Equitan Equine Assisted Learning

What is EAL?

Equine Assisted Learning

From our programs you will:

  • Improve personal awareness
  • Enhance verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  • Develop relationships
  • Enhance problem solving skills
  • Gain insight into group dynamics
  • Learn to remove defensive barriers
  • Develop your work ethic and ability to appreciate differences and diversity amongst groups
  • Develop decision making skills
  • Challenge yourself, build confidence and be empowered

Each customized experience inspires people to become better leaders, better partners and better people.  Using horses as partners and teachers, our programs will benefit corporate teams, families, couples as well as personal growth and development.

Equine Assisted Learning, or Equine Guided Education, is an experiential approach to teaching life skills using horses. We create an environment that is conducive for learning to take place and allow participants to develop relationships as we work to bridge the gap between what happens in the arena and real life.

Equitan’s programs are taught through exercises which have been created through intense research. Our programs are based on the Cartier Farms EAL curriculum which utilize objective based group activities that foster participant's communication, leadership, trust and teamwork while working with horses. These activities develop critical skills needed for life outside of the arena. In 2009 the Cartier Equine Center (EAL founder) became the focus of a collaborative community-based research project through the University of Saskatoon Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina and University of Calgary to study how horses assist in the healing of First Nation’s youth who abuse solvents. This research was released in June of 2013 and can be found through the Addictions Research Chair website (Colleen Dell, Ph. D) under the document name "The Helping Horse". It is through this research that the EAL program has been built upon and developed in order to assist those of diverse backgrounds and experiences.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.
— SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL

EAL can benefit everyone. No riding or previous horse experience is required; all exercises are done from the ground with trained and qualified facilitators on hand at all times.

Why horses?

Horses are very sensitive creatures. They are acutely aware of their surroundings and are quick to react. Horses have highly developed instincts and can recognize the difference between a calm, non-threatening approach and anxious or nervous energy. Like people, each horse has a different personality and may react to stimulus in a unique way. They are honest and are non-judgemental and will provide participants with feedback throughout the exercises. Horses are naturally herd-bound animals. In these groups, or teams, horses build respect and trust and there are clear boundaries. The horse has an instinctive need for a leader.

Working with horses and in groups creates the opportunity to explore leadership and teamwork. If horses observe contradictory behaviors or are not given clear direction, they start to question and challenge our authority to lead. Learning the ways in which horses are communicating with us and developing an understanding of what they are saying is extremely powerful and allows us to make connections between what happens in the arena and in our daily lives.