Photo submitted Jenn Macpherson spends some time with her horses, Gabe and Missy, which she uses to offer equine therapy.

Equine therapy: using horses to connect with those in need

“It’s a place to come and feel safe”

Jenn Macpherson believes in the healing power of horses.

“I’ve got this calling in my heart,” Macpherson said of what inspired her to relocate from the Lower Mainland and purchase and restore a rural property in the Cariboo for her new business as an equine assisted development coach.

“There’s just so many gaps in the system where I’ve seen people in recovery who struggle to connect and live as a sober person. It can be very isolating. Horses create this space, they have the ability to break down some of the walls people have put up.”

Macpherson has been training and preparing for four years to offer her skills full-time as an equine assisted development coach to anyone in need, whether that is someone in recovery from substance use, those who have suffered trauma, therapy for couples or just anyone in need of making connections and feeling supported.

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“When clients come here, it’s a place to stick your cell phone at the door — a place of renewal,” she said of her property, Spirit Valley Ranch, just north of Williams Lake.

Macpherson has worked in the mental health and substance use field for the last decade and said equine therapy just makes sense as another way to connect with those in need.

“It takes so much courage to change and make healthy connections. Every emotion we feel, the world responds to that,” she said. “Horses are honest, (whereas) humans are a little more tricky. Whatever is going on with the clients, the horse reflects that. The horse does all the work. People often (carry) emotions they don’t even know exist.”

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Often a deeply moving experience, Macpherson has already started working with clients with her two horses Gabe, a Gelderlander Dutch Carriage horse, and Missy, an Appendix mare.

She has spent the last year restoring her property and feels she’s now ready to achieve her own dream of helping others through equine assisted learning full time.

Macpherson is hosting an open house at her Spirit Valley Ranch on Sunday, April 28 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for those interested in learning more. Or, you can visit her website at www.spiritvalleyranch.com.


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