About Healing Hooves

“Through Horses, we are granted the Grace to Be … and the Space to Become…”

About Healing Hooves

“Through Horses we are granted the Grace to Be … and the Space to Become …”

We’re so glad you found our website and are excited to share who we are with you and how spending time with animals can help us all in so many ways.

Simply click on each heading below to find out more.

Who We Are

Healing Hooves is an Equine and Animal Assisted wellness services program, and Professional Training Centre, based on a tranquil farm in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. Through the healing power of the human animal bond our mission is to bring healing, growth, insight and hope to children, adults, parents, families and professionals.

Our trained counsellors, therapy horses, dogs and cats are looking forward to meeting you!


What We Do

At Healing Hooves you can access a wide range of services including individual and family counselling, parenting support, personal development workshops, professional training, therapeutic horsemanship and vaulting, and a wide range of online (most free) resources.

At our online and onsite Professional Training Programs and Workshops you will explore a wide range of approaches to working in the Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy fields and meet all of the training requirements for national certification with the Professional Association for Equine Facilitated Wellness.

As a parent, grandparent or other caregiver you can attend our Parenting Support sessions and access our free resources all of which are grounded in the attachment approach of Dr. Gordon Neufeld and the Neufeld Institute.

Our individual and family counselling services specialise in working with people with struggles in the areas of anxiety, depression, trauma, parent child conflict, ADHD, attachment struggles and disorders, grief and loss, self esteem struggles, stress, behavioural problems and more.

We also offer a wide range of non counselling services including personal growth workshops and sessions, therapeutic horsemanship, beginner riding, therapeutic vaulting sessions and trauma informed yoga. Our Therapeutic Stories are written for children aged five to twelve. Grounded in attachment theory and developmental science, each story covers a different theme including emotional expression, resilience, recovery from loss, unconditional love, trauma, forgiveness, and relationship conflict.

Explore whether our program is a fit and how to refer yourself, a family member or a client to our programs on our FAQ page

You can find a full description of the different services offered at Healing Hooves on Our Services page

Who we work with

We work with children (age five and up), parents, families, adults and professionals.

At Healing Hooves we firmly believe that there are many children, caregivers and adults for whom doors could be opened, trust re-learnt, and relationships built through a relationship with the right therapy horse or other animal. A key part of our vision is to help as many people as we can experience healing, hope and unconditional love through the gentle touch of a four-legged counsellor.

Clients we are qualified to help and support include those struggling with depression, anxiety, attachment disorders and struggles, grief and loss, recovery from trauma, FASD, ADD, ADHD, self esteem struggles, stress, relationship conflict, parent child conflict and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

We work with adopted and foster children and families.

While we provide support to our clients through individual counselling a key aspect of our attachment based approach, particularly when working with children, is to involve parents and other caretaking attachments in their child’s counselling as much as possible and appropriate. This may mean parent support sessions, your own sessions, or family sessions.

We sometimes recommend that children do not attend counselling sessions but instead attend our therapeutic horsemanship sessions.

We will also regularly incorporate an animal assisted play therapy approach into our sessions with children.

Funding is sometimes available for our services through McMan Youth, Supports for Permanency,  Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) and through private health insurance.

We are also dedicated to supporting other professionals seeking to develop careers in the fields of Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy through professional training workshops leading to national certification, and through the sharing of resources.

For more information about the services we offer and who we work with we encourage you to check out our services page.

How we do it

Using an approach called Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW)  we invite you to partner with animals as powerful role models, teachers, friends and guides on this incredible life journey.

At Healing Hooves we incorporate specially selected and trained therapy horses and other animals with humans into a therapeutic environment and relationship. All of these interactions are carefully supervised by a mental health professional and Equestrian Canada registered and certified coach, and are designed in accordance with each client’s therapeutic needs and objectives.

We bring together aspects of different fields including attachment theory, developmental psychology, person centered counselling, play therapy, experiential learning, theraplay, AAT, therapeutic riding, therapeutic vaulting and horsemanship. This results in a uniquely effective and flexible approach, drawing upon the human animal bond to foster healing, learning and growth.

Our approach is firmly grounded in attachment theory, developmental psychology and neuroscience; an insight approach, rather than a behavioural approach. Specifically, it is grounded in the approach developed and taught by Dr. Gordon Neufeld with whom all Healing Hooves counsellors and trainers have extensive training. As such the focus is upon the relationship between a client and the key attachments in his/her life, upon the client’s longer term healing and development, and upon the needs and emotions underlying their behavior or struggles.

This is approached through creating an environment within which the client develops a positive relationship with the horses and other animals at Healing Hooves. This is then used as a bridge to develop a positive relationship with the counsellor, and with other key healthy relationships in the client’s life. The interactions and interventions facilitated with and through the therapy animals, and all other therapeutic approaches and interventions followed by Healing Hooves Counsellors, are grounded in our understanding of both human development and attachment, and the interplay between these two aspects.

This includes consideration of attachment depth, security and health; the health and maturity level of the developmental processes of emergence, adaptation and integration; the level of emotional defenses and the impact of this upon both attachment and the developmental processes; and the interplay between all of the above and a person’s ability to feel and express emotions (including frustration and alarm) in a healthy and vulnerable manner.

We explore aspects of our approach within our articles for parents, clients and professionals.

For more information about the services we offer and who we work with we encourage you to check out our services page.

Our Animal Partners

The animals we partner with are well trained, well cared for and prepared for their work with clients. The also live with us on our home based farm so are treasured members of the family who we are excited to introduce you to.  We are confident you will love them too!

Our therapy horses and other animal partners at Healing Hooves are key members of our team. They all have their own personal stories leading them to Healing Hooves which has shaped them into wonderful co-counselors and therapy animals. Our clients relate to the horses and other animals they work with here and everyone usually finds that special animal partner who truly seems to understand and care about where you have been, where you are going, and what you are facing right now.

You can meet them individually by checking out our four legged professionals page.

The physical and emotional well being of our animals is highly important to us.  Learn more about this in our article about our animals as sentient beings and our ethics

We have published a number of therapeutic children’s stories featuring the Healing Hooves animals and sharing their stories.  All proceeds from the sale of these books subsidise counselling and equine therapy sessions with low income families and/ or help finance the physical needs of our therapy horses, dogs and cats. Themes include relationship conflict and resolution, unconditional love, resilience, recovery from grief and loss, forgiveness, recovery from trauma, grace, and emotional expression. 

Contact us to order your copy today or view a selection for free on our blog!

Can You Train with us?

Yes you can!

Part of our mission at Healing Hooves is to provide other professionals, volunteers and students with professional and accessible training and resources in Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy and to support you in gaining nationally recognised certification with Pro-EFW. We have recently moved our trainings to an interactive online format (advanced trainings include small group onsite components).

For more info check out our Trainings and Workshops page    Or register here

Our Credentials

You are in safe hands at Healing Hooves.

In addition to training and certification in Counselling Psychology, Social Work, Education, Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy, our counsellors and staff are also trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) for trauma work, in Emotionally Focused Therapy for family work and in attachment and developmental psychology. We are also trained and certified with the Professional Association for Equine Facilitated Wellness, the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA), the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW), the Neufeld Institute, Equestrian Canada and the National Coaching Certification Program.

Learn more about our team- two and four legged members – on our meet our professionals page.

How Can You Find Out More?

For any enquiries you can reach us through our Contact page or by sending and e-mail to sue@healinghooves.ca.

Our Blog has lots of free resources and information including free downloads of several of our therapeutic stories.

For people interested in working in the field of Equine and/ or Animal Assisted Therapy we have a blog series just for you which answers many of the questions people often ask when getting started in these fields.

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