Programs and Professional Training

  • Are you interested in becoming more connected to animals and nature? Have you been looking for mental health services but haven't found a good fit? Empowered By Horses & Friends may be the answer you are looking for. Whether you are looking for individual sessions or group workshops, or are looking to become a Nature Guided, Animal Assisted and Equine Facilitated Wellness practitioner, click on the link above to access our Getting to Know You form.

    Click Here To Get Started
  • Whether you are new to Nature-based, Animal Assisted or Equine Facilitated Wellness, or have an established practice, Empowered By Horses and Friends is here to help take you to the next level. Based on our philosophy of ethics, safety and animal welfare, we offer on-line and in-person training and mentoring. Our team of collaborative professionals have over two decades of experience and we continue to expand our knowledge in trauma informed care, animal behaviour and psychology, and sensorimotor therapies. Visit our training page for more information.

    Join Us In The Field

Services and Specialties

  • Empowered By Horses was founded in 2010 with the vision of forging heart-centered partnerships with horses and youth who are facing challenges. Over the years, we have expanded our therapeutic alliances and deepened our commitment to the natural world. To reflect this we now work under the umbrella of Nature-based, Animal Assisted and Equine Facilitated Wellness and have renamed ourselves Empowered By Horses and Friends. Our team of mental health counselors, wellness professionals, horses, donkeys, sheep, pigs, chickens, cats and dogs, offer gentle and effective paths to healing.

    Meet The Team
  • Nature guided experiences are gentle avenues for self-exploration and the tranquility of Anam Cara provides a safe and effective path to wellness. Take a forest walk with our mental health professionals or sit under a tree watching the horses graze. Nature-based therapeutic services are stress-free and life-affirming.

  • Empowered By Horse and Friends is an inclusive, trauma informed, safe place for clients to heal, grow, and feel a sense of belonging. Our focus is on forging healthy relationships within ourselves, with fellow humans, and with animals. Empowered By Horses and Friends believes that animals are sentient beings and that we are stronger when we recognize and celebrate our kinship with the natural world.

    Connect With Us
  • Nestled in Abbotsford’s pastoral Mount Lehman area, Anam Cara Farm and Learning Center rests on seven acres of gently rolling meadows and aged forest. This rural retreat is a place of healing and personal growth with space for workshops or team meetings. Owner’s Carla and Steve, share their home with horses, donkeys, sheep, Kune Kune pigs, chickens, dogs, and cats.

    Anam Cara Farm and Learning Center

Shady and Carla ... The inspiration behind Empowered By Horses and Friends

Where it began

Heart Centered Animal Assisted Practices Training Program

The Heart Centered Animal Assisted Practices certificate program is a comprehensive 125 hour training grounded in current research and ethical practice. With a strong focus on animal well-being this competency-based curriculum provides you with the necessary skills and experience to incorporate animals into your professional career, elevate you to the next level in your existing animal-assisted practice or introduce you to this emerging field to provide a solid foundation in which to grow your practice.

What Our Wonderful Clients Say

  • We brought 12 children who have been through our grief and loss programs to the Empowered by Horses farm for a fun-filled day spent petting, walking, grooming and riding horses, along with an art activity, mindfulness nature walk and some fun interactions with their sheep and pigs. It truly was a magical day. Carla and her team were incredible and taught us many valuable life lessons in respect to calmness, trust and friendship. It was amazing to see the connections made between the animals and our grieving children. Such a wonderful and fun experience for all of us. Thank you so much for a great day!

    Ian Kunitski, Child and Youth Bereavement Coordinator, Mission Hospice Society
  • This past July 2018, I brought a group of 25 children to Empowered By Horses to have a Children’s Grief Day Camp. It was such a magical day and a lot of that had to do with Carla and her crew of experienced, kind, and caring professionals. They helped to make the day special and comforting for the kiddos and the adults who attended with me. The facility was so incredible! There were sheep, chickens, horses, pigs, and even little piglets that we all got to watch and admire. One of the lovely skills that Carla’s crew taught us that day was how to be still and calm around the animals and let the animals come to us when they were feeling comfortable. This was such a wonderful lesson for the children to learn and it helped to make the whole day so calm, peaceful, meaningful and powerful. Thank you Carla and your team of extraordinary helpers! We had such a great time and we hope to see you again next year.

    Dallas Shirley, Abbotsford Hospice Society
  • Carla and Everyone at Empowered by Horses, you are all amazing kind hard working people!! These dedicated group of individuals all have helped everyone in my house in so many ways!! Equine therapy at Empowered by horses was one of the best decision our family made. In these difficult times of Covid-19 and businesses closing, my family cant wait for when they can go back to Empowered by Horses and see all of their favourite four legged friends and the staff! Love to Carla and all of the team!!

    Cherylea Ugolini Gray - parent
  • I take my autistic nonverbal son for therapy with Carla and Leann - they are amazing. He loves it and we have noticed an increase in confidence and attempts to speak. He has to follow instructions and has developed a strong bond with his therapy horse, May. There is no pressure and everyone is calm and happy even if things don’t go as expected.

    Melissa Crowhurst - parent

From The Blog

  • Old Blue Jeans

    Ever so often I line up a year’s worth of Steve’s old blue jeans and take a picture. I do this because it looks interesting—sort of raw and rustic, and…

  • Do you see what I see?

    As a constable with the VPD, I initially saw my role as a problem solver. From directing traffic at an accident scene to surveilling criminal activity and collecting evidence, police…

  • Sitting with sheep

    When I first partnered with horses in the field of Equine Facilitated Wellness I struggled with how to describe the work. What does it look like, is it the same…

  • Heart Centered Mindfulness

        Heart Centered Mindfulness is a practice dedicated to help kids manage stress and anxiety while increasing their capacity for happiness, joy and compassion.