So, why horses? Horses can’t lie. They’re never going to tell you what you want to hear just to get out of an awkward conversation. Horses’ reactions and responses to behaviours are similar to humans – we can easily interpret their body language. Unlike other therapy animals, horses do not offer unconditional anything until a balanced relationship is built. Human behaviour/response is tied to past and present, while horses live purely in the moment and able to give honest, immediate feedback to participants. Add it all together and horses are wonderfully suited to be our partners in the work we do at The War Horse Project.

The most compelling piece of our program is the opportunity participants have to form positive bonds and attachments with both the horses and peers. The horses respond without judgement and provide moments to discover self, engage internal regulation, and build meaningful relationships based on trust, respect and understanding….fundamental to mental and emotional well-being.

With the guidance of both our equine facilitators and our on-site psychologists, participants are encouraged to explore who they are after their life-changing experience and to find purpose and meaning in these experiences. Together, we will look for ways to redefine their new “normal.”

Our multiphase approach addresses the entire family’s health and support needs. Phase 1 of the program addresses issues, injuries and trauma individually with the participant while Phase 2 introduces the family into the sessions. By incorporating both the participants and their primary support network – their families –  into our unique process, we can deliver an effective program that addresses the entire family’s needs with greater results.

The War Horse Project is a 16-week peer-supported program where participants meet once a week for half-day, group therapy session. Discussion, mindfulness activities, ground work, horse and equipment care as well as riding are just a few of the exercises clients experience while attending the program. There are several intakes per year, from March through November. Aftercare programs are available year round at our private facility near Pembroke, Ontario.

There is no cost to attend. The War Horse Project is a not-for-profit organization and we rely on the generosity and support of our community partners to keep the program accessible to those in need.

For further information, please contact us at: 613-585-1208 or email vanderbrookfarm@gmail.com