Equine Assisted Learning

About Tracy

Tracy and Snuff

My name is Tracy Wood and I am a born and raised farm girl with a lifelong passion for horses (cows too!) and helping people. I grew up riding horses, showing beef cattle in 4-H and enjoying the everyday of life on the farm. Growing up I always thought I’d be a teacher but when the time came for university I headed off on another career path and graduated from the U of M in 1995 with a Diploma in Agriculture. I continued in the 4-H program moving on to being a leader and am currently in my 17th year of leading the Oakville 4-H Beef Club. I love working with children and youth and this love led me into my next journey of becoming a foster parent. Becoming a foster parent sparked my passion again! Witnessing firsthand how my foster daughter interacted and bonded with the horses was inspiring. If horses could comfort and give her a sense of security then why couldn’t I provide the horse/human experience to help others heal, grow and trust again? Enter…Equine Assisted Learning.

“All your horses are a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you won’t like what you see, sometimes you will.” – Buck Brannaman

What is Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)?

EAL is a holistic and effective approach to human development through basic horsemanship. Individuals partner with horses for the purpose of making positive changes in their lives. Horses pick up on our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors and they respond to these when we interact with them. With the help of an equine assisted learning facilitator, being with horses can help us understand ourselves better and gain valuable insights inspiring change. Experiential education secures impact and retention. It requires us to participate fully in the moment and to utilize our body, mind and spirit in unison.

Why Horses?

Horses are extremely sensitive, and are very much in tune with their environment as a matter of survival. By including horses in specially designed educational experiences, equine‐assisted specialists have greatly multiplied the participant’s rate of success to self-discovery. Horses can’t over think a participant’s motive and horses can’t manipulate behavior. But by their intuitive nature and innate sensitivity, the horse can continually reflect back to the human, with its body language and movement, what it is sensing. As facilitators listen to a horse’s non‐verbal communication, they have the ability to walk participants through the curriculum aiding them in self-awareness and reflection and the ability to self-heal and live in the moment.

The Facilitator

Much like the horses, the facilitators are intuitive, gentle and empathetic. They are professionally trained, certified and experienced. They help participants to come out of their “analytical thinking mind” and into consciousness where their personal truth resides. The equine activities are organized and delivered in a purposeful manner. They facilitate debriefing sessions to help each participant clarify his/her experience in order for them to bring what has been learned outside with them into their lives.

Who is EAL for?

EAL can benefit people of all ages, young or old and requires no horse experience. Whether you are looking for a deeper sense of self or are struggling with depression, EAL can help and is beneficial in helping to resolve a wide range of difficulties, including:

    Behavioural problems
    Substance Abuse
    Attention Deficit Disorder
    Relationship problems
    Eating disorders
    Social Disorders
    Self Esteem
    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

How can EAL help?

Positive connections with others can bring incredible joy and meaning to our daily lives, yet personal and interpersonal challenges can deflate self-confidence and make relationships complex and difficult to navigate.
A well-developed set of life skills are key to understanding these complexities and difficulties, and then dealing effectively with them.
Effective life skills are empowering and they instill confidence and they can be learned!
Equine Assisted Learning is a dynamic program where participants, horses, uniquely designed exercises, and certified facilitators all come together to create an inspiring environment for strengthening…

    Body Awareness
    Self Love/appreciation
    Personal Boundaries
    Creative Thinking
    Problem Solving
    Positive Attitude
    Relationship Building
    Emotional agility/understanding the messages behind your emotions
    Becoming aware of Non-Verbal Communication/reading between the lines
    Feeling personal authenticity and what has meaning for you

Skills learned in EAL extend beyond the arena, having a positive effect in all areas of a participant’s life.