What if my child/youth wants to ride? Empowered By Horses is not a traditional riding school. Although we sometimes include mounted work in our sessions, it is used as a secondary path in the exploration of boundaries and the practice of healthy respectful communication.
If riding is part of the session, EBH believes that it must be mutually beneficial for both the horse and rider.This is accomplished by first developing a relationship. Riders learn to listen deeply through observation and leading exercises, discussions with the facilitator, and grooming the horse. This initiates trust between rider and horse and an understanding of each other’s needs.
That said, many of our clients decide to forgo riding. We support their decision as there are multiple benefits to liberty work (working beside rather than atop a horse).
What is the difference between EFW and EC? Equine Facilitated wellness is based on relationship building, communication skills, and healthy boundaries. While an EFW client often has a mental health diagnosis or learning challenge this is not the main focus of the session. EFW is more about relational support, management of symptoms, and social skills.
While Equine Counselling is also based on relationship, the session is initiated because of the presenting mental health diagnosis. These sessions are facilitated by a registered clinical counsellor and sometimes in partnership with an EFW professional.
What if my child is afraid of horses? With years of experience in working with children, Empowered By Horses has found that a fear of horses is simply due to not being well acquainted with them. At EBH we usually begin with activities that observe horses from afar. We learn equine body language and through that their ways of seeing the world. From a safe place we discuss with our young clients how the horse might be feeling or needing and how that might relate to their environment. Many clients, regardless of age, derive many personal insights from sitting back and observing horses in the field or relating to other horses. When a young client does choose to get closer to the horses, we often begin interactions with our miniature horses.
What other services do you offer? At Empowered By Horses we view all animals as sentient beings with thoughts, emotions and intelligence. Anam Cara Farms is home to sheep, heritage pigs and chickens who now offer their services in our Animal Assisted Wellness programs. As with EFW, the basis of these programs is creating meaningful relationships. Different activities include reading stories with the pigs, observing the different personalities of the chickens, and creating safety in interacting with the sheep.
How do I choose between EFW and EC? The important thing to know with this question is that there is no wrong answer. Both services are based on relationship, support and mutuality. Equine Counselling, however, is facilitated by a certified mental health counsellor. We recommend that you read through our bios (insert link) and see what fits your child best. We are also happy to talk with you to support this process.
What does a typical session look like? Our clients are as individual and unique as the animals with which they work. It is very important that our young clients get excited about their time spent on the farm. As such, EBH doesn’t have a specific one size fits all program. All sessions begin with an introduction to the farm, the animals and the facilitators followed by an exploration into the goals and learning/therapeutic objectives for the child/youth. These discussions are on-going as objectives and needs change.
Do you offer groups? For over a decade we have hosted a variety of group programs, many custom-tailored, for both children/youth and adults. We have partnered with not for profit agencies, Indiginous groups, MCFD (ministry), schools, universities, hospices, and private organizations…..please inquire for more information on how we can serve you best.
What funding options are available? Empowered By Horses clients are funded through a variety of means including online homeschooling programs, autism funding, MCFD and extended health plans. We also support clients in accessing funding through the Variety Club, CKNW Children’s Fund and criminal victim assistance programs. Some of our counsellors also offer a sliding scale.