Carla Dickhaut - Equine Assisted Healing

Carla’s Equine Assisted Healing Programs evolved through two passions,  her love for horses and for helping people.  Using her knowledge and understanding of the Aboriginal and Métis traditional ways, and the Totem animals Carla developed her program using horses as a means of guiding people to realize healthy change in their lives. 

Equine Assisted Healing is a recognized effective way for children, youth and adults to gain insight into behaviors and develop new coping skills.  It is through such a profound experiential relationship and bonding with a powerful animal  that individuals have an opportunity for gaining a sense of self and belonging as well as change and growth. 

Carla believes that the human brain has an opportunity for change both structurally and functionally as a result of learning and experience.  She feels strongly that how we teach, how people learn, the kind of environment we create for learning, and the strategies we use, are powerfully effective influences that can help people understand themselves better and in so doing provide them better tools or mental equipment that they can utilize to help themselves.

Our Equine Assisted Healing programs are designed to help people with depression, cognitive therapy, speech therapy, anger management, high emotional needs, family relationships, stress, behaviour modification, professional development, team building and other types of problematic developmental issues.

What Carla says about helping people to heal. 

"These beautiful animals are so intuitive and respond so positively to honesty that they are unquestionably one of the most constructive and enjoyable catalysts for helping people gain insight into themselves, learn to cope, and effect behavioural or developmental change."

“While some obstacles are larger or more complex than others and the time it takes to heal is a factor, I feel deeply that having a disability is not an excuse for failure.  I believe that with the right tools, a helping hand from someone who truly cares, patience, and openness, anything can be overcome.   Our horses help to accomplish this.” 



Imagine a child who is having difficulty connecting with other people, unable to communicate feelings, unable to concentrate or control emotions, the level of frustration evident in every gesture.  The child is fragile.

Now imagine that same child partnered with a 1200 pound animal, walking side by side around a coral or a pasture, being the leader in the coral, having the horse respond to this leadership role, the child’s focus on the horse, the horse's focus on pleasing the child, the child's hand extended, the horse eating from this little hand, the child being able to stoke the horses strong muscles.  Each of them responding to the other with affection, their mutual respect.

Startling contrast isn't it?   Understanding two things, first that horses are different and more gentle around children and second that the horse is honest, straight forward and does not judge, we can see profound things happen when the child accepts this relationship at face value.  The child’s focus becomes the horse and their mutual relationship.  There is no space or time in the relationship to be fixated on past or negative events and the horse accepts the child with absolute honesty and no manipulation which helps break the cycle of emotional pain the child may have endured in previous relationships. 

Horses allow us to connect with a living being, one that is not destined to hurt us emotionally because, no matter what the circumstances, they will not reject us.  Horses are loving thinking beings who don't judge and accept us unconditionally.  Therefore, dealing with a horse gives a child a really positive non-judgemental experience.

At Spirit of Eight horses play an integral role in our Equine Assisted Healing and as one observer noted, "The interaction between equine and participant is so  joyful, so touching, I was mesmerized."


More About Carla's Aboriginal Education

Read About Carla's Background as a Youth Worker

Carla and Her Horses

Which Equine Assisted Healing Program is Right for You?

Helping People to Develop New Behavior

 Pathways to Overcome Challenges

Copyright © 2011 Spirit of Eight Inc.