Carla Dickhaut -
Equine Assisted Healing
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.
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
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
other types of problematic
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
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
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
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
Which Equine Assisted Healing Program is Right for You?