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. 

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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 Spring 2021 Programs

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.

Session 1:  May 3, May 10, May 17, May 31

Session 2: June 7, June 14, June 21, June 28

Monday Evenings

7:15pm – 8:30pm

$45/week (taxes included)

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

To be determined. Stay tuned

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.

Session 1:  —–

Session 2: June 4, June 11, June 18, June 25

Friday mornings

9:00am – 10:30am

$75/week (taxes included)

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

To be determined. Stay tuned

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.

Session 1:  April 30, May 14, May 21, May 28

Session 2: June 4, June 11, June 18, June 25

Friday Mornings

10:30am – 12:00pm

$75/week (taxes included)

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

To be determined. Stay tuned

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.

Session 1:  April 30, May 14, May 21, May 28

Session 2: —–

Friday mornings

9:00am – 10:30am

$75/week (taxes included)

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

To be determined. Stay tuned

Register for our ESW Programs

Click to download our registration form. Completed registration forms can be emailed to: info@clannad.ca 

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. 

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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.

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Current COVID-19 Restrictions

We are so thankful to still be offering our programs given COVID-19. Both our staff and facility are following the restrictions set by our provincial government. At this time, only our staff are permitted inside the barn. We ask that all visitors, riders and participants of our programs sign into our Contract Tracing binder and answer our COVID-19 screening questions upon arrival. Masks are to be worn while on site and physical distancing maintained. 

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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: info@clannad.ca