Equine Experiential Education

Unique one on one and group sessions designed to give youth, ages 11-17 yrs old, a chance to explore their greatest strengths and learn the importance of trust and respect while working with others, all under the supervision of our safe, gentle, experienced, wise and intuitive teachers, the horses.

Developing self acceptance and confidence leads to more healthy connections. 

Learning Life Skills

During their time in class students will gain skills in:
  • Self confidence and self-esteem
  • Importance of trust and respect
  • Effective Communication/Listening and Greater Awareness
  • Problem Solving and Resilience
  • Setting clear intentions and boundaries
  • Asking questions and taking initiative 
  • Understanding individual personalities and perspectives
This is done through a series of controlled, safe and creative practices with the horses including basic grooming, leading and groundwork activities.

A unique, enlightening and educational experience!

Six Week Program


June 9th and July 21, 2022

Healing Hearts Ranch Olympia, WA

Our  6 week program  highlights….

  • Week One:  Getting to Know You-introduction to horses and facility; safety and handling of horses emphasizing greater awareness and boundaries
  • Week Two: Individuality and Unique Perspectives-understanding the unique qualities of horse and human with their individual strengths and challenges while gaining greater appreciation for yourself.
  • Week Three: Communication and Connection-understanding the importance of  listening, while expressing yourself appropriately and seeing each individual’s point of view.
  • Week Four: Rhythms and Regularity of Life-learning to accept the challenges and joys of life as well as the importance of healthy habits and daily routines as part of  a full and happy life.
  • Week Five: Partnering with Others-learning to use clear communication, problem solving, taking charge and asking questions 
  • Week Six: Celebrating Success-the importance of  acknowledging achievement to gain confidence and greater meaning in everything you do


At the end of six weeks the youth can continue with weekly or every other week life lessons with the horses (on the ground).


Participants need to be healthy enough to stand and walk without assistance in an arena/pasture.

Meet One of  the Teachers

“Wave” 13 year old Arabian Gelding

Wave has been part of our family since 2013 when he arrived as a gift from a student who felt he was too much of a challenge. Once he matured, Wave showed what a brilliant teacher he is by staying true to his personality-bright, curious, energetic and encouraging students to grow in their assertiveness and confidence during life lessons. Thanks Wave!

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn How it Works!

Do I need experience with horses?

No. The workshops are not about horsemanship, training or riding. The horse is a facilitator for learning because of its unique characteristics (described below). You will have an experienced horse handler available to assist you at all times during the workshops.

Why do you use horses?
  • Horses are responsive beings with a strong awareness and sensitivity to their surroundings
  • Horses can accurately perceive a participant’s state of mind and quickly reflect this back to them
  • Horses provide immediate and honest feedback as to when participants have clear intention and when they do not
  • Horses have as many individual personalities, physical abilities and limitations as the people who work with them
  • Horses accept people for exactly who they are and what they present internally and externally IN THE MOMENT!
  • The ability to successfully communicate with the horse provides the means to learn better ways of communicating with others
What if I'm afraid of horses?

A safety demonstration is given before each session and the horses used in the workshops are trained to work safely around people,including our Shetland pony, Daisy. If at any time during the activities you feel unsafe or wish to observe only, you are encouraged to notify the staff for help in leaving the arena.

What should i wear to class?

Remember you are dressing to work with horses. Wear clothes that can get dirty and closed toed shoes with socks-no sandals, no exceptions.

WIll there be food served during group classes or leadership training?

Yes, lunch is available during GROUP CLASSES and LEADERSHIP TRAINING. We love good food and are lucky to live in an area where fresh farm produce is readily available. We have a trained chef that creates delicious food for all of our FULL DAY class participants. Snacks and beverages are available all day. Please let us know if you have any food allergies.

what about weather? What if i have allergies?

Programs are held year round. In the Northwest, summers are warm but sometimes rainy. You will spend time in a covered but unheated arena as well as outdoors in a pasture or roundpen. Dress appropriately for the weather. It is best to layer during all seasons. 

If you have known allergies, please consult your health care professional for recommendations. We keep a clean environment, but it is a farm with animals and plants.

What are SOME highlights of the experience?
  • Fun without fear as you meet new friends, both human and horse and learn to work as a team in your “herd”
  • Self discovery through immediate, honest, observable feedback from your teacher, the horse
  • Develop confidence, empowerment, compassion, independence and inner healing in a fun, non threatening environment
  • Improved communication, self esteem, empathy, tolerance for stress, problem solving skills, responsibility,  trust and improved interpersonal relationships
  • A chance to nurture your soul and find a greater connection to your natural self through the wisdom & intuition of the horse
Is E3 the same as therapy?

No it is not the same. Cathy is trained as an educator, coach and facilitator.  As a facilitator, her job is to keep the focus on the future, not the past, in the context of a learned skill, not an emotion or past event.  Participants are asked to focus on a social skill they learned, a personal insight, or a life skill that may lead to personal growth and making positive change in your every day life.

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy requires a trained mental health professional to be present and the work is done with his/her patients and the horses supervised by a trained horse professional.

What training has Cathy completed that qualifies her to facilitate E3 Classes?

Cathy has completed a certification training with the Equine Experiential Education Association(E3A) which is an international professional membership organization offering training, certification, business development and resources for the implementation of Equine Experiential Education (E3) programs by educators, coaches, professional development trainers and other facilitators.  Cathy is also a certified (International Coach Federation) professional coach.

How long are each of the activities with the horses?

The activities are 20 to 30 minutes followed by reflection with questions from your coach/facilitator and integration of the knowledge gained, into a plan to move forward in your life through positive change.

Do i need to be fit or athletic to participate in the class? Will I be riding a horse?

NO. There is no riding involved and any level of fitness is fine. If you can walk a half mile, you are fit enough to participate in the horse activities. If you have special needs and prefer not to walk, you can still be an active team participant. Anyone can enjoy learning from horses in this environment.

what if i have experience with horses?

Interestingly, people who love horses enjoy the classes because it gives them a chance to observe and learn from horses in a different environment. Our experiential teaching is not about horsemanship or riding; rather, you gain insights about yourself from horses, other participants and the facilitators. You get 360 feedback in real time!