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Why horses

Horses are animals that are preyed upon and as such are hypervigilant in their environments. This hypervigilance translates into the ability to sense and tune into non-verbal cues. One horse’s tiny flick of an ear can cue an entire herd to be on alert. Even though horses have been domesticated for centuries, this ability remains in their DNA.


Horses are also able to sense the energy and emotions of humans that are conveyed through non-verbal communication. Horses will reflect back what they are sensing through their behaviours—without judgment. With this honest and immediate feedback, people can begin to deepen their understanding of themselves and identify areas for growth.

How horses help

Horses are large and powerful, and create a natural opportunity for participants to overcome fear and develop self-confidence. Horses have unique personalities, moods, and attitudes, which makes them perfectly suited to metaphorical learning. Participants can take the experiences they have with the horses and apply them to different situations in their lives.


Through experiences with the horses during H.E.L.P. retreats, participants are provided with opportunities to discover new ways of approaching life and connecting with the self and others. Participants will leave the program with a broader view of their recovery needs and future well-being.

Partnering with horses in therapy can help participants to learn about themselves, process thoughts and emotions, and influence change in an engaging and active way. Establishing relationships with horses allows for a non-threatening and non-judgmental way to develop solutions to problems and discover strategies that help in the healing process.


What we do

Heroes Equine Learning Program (H.E.L.P.) is a not-for-profit charitable organization facilitating Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy and Personal Development retreats for Military service members, First Responders (active or retired), and their families affected by post-traumatic stress and operational stress injuries.


H.E.L.P. retreats are confidential and offered to small groups over four-days. Retreats include all meals, accommodations, and transportation between facilities where programming is carried out. H.E.L.P. retreats are facilitated in various locations across Canada. Please visit our website or contact us for more information about our retreat locations.   


Equine Assisted Psychotherapy 

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy and Personal Development follows the EAGALA (Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning Association) Model  and is facilitated by a team of an Equine Specialist and a Mental Health Professional. All therapy is carried out from the ground and involves no horseback riding.

This video will demonstrate what an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy session might look like.











Who is H.E.L.P. for?

H.E.L.P. is for service members of the military, police, fire, corrections, EMS, and 911 dispatchers and their partners/support persons and families who are affected by post-traumatic stress and operational stress injuries.


The program is focused on providing the highest standard of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy for participants. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in mind-body movement modalities and to reflect and recharge during free time. The program activities and facilities are located in a country setting and create an ideal environment in which to lower stress, renew hope, and regain a sense of meaning and belonging.


The H.E.L.P program has three parts:

* Part One:

For participants to understand the impact of invisible wounds and consider strategies for better functioning in life.


* Part Two:

For partners or support persons to understand participants’ needs and to enhance support within the relationship.


* Part Three:

For families to have experiences alongside the participant. This enables the family to grow and provides a safe space for adjusting needs.


Private donors and community support fund H.E.L.P. retreats. With greater support from donors and communities, H.E.L.P. is able to expand the number of host facilities and optimize recovery and healing of affected and wounded members.  Through this support, H.E.L.P. retreats are offered at a fragment of the total cost.