PROFESSIONAL TRAINING & RESOURCES

Train with leading professionals in the field, and attain national certification with Pro EFW

Integrating animals into your life and work offers new avenues for healing, learning and growth

for both yourself and those you work with!

Come learn about and experience Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy with nationally endorsed training available both online and onsite at our peaceful ranch in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Healing Hooves programs were established in 1999; we’ve stood the test of time and bring over two decades of experience to all our programs!

You can incorporate animals into many different approaches and professions to invite those you seek to help feel safe with you, engage in your services, learn new skills, and find new paths to healing and growth.

If you are supporting – or have dreams of developing a practice to support – people who struggle with trust or emotional expression, who are resistant to attend or engage in therapy or personal growth sessions, or who are ‘stuck’ and don’t seem to be making progress in a more traditional environment – an animal assisted approach could provide a way through.

Whether you already work with animals, admire them from afar or are simply curious about the opportunities, this is your opportunity to explore the healing power of animals and to harness this for yourself, your practice and your clients.

Join a Supportive Training Community

When you train with us you join a community of professionals training and working in this field who collaborate with and support each other. You gain access to a huge body of resources and ongoing support from Sue McIntosh, a pioneer and leader in this field, and the Healing Hooves team.

Our training programs are approved for certification with the Professional Association for Equine Facilitated Wellness, and for continuing education with numerous professional bodies.

Our approach is firmly grounded in the developmental and attachment based paradigm of Dr. Gordon Neufeld and integrates key aspects of Centred Riding, Connected groundwork and T-TEAM.

Click on the headings below for descriptions of each step in your training journey!

Step One: Exploration Training

This Introductory training has no pre-requisites and is your first step in the Pro-EFW national certification program. Now delivered online. 

Early bird rate in place till Dec 15, 2021:  Online Registration Form

In this small group experiential workshop you will explore the growing fields of Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW) and Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).  This workshop has been offered by Healing Hooves for more than fifteen years and it is your first step in learning more about EFW and AAT and/ or about incorporating animals into your work. While this workshop introduces the attachment work of Dr. Gordon Neufeld and its application to EFW/ AAT and is designed to meet national certification requirements with Pro-EFW, its focus is broad, and the aim is to introduce you to a wide range of approaches and theories within the EFW/ AAT fields.

In this interactive experiential training Sue will help you:

  • Explore how to incorporate animals into your work safely and ethically
  • Practice bringing yourself and your clients to a more regulated state, through and for an animal supported approach
  • Explore how to create and work within the triad of the client -animals – counsellor relationship, with the animal recognised and partnered with as a sentient being
  • Get hands with your own animals, or with Sue’s herd through videos, to personally witness and experience the power of this work
  • Gain an understanding of different approaches to working, training and certifying in the field and determine which is the best for you
  • Share your questions, reflections and learnings within a supportive small group and directly with Sue
  • Develop a plan for what comes next – your mission, vision, scope of practice and next steps
  • Complete your first step towards national certification
What to Expect

This is an interactive course designed to meet all of the Pro-EFW learning objectives for this training. The course comprises:

  • Videos from the Healing Hooves herd and team for you to watch introducing and demonstrating experiential activities
  • Experiential activities for you to try with your own horses/ other animals if you have access to them, with alternate options if you don’t currently have access to horses
  • Theoretical information in each of the focus areas identified below, including reference to research, and review of information from the leading professional bodies;
  • Instructional videos, support and resources to help you apply the theoretical information to your own situation and needs;
  • Personal reflections and guided journalling which you share with your trainer;
  • Discussion forums for you to ask questions, share your reflections and observations from experiential activities, and interact with your fellow students and facilitator.
All of our online training courses are self paced within a recommended timeline which is in place to try to keep us all on track and to make our discussions and interactions  as synchronous and helpful to you as possible. Within this timeline you are able to access the material and complete all of the course components whenever is convenient to you.  The course will remain open and fully available to you for an additional one month after the official end date of the course.  The only ‘scheduled’ times are the group zoom calls (usually two to three 90 minute meetings per course) which are recorded for later viewing (usually available for a one week period) if you miss them.
 
Time Commitment and Certification
Provided all assignments are completed and experiential components are completed with an equine, Pro-EFW recognise this as a 30 hour training meeting the requirements of Exploration training and the first step in their national certification program. The CCPA (Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association) and other professional regulatory bodies have consistently recognised this training for 30 hours of CEC (Continuing Education Credit) provided all assignments are completed but without the requirement for the experiential components to be completed with an equine.
 
As much of the course is self directed the actual time commitment will vary depending upon how long it takes you to review the material, how many of the optional resources you access and how much depth you go into with the journal responses, discussion activities and experiential exercises. On average the weekly time commitment has varied between 6 to 8 hours per week over the 6-7 week period. We also offer two to three group zoom meetings of 90 mins each which are recorded for later viewing. These are usually scheduled for a Saturday morning at 10am MT although if the cohort is large the group will be split into smaller subgroups at different times.
 
Mentoring
If you choose to seek certification in EFW with Pro-EFW, part of the certification requirements is ten hours of mentoring with a Pro EFW mentor. Full participation in all of the online discussions and reflections above (including all of the ‘optional’ reflection and discussion opportunities and attendance at group zoom calls) provides you with one of these hours, and is included in the total exploration fee.
Step Two: Foundation Training
At our Foundation Training you will explore a Developmental and Attachment Based Approach to EFW and AAT, and complete your next step in the Pro EFW national certification program
 
Early bird rate in place till January 30, 2022:  Online Registration Form

 

Through an eight week interactive online program followed by two days onsite in small groups, you will participate in training which is firmly grounded in and explores the developmental and attachment based paradigm of Dr. Gordon Neufeld integrated into the Healing Hooves and Pro-EFW approach.  You will also learn aspects of centered riding, T-Touch, and Connected groundwork from advanced instructors in these fields. 

What to Expect

You will be participating in an interactive course designed to meet all of the Pro-EFW learning objectives for this training. The includes:

  • Videos from the Healing Hooves herd and team for you to watch introducing and demonstrating experiential activities
  • Experiential activities for you to try with your own horses/ other animals if you have access to them, with alternate options if you don’t currently have access to horses
  • Theoretical information in each of the focus areas identified below, including reference to research, and review of information from leading professional bodies;
  • Instructional videos, support and resources to help you apply the theoretical information to your own situation and goals;
  • Opportunities for personal reflection;
  • Discussion forums for you to ask questions, share your reflections and observations from experiential activities, and interact with your fellow students and facilitator.
  • Two days onsite with the Healing Hooves herd and team in a small group for you to further experience and apply the training material.
 
All of our online training courses are self paced within a recommended timeline which is in place to try to keep us all on track and to make our discussions and interactions  as synchronous and helpful to you as possible. Within this timeline you are able to access the material and complete all of the course components whenever is convenient to you.  The course will remain open and fully available to you for an additional one month after the official end date of the course.  The only ‘scheduled’ times are the two days onsite and the group zoom calls (usually two to three 90 minute meetings per course) which are recorded for later viewing (usually available for a one week period) if you miss them.
 
 
During Foundation and Focus Training Sue will help you:
 
  • Explore an attachment and developmental approach to working with your clients, and its application and relevance to your EFW/ AAT practice and plans;
  • Start to apply this theoretical model to your EFW/ AAT work with the different populations and different formats you plan to work with and within (e.g. individual sessions, group sessions, school programs etc.) in accordance with your scope of practice;
  • Start to develop your facilitation skills in EFW sessions including how to prepare for a session and keep things safe for all involved (including your animals!)
  • Explore aspects of Centered riding, T-Touch, Connected riding and Natural horsemanship, and how you will integrate these into your EFW/ AAT approach and with Pro EFW philosophies and principals. This will include starting to explore how to:
    1. Protect the physical and emotional safety of your clients and horses/ other animals, including additional considerations if you decide to include riding into your approach;
    2. Select and train your horse(s for EFW;
    3. Assess your horses’ comfort level in the work;
    4. Determine when a horse is not suitable for EFW;
    5. Prepare of a horse for EFW sessions;
    6. Handle your horses (yourself and your clients) during sessions;
    7. Debrief with your horse after sessions.
  • Review and expansion of your individual “next steps” (from Exploration Training) in the formation of a preliminary outline for your EFW professional development plan.
  • Further explore the Pro EFW certification requirements and development of an initial draft of your  Scope of Practice Statement.
  • Explore practical aspects of your EFW/AAT practice including equipment, suitable horses and facilities, and insurance.
  • Participate in oportunities for your own personal reflection and increased self awareness through EFW exercises and interactions with horses.
  • Further explore  safety, risk management and ethical considerations in your practice.
 

Specific Attachment Based Topics You will Explore During Foundation Training Include: 

  1. Attachment Roots:
    We explore how we attach, and why it is important that we attach deeply, securely, personally, and to the right people. From there we explore how and why this can go off course and how we can work with and through horses to identify where someone got ‘stuck’ and how to create an environment, context and process to help them get back on the right track.
  2. Quest for Significance and the Size of the ‘Invitation’
    A key attachment root is at the level of significance ,i,e. do we feel that we matter to those to whom we are attached? We explore problems that can arise in this area and how the horses and other animals can provide us and our clients with an invitation that invites us to rest emotionally, to ‘live out loud’ and to be congruent.
  3. Alpha Complex, True Independence and Emotional Rest
    We explore the difference between true and defensive ‘alpha’ presentations including the bully and the chronic caretaker and how to work with and through our horses to invite our clients, and ourselves, to experience emotional rest.
  4. Separation Complex
    We explore the significant impact that facing too much separation from attachments has on our clients, on our animals and on ourselves, the impact this has on behaviour, development, relationships and attachment, and how an EFW approach can help.
  5. Frustration
    We will explore a model for understanding aggression in terms of frustration and adaptive functioning, and how to assess and address problems in this area through interactions with and discussions about the horses.
 
Time Commitment and Certification
Provided all reading, reflection and discussion assignments are completed, the experiential components are completed with an equine, and both onsite days are attended, Pro-EFW recognise this as a 30 hour training meeting the requirements of Foundation training and the second step in their national certification program. The CCPA (Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association) and various other professional regulatory bodies have consistently recognised this training for 30 hours of CEC (Continuing Education Credit) provided all assignments are completed, and without the requirement for the experiential components to be completed with an equine.  As some of the course is self directed, the actual time commitment will vary depending upon how long it takes you to review the material, how many of the optional resources you access and how much depth you go into with the personal reflections, discussion activities and experiential exercises. On average, the weekly time commitment has varied between 3 to 6 hours per week over the 8 week period. We also offer two to three group zoom meetings of 90 mins each which are recorded for later viewing. These are usually scheduled for a Saturday morning at 10am MT although if the cohort is large the group will be split into smaller subgroups at different times.
 
Mentoring
If you choose to seek certification in EFW with Pro-EFW, part of the certification requirements (which are reviewed during the exploration training) is ten hours of mentoring with a Pro EFW mentor. Full participation in ALL of the online discussions and reflections above (including all of the ‘optional’ reflection and discussion opportunities and attendance at group zoom calls) provides you with one of these hours, and is included in the total foundation training fee.
Step Three: Focus Training

At Focus Training you will continue to explore and apply a Developmental and Attachment Based Approach to EFW and AAT, and complete your third step towards national certification with Pro EFW

 
 Early bird rate in place till March 30, 2022:  Online Registration Form
 

Through an eight week interactive online program followed by two and a half days onsite in small groups, you will participate in training which allows you to further explore the developmental and attachment based paradigm of Dr. Gordon Neufeld integrated introduced at Foundations training.  You will also continue to learn aspects of centered riding, T-Touch, and Connected groundwork from advanced instructors in these fields. 

What to Expect

You will be participating in an interactive course designed to meet all of the Pro-EFW learning objectives for this training. The includes:

  • Videos from the Healing Hooves herd and team for you to watch introducing and demonstrating experiential activities
  • Experiential activities for you to try with your own horses/ other animals if you have access to them, with alternate options if you don’t currently have access to horses
  • Theoretical information in each of the focus areas identified below, including reference to research, and review of information from leading professional bodies;
  • Instructional videos, support and resources to help you apply the theoretical information to your own situation and goals;
  • Opportunities for personal reflection;
  • Discussion forums for you to ask questions, share your reflections and observations from experiential activities, and interact with your fellow students and facilitator.
  • Two days onsite with the Healing Hooves herd and team in a small group for you to further experience and apply the training material.
 
All of our online training courses are self paced within a recommended timeline which is in place to try to keep us all on track and to make our discussions and interactions  as synchronous and helpful to you as possible. Within this timeline you are able to access the material and complete all of the course components whenever is convenient to you.  The course will remain open and fully available to you for an additional one month after the official end date of the course.  The only ‘scheduled’ times are the two days onsite and the group zoom calls (usually two to three 90 minute meetings per course) which are recorded for later viewing (usually available for a one week period) if you miss them.
 
 
During Focus Training Sue will help you:
 
  • Explore an attachment and developmental approach to working with your clients, and its application and relevance to your EFW/ AAT practice and plans;
  • Start to apply this theoretical model to your EFW/ AAT work with the different populations and different formats you plan to work with and within (e.g. individual sessions, group sessions, school programs etc.) in accordance with your scope of practice;
  • Start to develop your facilitation skills in EFW sessions including how to prepare for a session and keep things safe for all involved (including your animals!)
  • Explore aspects of Centered riding, T-Touch, Connected riding and Natural horsemanship, and how you will integrate these into your EFW/ AAT approach and with Pro EFW philosophies and principals. This will include starting to explore how to:
    1. Protect the physical and emotional safety of your clients and horses/ other animals, including additional considerations if you decide to include riding into your approach;
    2. Select and train your horse(s for EFW;
    3. Assess your horses’ comfort level in the work;
    4. Determine when a horse is not suitable for EFW;
    5. Prepare of a horse for EFW sessions;
    6. Handle your horses (yourself and your clients) during sessions;
    7. Debrief with your horse after sessions.
  • Review and expansion of your individual “next steps” (from Exploration Training) in the formation of a preliminary outline for your EFW professional development plan.
  • Further explore the Pro EFW certification requirements and development of an initial draft of your  Scope of Practice Statement.
  • Explore practical aspects of your EFW/AAT practice including equipment, suitable horses and facilities, and insurance.
  • Participate in opportunities for your own personal reflection and increased self awareness through EFW exercises and interactions with horses.
  • Further explore  safety, risk management and ethical considerations in your practice.
 

Specific Attachment Based Topics You will Explore During Focus Training Include: 

  1. Review of Attachment
    We review the information from Foundation training in relation to attachment, significance, frustration, independence and the impacts of facing separation from attachments. We explore the attachment root of Being Known and the area of Self Disclosure in more depth including the risks this presents.
  2. Emotion, Play and the Flight from Vulnerability
    We explore the critical roles of EMOTION for development, healthy relationship, healing and growth, the need for emotion to be both felt and expressed, and the challenges that arise when a ‘flight from vulnerability’ arises. We explore how to safely invite that emotion back – in our clients, their caregivers/ other key attachments, and in ourselves and the critical opportunities our animals, and PLAY, provide us in this area.
  3. Integrative Functioning
    We will explore what we mean by Integrative Functioning, why it matters and what happens when it is missing. W explore how to draw out ‘mixed feelings’ to prime and develop our clients’ integrative function through interactions with and discussions about the horses and other animals.
  4. Alarm
    We explore how the human alarm system is supposed to function, the various different levels of alarm dysfunction, what this looks like and what may cause it. We then explore a process for understanding and addressing/ reversing alarm dysfunction through attachments and interactions with horses and other animals.
 
Time Commitment and Certification
Provided all reading, reflection and discussion assignments are completed, the experiential components are completed with an equine, and both onsite days are attended, Pro-EFW recognise this as a 30 hour training meeting the requirements of Foundation training and the second step in their national certification program. The CCPA (Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association) and various other professional regulatory bodies have consistently recognised this training for 30 hours of CEC (Continuing Education Credit) provided all assignments are completed, and without the requirement for the experiential components to be completed with an equine.  As some of the course is self directed, the actual time commitment will vary depending upon how long it takes you to review the material, how many of the optional resources you access and how much depth you go into with the personal reflections, discussion activities and experiential exercises. On average, the weekly time commitment has varied between 3 to 6 hours per week over the 8 week period. We also offer two to three group zoom meetings of 90 mins each which are recorded for later viewing. These are usually scheduled for a Saturday morning at 10am MT although if the cohort is large the group will be split into smaller subgroups at different times.
 
Step Four: Integration Training

This is your Final Core training Step towards completing the Pro EFW National Certification Program!

 
Early bird rate in pace till June 15, 2022:  Online Registration Form

This small group training helps you start and/ or enhance your practice in the EFW/ AAT fields through consolidating your learning to date, identifying and addressing any gaps in that learning, and finalising your EFW scope of practice and certification requirements. Most importantly of all we give you lots of guided and supported practice working with the horses, clients and each other.  While the primary context in terms of certification requirements is the Pro EFW model, there will be flexibility to discuss other models that you may be working towards.

Offered through a six week interactive online program followed by three days onsite in small groups, this training is firmly grounded in and applies your understanding (from Foundation and Focus training) of the developmental and attachment based paradigm of Dr. Gordon Neufeld to your own approach and practice in EFW, within the Pro EFW approach and parameters.  Aspects of centered riding, T-Touch, and Connected groundwork continue to be  incorporated and applied. 

Mentoring 
If you choose to seek certification in EFW with Pro-EFW, part of the certification requirements (which are reviewed during each training) is ten hours of mentoring with a Pro EFW mentor. Full participation in the online discussions and reflections provides you with one of these hours, and is included in the integration training fee.
2022 Training Schedule, Fees, and Registration Details

You are welcome to e-mail us at sue@healinghooves.ca for more information and also to follow our Facebook page where all training updates are posted as soon as they are available.

TrainingOnline datesTentative Onsite DatesStandard (Pro-EFW recommended) rates HH early bird rates and deadlines
Exploration TrainingJan 22 – March 5
6 weeks
n/a$650 plus tax$595 plus GST
Dec 15, 2021
Foundation TrainingMarch 12 – April 23
8 weeks
May 27-29$1,600 plus tax$1,500 plus GST
January 30, 2022
Focus TrainingJune 1 – July 20
7 weeks
July 22-24$1,600 plus tax$1,500 plus GST
March 30, 2022
Discounted rate if register and pay for Foundation and Focus training together and attend both in the same series (i.e. same year and training cohort)$3,000 plus tax$2,900 plus tax
January 30, 2022
Integration TrainingAugust 6 – Oct 1
10 weeks
Sept 30 – October 2$1,600 plus tax$1,500 plus GST
June 15, 2022

 

How to Register Online through our website:

There are three steps to register:

  1. Complete our online registration form:  Online Registration Form
  2. Complete our online waiver: Training Waiver
  3. Send your payment by EFT to: sue@healinghooves.ca

Please note that in order to hold your space at a training, you need to complete all three of the above steps.  Completing the online registration form and/ or waiver without sending payment will not qualify you for an early bird rate or hold your space at a training.

Mentoring and Supervision

One of the certification requirements if you choose to follow the Pro-EFW certification program is to receive ten hours of mentoring. We can support you in meeting this requirement in several ways:

  1. All of our online training programs have mentoring components built into them at no extra cost. If you complete all aspects of the online program you could be credited with up to two mentoring hours over the course of your training journey with us.
  2. Both Sue McIntosh and Carolyn Miller, counsellors at Healing Hooves, are certified mentors with Pro EFW. Sue and Carolyn are both happy to provide individual mentoring, at discounted rates to Healing Hooves students, in person or by phone/ zoom.
  3. We can refer you to other Pro EFW certified mentors who may also be able to provide you with individual mentoring.
  4. Once you have completed Exploration Training you are eligible to join our group mentoring program 
 
Resources

Training Materials

As our trainings have moved online this has allowed us to develop a large collection of resources including written material, videos, example forms and more. All of our students have access to these materials throughout their training journey.

Materials are shared through our membership site so you will have access to these once you have signed up for a training!

Therapeutic Stories

We have published several therapeutic children’s stories featuring the Healing Hooves animals and sharing their stories. Grounded in attachment theory, each story covers a different theme including emotional expression, resilience, recovery from loss, forgiveness, and relationship conflict. They are also simply fun, engaging and amusing stories holding universal applicability to all children and their parents. Access to, and guidance on how to use, these stories in an EFW practice is built into our more advanced trainings. 

These stories are also available to purchase for $20 each or $40 for a collection of four stories. Contact Sue at sue@healinghooves.ca for more information.

Free Resources

Our blog includes many free resources that we encourage you to access!

Your Training Team

 

You are in safe hands at Healing Hooves – we have been training other professionals at Healing Hooves for over 15 years and our training team includes leaders in the fields of EFW and advanced instructors in horsemanship. We often also include more advanced EFW students in our team for earlier trainings.  This provides our more experienced students with a great review and facilitation experience and allows our newer students the opportunity to ask them about their training journey.

Your lead trainer will be Sue McIntosh – founder of Healing hooves and tri certified trainer with Pro EFW.  You can find out more about our full team – two and four legged – on our meet our professionals page.

Certification and Recognition of Training

We have been offering professional training at Healing Hooves for over fifteen years. While our training program is designed to meet the Pro-EFW core requirements, as per Canadian and International best standards for certification, Healing Hooves is independent of and separate from all professional associations developing and implementing certification programs.

Healing Hooves training workshops are recognized and pre approved by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW). They have also met continuing education and certification requirements for many other professional bodies for many years. A number of models for certification in the Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy fields are explored at Healing Hooves training courses, including the Pro-EFW Model.

Sue McIntosh – founder counsellor and trainer at Healing Hooves – is tri certified with Pro EFW as a practitioner, mentor and trainer in all three certification streams (mental health, learning and equine professional). Our more advanced trainings are specifically designed to meet the core training requirements of Pro EFW as set out in the following diagram from Pro-EFW:

We are frequently asked whether participants will be ‘certified’ after completing Healing Hooves Training. From the outset – and we have been offering training for over 15 years – we have resisted pressure to do this. We concur with and follow Canadian and international best standards on certification – International Standard ISO/IEC 17024 – that certification should come from independent and nationally recognised professional associations – and not from the organisations providing the training. This greatly enhances the credibility of the certification earned and better protects the interests of the people and horses we work with.

You can read more about this subject in our article, The Certification Conundrum. 

There are a number of professional bodies in North America that offer and/ or are developing such certification processes which the Healing Hooves training programs are recognised by and qualify towards. Key among these is Professional Association for Equine Facilitated Wellness. These are collaborative non profit initiatives involving a wide range of experienced professionals from all aspects of the field. At the Exploration Workshop we review the current status of the various certification options, including the Pro EFW model, and help participants determine the path which best fits their scope of practice and goals in the areas of EFW and AAT.

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