Lead Facilitator and Owner of Empowered By Horses

The Beginning

For over forty year horses have been in the centre of Carla’s life. From the five-year-old pleading with her parents for a pony to the professional horsewoman and Life Coach she is today, horses have been her focus. 

Carla first came to understand the healing qualities of horses at age fourteen with the sudden death of her father. As an adult, horses helped her survive the often stressful career as a Vancouver Police Constable and, through volunteer work, she saw the therapeutic and healing possibilities of horses in working with street youth. Horses have been her companions, teachers, and therapists and, since 2008, partners in three different enterprises bringing equine wisdom and healing to her community.

Her first venture was Unbridled Potential, an academy dedicated to forging safe, respectful and trusting bonds between horses and people. She then cofounded Empowered By Horses with Sharolyn Wandzura, to help empower youth to make healthier lifestyle choices. Most recently, she went back to her career roots and created Standing Six, an equine support system for first responders to heal, learn and grow.

The Study

With a BA in Psychology, Carla is a certified Life Coach and is dually certified as an Equine Facilitated Wellness Professional (EFLP& EP). She has studied under many eminent teachers including Linda Kohanov, Sandra Wallin, and Suzanne Clothier, but still considers her best teachers are her co-facilitators: the herd of horses at Anam Cara. 

The Philosophy
Carla’s philosophy of Heart Centered Leadership—the cornerstone of all her programs—is kindness and enhanced empathy and compassion for all beings. It is her passion to build positive relationships and mindful interactions between clients, their horses and the community in which they live. 

The Scoop! 
Carla loves horses but has a not-so-secret admiration for Kune Kune pigs. When not teaching or taking care of the farm you will probably find her snuggled up to one of the pigs or taking them for a walk. The Kune Kunes, she says, especially like bed time stories!

Registered Clinical Counsellors

Kirsten Hargreaves

Kirsten Hargreaves – Registered Clinical Counsellor

Kirsten has worked in the human services field for 19 years including: therapeutic horseback riding, teaching Montessori kindergarten, early childhood education, working with children with extra needs, respite foster care, autism intervention, senior’s therapeutic recreation, day camps, summer camps, community development, mental health and counselling. She is a registered clinical counsellor in good standing with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.

A strong passion for animals, nature and children come together in her practice. Kirsten’s 4 year old golden retriever and co-therapist Kona often accompanies me to counselling sessions and counselling with horses is also a growing niche in the animal assisted field. Kirsten is also engaged in research in the areas of parental incarceration and the impact on children and families and the impact of offering equine assisted facilitation to Post Secondary students.

Kirsten is an Instructor at the University of the Fraser Valley, a volunteer with Mission Hospice Society with the children’s grief and loss camps and a Board member for Horse Tales Society in the Fraser Valley. She believes in treating the whole person and looks forward to meeting clients where they are at, supporting them in what brings them or their loved one to counselling. 

Equestrian Portraits - Cara Grimshaw 2014. All rights reserved.

Jonathan Boudin – Registered Clinical Counsellor: traditional counselling, equine facilitated counselling.

Works with: 
Kids, teens, and adults on challenges including trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, coping skills, peer relationships, gender identity, ADHD,  and developmental issues.

Jonathan began riding at the age of ten, on a horse aptly named Risky. Though Risky lived up to his name, he and Jonathan had an understanding and always did well together. This early relationship with a horse would ultimately shape the path of his life. As a teen, Jonathan’s first horse was pivotal in helping him through those often challenging years, and the seeds were planted for working with horses in a therapeutic way. 

The Study
Jonathan holds a Maters Degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia. He has experience and training in approaches including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Lifespan Integration, Stress Reduction & Relaxation Therapy, Psychoeducational Therapy, Insight-Oriented Therapy, and Animal Assisted Interventions.

He has spent countless hours with many horses and had guidance from professional instructors since age ten.

The Philosophy
Each person is unique. Each set of challenges is different. Therapy is not a one-size-fits-all process. Having the option of traditional counselling, equine facilitated counselling, or a combination of both in a non-clinical, inviting and natural environment, gives clients a therapeutic experience that is tailored to their needs. 

Therapy is a creative, supportive, collaborative process that helps us learn new ways of perceiving a problem, develop healthy coping skills, have healthy relationships, and learn about ourselves. We might need an empathetic ear, or we might want specific tools or approaches. Either way, therapy empowers us and helps us remember our personal strengths and what we stand for.

Horses, among other things, put us in the present moment – a place where most of us seldom live, in relationship with a gentle, non-judgemental, sentient being. This experiential process provides potential for powerful therapeutic change, personal reflection, and smiles.

The Scoop:
In addition to his love of horses, Jonathan is also passionate about music. He has performed in several musical theatre productions, including as a lead in RENT. Both horses and performing have taught him about passion, determination, relationships, care of self and other, our relationship with fear, and learning what we are capable of. He is also the author of a children’s book about horses.

To book Jonathan – jonathan@centerlinecounselling.ca or 604.788.1710

Equine Facilitated Wellness Professionals

Sharolyn Wandzura

The Beginning
Sharolyn Wandzura began her life as a tenacious 4 year old who wanted a pony. Gratefully at that time she lived on a farm in central Saskatchewan were the rolling hills went on for miles and her dreams came true! Her entire childhood revolved around animals particularly her horses and from that memory of a deep heart connection he new career started. After 20 years in design, project management and communications she started working with youth and horses again after becoming an Equine Facilitated Wellness Facilitator in 2008.

The Study
Sharolyn holds a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan, is trained as a Life Coach, holds a Nia White Belt in Somatic Movement and is dually certified as an Equine Facilitated Wellness Facilitator (EFLP & EP). Alongside Carla Webb, she co-founded Empowered By Horses back in 2008 with a dream of empowering children and youth. She has worked with children & youth her entire adult life from keyboard lessons, to Ukrainian dance lessons and for the last 10 years helped youth learn life skills lessons and develop confidence through Horse Connection Sessions. 

The Philosophy
Sharolyn’s personal scope of practice focuses on Liberty and Emotional Agility to develop a respectful relationship with equines all the while teaching personal development themes of emotional congruence, boundaries, present moment focus and effective communication. As a long time student of the horse, she blends a variety of passions including Liberty Horse Training, Equine Behaviour Studies, Equine Guided Development & Life Coaching to help youth find their voice, become compassionate leaders and have courageous conversations.

The Scoop! 
Something you may not know about Sharolyn is that she loves to dance and is currently learning the fiddle so you can sometimes find her in the pasture serenading the herd! She is looking forward to meeting and working with the entire Anam Cara Farm and Learning Center family.

Behavioral Interventionist

Leann Hiebert

Leann has been supporting individuals living with autism for over six years. She has four years experience working full time as a behavior interventionist. She currently works as an Educational Assistant for the Abbotsford School District. Leann enjoys creating new and fun activities to help students achieve their goals. She has worked extensively in modifying and adapting material to meet the individual needs of others. Bringing horses into the mix creates exciting opportunities for people to connect with themselves, as well as those around them.

Leann has a Certificate in Behavior Intervention and a Diploma in Classroom and Community Support from Douglas College. She is currently working toward her Bachelors Degree in Community Rehabilitation through the University of Calgary. Leann has volunteered with group programs at Empowered By Horses for over two years.

Leann is very passionate about animals and has a strong background in working with horses. Leann also has two dogs, Morgan and Jack, whom she spends a great deal of time with. Leann and her husband Christopher live in Abbotsford and recently welcoming their first horse “Eyebrows” to Anam Cara. 


On Sabbatical

Kylie Bartel

Registered Clincal Counsellor/Canadian Clinical Counsellor
Kylie is on a sabbatical beginning June 2019*

Kylie is a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) who has been working with children and youth for over ten years.  She has her masters degree in counselling psychology from Trinity Western University and is passionate about integrating traditional and non-traditional therapeutic approaches to help clients who are struggling to reach their goals.  Kylie has witnessed how the hands-on approach of working outdoors with horses helps to uncover strengths and abilities in youth that might be missed in traditional, office settings.  She has found that equine facilitated psychotherapy can be particularly helpful for children and teenagers who struggle with anxiety, depression, attention, emotion regulation, trauma, grief, attachment disruption, social skills, and low self-esteem.

Kylie loves being around animals and enjoys exploring the local trails with her horse.  Kylie used to compete in horse jumping and three-day eventing but she has spent the past few years learning about western riding, liberty work, and natural horsemanship.  She also enjoys other outdoor activities such as hiking, snowboarding, and kayaking.  Kylie gets excited about connecting with nature and animals in order to help youth grow, heal, and thrive.