Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)


Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is a powerful and effective approach to experiential learning that includes purposeful interactions with horses. Learning objectives of an EAL program vary widely and are dependent on the goals of the individual or group as well as the expertise of the facilitator.

At Hope Haven, our facilitating team includes a Recreation Therapist and Certified Equestrian Instructors who have additional training in the field of EAL. Our amazing herd of horses complete this team as they work with the facilitators to help participants through the process of personal growth in the areas of social-emotional and life skills development.

Personal development goals through the use of EAL may include:

  • Empowerment 
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Self Awareness
  • Empathy
  • Confidence and Leadership
  • Building Positive Relationships
  • Establishing Boundaries
  • Emotional Regulation

We offer 3 options of EAL programming; Private, Group or Pop-Up Groups. Please refer to the full descriptions below to see what best suits your needs.

Private EAL

Purpose - To work towards individualized social-emotional or life skills goals

EAL Facilitator - Our Recreation Therapist uses EAL as the primary programming tool however often times other forms of therapeutic modalities may be of benefit as well. For more information on other tools our Recreation Therapist may consider and why, click here

Length of Session: 1 hour

Duration: follows length of the season (ie. Winter is 11 weeks in length)

Cost: $50 per session

Cost of semi-private: $40 per session each participant


Upcoming Private EAL


Group EAL

Purpose: Goals are determined based on the unique characteristics of each group. See descriptions of upcoming courses listed below.

Group Size: Ranging from 4-12 participants

EAL Team: 2 facilitators and multiple horses assisting in the experiential learning process

Length of Session: 1.5 hours

Duration of program: group specific, ranging from 4-12 weeks

Cost: $35 per session


Upcoming Group EAL

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Pop-Up EAL

Purpose: To gather a group of a specific population for an individually occurring session. Often these sessions will have repeat offerings in the future.

Goals of sessions are specifically chosen based on the population. See full descriptions of upcoming offerings below.

Group Size: Ranging from 4-12 participants

EAL Team: 2 facilitators and multiple horses assisting in the experiential learning process

Length of Session: 2 hours, includes snacks

Cost: $40 per session


Upcoming Pop-Up EAL

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We run our programs seasonal blocks; winter, spring, summer and fall. This allows us to slightly adjust our schedules and allow those on the waiting list an opportunity to start when spots open up.

Season length is dependent on the season which tends to be anywhere from 9 to 15 weeks long. We ask participants commit to a full season, unless otherwise specified in the program details.

Winter 2024 = Start Date: January 8  End Date: March 23  Total Duration: 11 weeks

Spring 2024 = Start Date: April 1  End Date: June22 Total Duration: 12 weeks

Summer 2024 = Start Date: July 2  End Date: August 30 Total Duration: 9 weeks

Fall 2024 = Start Date: September 9  End Date: December 21 Total Duration: 15 weeks

To Register:

  • Call: 519-986-1247
  • Email: program@hopehavencentre.org
  • Note, this is not a billable service under extended mental health benefits as it is not facilitated by a mental health professional, nor is it deemed a clinical treatment.


545747 Sideroad 4A, RR #2
Markdale, ON N0C 1H0

(t) 519-986-1247


Located on Sideroad 4a between
7th Line and 9th Line.

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Benoit Dube - Executive Director

Kim Reain - Development Officer

Robyn Allen - Program Manager & Physiotherapist

Michelle Lemire - Volunteer Coordinator

Emma Houser - Program Administrator & Instructor (PATH Int. CTRI, EC Instructor of Beginners)

Danielle Rose - Equine Manager & Instructor (PATH Int. CTRI, EC Competition Coach)

Gillian MacNeill - Instructor (CanTRA CTRII, PATH Int. CTRI)

Shannon Speer - Recreational Therapist & Equine Assisted Personal Development Coach

Gretel Stanish - Instructor (Path Int. CTRI, EAPDC)