Horse-Assisted Personal Development Coaches Seek To Improve Well-Being At Vanderhoof – Vanderhoof Omineca Express


When Marie Thiessen was a child in downtown Prince George, she went to the equestrian center as often as possible.

“Being around a horse is just soothing and heartwarming,” she said.

Today, the fantastic creatures she describes as honest and non-judgmental play an even bigger role on the 40-acre family farm in Vanderhoof, where they are called colleagues.

Thiessen is now a Certified Horse Assisted Personal Development (EAPD) Coach and as the owner of the Haven Equine Assisted Learning and Wellness Center he has opened the door to helping others unlock their potential.

Previously, she worked with School District 91 as a certified educational assistant where she had noticed high anxiety in children.

“I am anxious myself and horses give me comfort,” she said, noting that many others also struggle with anxiety in a community where few resources are available.

“So I thought why not integrate our love for horses and our desire to help the community and try to make a program that we can expand and see if we can help someone. Really, I just wanted to create a safe and secure and nurturing environment for those in need of a place for healing and well-being.

Thiessen and her daughter Rayna received their EAPD certification after completing a week-long “crash” course in Edmonton, Alta.

They have eight rescue horses, most of which have some form of disability or had nowhere to go, and needed a little more love, compassion and care, Thiessen said, adding that they had a lot of love to give back. to people.

Horses are prey animals and their keen sense of awareness can easily detect the feelings and behaviors of those around them.

“They’re basically a mirror – they reflect how you feel and you can’t pretend around a horse,” Thiessen said.

“They can hear your emotions, and that leads to some pretty interesting discussions because we can use it as a means of conversation.”

Thiessen points out that she and her daughter are not counselors and that some have mistakenly believed that they provide riding lessons.

As an EAPD trainer or facilitator, they help guide people through using horses to set goals for overcoming obstacles in their lives which can be confidence, self esteem, communication problems or relationship problems.

“What we do is read the horse’s body language as it works with the person, and then we use that information and we use it to communicate to our clients what their experiences are; what they notice with the horse; what they notice in themselves, ”Thiessen said.

“Basically, we just facilitate people’s personal growth. “

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