La Poderosa Family Workshops

We call this program La Poderosa Family Workshop in honour of one of our mares who is now deceased but was such an important member of our equine family.  She is missed and we have very fond memories of her.

This program is a family support workshop intended to foster healthy relationships between siblings or parent and child.

It addresses the dynamics in the family system and how interpersonal issues affect relationships.  While the family works with a horse they are exploring and learning ways to increase communication and conflict resolution skills. The client experiences his or her real role in the family system and the parent is made aware of ways to rebuild trust.  The process of  interaction with horses enables the family  members to practice and build on their individual strengths, learn patience, and increase healthy functioning in a family systems.

Dealing with horses helps both adults and children to cope with stress and become more loyal, honest and supportive of one another by learning:

o Helpful ways to keep their cool

o Techniques to function under duress

o Ways to strengthen their family relationships

o Reduce anxiety and guilt

o Become better listeners

o Develop skills to help deal with conflict

o Develop emotional control

o Become more self-assured


Horses are masters at reading non-verbal cues, body language and emotions. If a family member comes to a program resistant, or minimally responsive, flaunting the lingo they think a therapist wants to hear, the horse will know it and not respond.  The horse has no motives and sense the incongruity the person is displaying.   The horse provides the feedback and is a very good indicator of what a family need to work on to build healthy family relationships. Each family member learns to identify healthy and unhealthy behaviours in themselves, and about the natural consequences of their actions in the family mix.  The equine teaches the members that you are part of a team that they need to  pull together, join forces and support each other.



Much can be learned from simply observing horse behaviour.  Horses can be obstinate, playful or moody. They have a variety of "herd dynamics" such as pushing, kicking, biting, squealing, grooming one another, and grazing together.  In the process of observing and describing the horse and the interactions between the horses, the family can learn about themselves and their own family dynamics.  New moms can observe how a mare cares for a foul and learn positive parenting skills and become aware of ways to strengthen their own relationship with their children.   During sessions sometimes members of the family simply participate by being present while another family member grooms and feeds the horse.  Other times they work as a group or in pairs, as determined by the treatment strategy. 

The La Poderosa Family Workshop Program  can be structured to help families in crisis, or facing difficult decisions.   Working with equine helps the family resolve issues and strengthen their bonds, especially in situations where trust needs to be re-established.  Even those members of a family that exhibited aggressive or non-responsive behaviour toward other family members can become calmer and more communicative around horses. 

The La Poderosa Family Tree Family Workshop Program ties in very closely with Circle of Courage philosophy as our program embraces the values of belonging, mastery,  independence, and generosity. We’ve designed the program to show the family that, like the herd dynamics of the equine, the family must have shared values that coincide with any community to create a vibrant family environment, that children have a role and parents have a role, and with mutual respect for the core values, the family unit not only survives but thrives.


Other Equine Assisted Healing Programs

Professional Development and Team Building Programs


Helping People to Develop New Behavior

 Pathways to Overcome Challenges

Copyright © 2011 Spirit of Eight Inc.