovering the power of connection, SPIRIT aims to help women Veterans in exploring supports and strengthening their overall sense of wellbeing. When strong relationships are formed and a sense of community is established, our capacity to move towards healing increases. 


Through the generous funding from Veterans Affairs Canada, we are excited to offer the SPIRIT program designed to support women Veterans living in the Central & Western Regions of Nova Scotia (Halifax to Digby). This program is run in partnership with Rohan Wood Stables, Clannad Counselling & Consulting Inc., and the Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association


Registration is open

The second portion of the program involves monthly Lunch and Learn opportunities. The Lunch and Learn opportunities are carefully designed to allow all participants to gather together to focus upon different topics that support our learning as we seek to move towards greater wellness. These Lunch and Learns include fun and engaging therapeutic experiences, relaxed and informal community workshops, and opportunities to connect with one another through shared experiences.

Together these program components will provide participants with the opportunity to connect with other women Veterans in a safe environment while learning new skills, discovering strengths, inspiring one another and exploring the healing power of relationships. 

Our ESW Programs

These are some of our ESW programs that run throughout the year. 
Dates for 2024 are still being determined. Stay tuned!

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.

Mondays 7:00-8:30 pm


We require that 50% be paid at the time of registration (first 2 weeks) in order to secure spot in registration.

Anyone who is 16 years of age or older is welcome to register for this program

Stable Ground is a 6 week riding program carefully designed to teach mindfulness techniques through the instruction of introductory horseback riding skills. All sessions are facilitated by our highly trained staff involving both an Equine Specialist & Coach and a Mental Health Professional.

Participants will have opportunities to build connections with their horse, learn riding skills, while experiencing an improvement of mood, gaining an increase awareness of emotional needs, and developing positive social connections.


We require that 50% be paid at the time of registration (first 2 weeks) in order to secure spot in registration.

Anyone who is 18 years of age or older is welcome to register for this program

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.


We require that 50% be paid at the time of registration (first 2 weeks) in order to secure spot in registration.

Anyone who is 18 years of age or older is welcome to register for this program

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.

Mondays 1:00-2:30 pm


We require that 50% be paid at the time of registration (first 2 weeks) in order to secure spot in registration.

Anyone youth who is between 13-16 years of age is welcome to register for this program

Register for our ESW Programs

Click to download our registration form. Completed registration forms can be emailed to: 

What Else Do I Need To Know?

Most frequent questions and answers

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. 

Training of 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. 

Accredited Facility

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. 

The Difference Between Equine Supported Learning 
& Equine Supported Therapy

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.


Our Qualified ESW Team

Alissa Cue

Equine Specialist

Stephanie Townsend

Mental Health Professional

Kathleen Murphy

Mental Health Professional

Michelle MacIsaac

Mental Health Professional

Jessica van Nostrand

Equine Specialist

Katie Roberts

Equine Specialist (training)

Register for our ESW Programs

Click to download our registration form. Completed registration forms can be emailed to: