If you’re a horse person, you’re probably aware that change is afoot. From equine facilitated wellness facilities popping up all over the place, to positive reinforcement and liberty training finding a venue and a voice, to barefoot horses, to treeless saddles, to a booming herbal supplement industry, to trauma-informed horsemanship, to paddock paradises and bitless bridles, and horse lovers worldwide releasing the bladder meridian on their horses, there is a shift in the works. For many, our way of seeing horses is changing, evolving, and we are opening our eyes to how we may have learned early on to harm horses, the animals we love, inadvertently and unconsciously. As a horse crazy young girl, I learned to ride horses using what I now refer to as “Get-it-done” horsemanship. I was terrified of my instructor and, looking back, that fear caused me to push myself and my horse into dangerous places, and to inflict harm on horses to avoid being harmed myself. Riding was not about fun, connection or relationship but rather, meeting a goal and performing.

After many conversations with horse people, I have come to realized that I was not alone, that this way of forcing change and performance in horses was and, in many cases, is, the norm. As an adult, I found natural horsemanship, and was certain that I’d hit upon pay dirt. At a similar time, I met my mare Diva, my first horse, and she was the unlucky recipient of several years of carrot sticks, seven games, and often-harsh training arising from my learned belief in hierarchy and dominance. Thankfully, at around the same time I began my career as an Equine Sport Therapist and my emotional and spiritual journey with horses, which progressively grew my ability to listen to horses, to see them as complex emotional and spiritual beings, and to dismantle my dysfunctional patterns, beliefs, and conditioning about them. 

When I look back over my past with horses, a few things happen, and I hear similar things from so many horse people. Inevitably, there is the guilt about the mistakes I made and the potential harm I may have caused. Flooding horses with too much, too soon, boarding in environments that caused long-term stress and even trauma, training in scenarios and with instructors who felt unsafe, not listening to my horse’s feedback and my own intuition and pushing through with my own agenda or what I thought was expected of me, not speaking up and advocating for my horse’s safety and comfort. I could go on. After the guilt and shame finally release, the sadness rises, the “I wish I knew better then” and then the frustration “why was I taught in this way”,  then the acceptance and self-forgiveness “I didn’t know what I know now” and then finally, eventually, and most importantly, the commitment, “I will learn and listen, and I will do better”

This challenging process is why I am here, in a much healthier, more connected partnership with Diva 17 years later, despite all the ways I have failed and all the mistakes I have made, and now starting a new relationship with my mare Raven. I hope, this is part of why you are here too. We are at a point as horse lovers, stewards, riders, where the information we have been waiting for to make substantial change is here and available, where the possibility for a healthier connection with our horses, for re-writing this “love” story, is a reality. 

There is an opportunity to make reparations, and to build a new way of being with horses, from a stronger foundation based on systems that work for all, that are healing and not harmful, that begin to topple some of the unhealthy structures and systems that are underpinning much of what we have come to believe about horses and training. 

I fully believe that when we know better, we can do better. And through our own work, actions, and curiousity, we show other horse people a better way forward as well.

This six months is a dedication to the horses in your world, past, present and future. It is an invitation to unpack where you have been, what you’ve done, and what you have believed, and an opportunity to move into the future with the tools, skills and understandings to experience the connected freedom and loving relationship with horses you’ve always envisioned. This is a process and a practice, and annoyingly, there is no finish line, no end point to this work. It continues well beyond our time together, and over this six months I hope to instill a curiousity and a sense of joy in the discovery and the journey of this relationship, and a release of the need for a finite ending, so that even after we complete our time together, the skills, resources, and understandings shared will support the growth of your equine relationship well into the future. 

There are so many of us courageously walking this edge and doing working to advocate for the wellbeing of horses around the world, starting with the ones in our own backyard. Many of us feel alone in this process, rebels in our individual horse communities, but the online space provides a venue for us to connect, build community and continue our learning into this hopeful and exciting future. Together, anything is possible. I look forward to the possibility of spending this 6 months with you and your horse. We begin September 15th.

Read on to learn more about the details of our time together.

alexa_9999_540 - Copyxo Alexa and Diva

 

For any horse lovers out there looking to expand their knowledge, or open doors to career opportunities in an equine field but unsure where to get started, check this out!! Alexa is an amazing teacher, equine sport therapist, horse owner and is involved with a fantastic community of professionals you’ll want to know and learn from. 

 

Kayla


Do you ever find yourself wondering…

  • if your horse is as healthy and vital as they could be?
  • if your horse is receiving the nutrients and supplements they need to feel their best?
  • if your saddle is fitting, hooves are balanced and your horse is comfortable and pain-free?
  • if you are as balanced, centred and strong as possible in the saddle both physically and emotionally?
  • if your horse sees you as a safe and trustworthy partner?
  • if your horse is happy in their current environment and with their current work?
  • how you and your horse can feel more safe, comfortable and relaxed?
  • why your horse is in your life and what they might have to teach you?
  • why you are being challenged by your horse and how to move through it?
  • what the more “spiritual” nature of your relationship is, and how to find out?

If you answered yes to a good number of the questions above, it would seem you’re in the right place! 

I’d love to invite you to join me for the Whole Horse Apprenticeship, an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in an exploration of all of the aspects of the horse-human relationship with a small group of dedicated horse women just like you.

How does it work?


The Whole Horse Apprenticeship happens (almost) entirely online! After my experience running the course online for the past three years, I realized that it is not only possible but deeply connecting (despite the distance) and a great way to bring horse people around the world together.

Here’s the almost – There will be an optional 3-day retreat with a equine body work focus with Equine Sport Therapist Breanne Ellison for all participants in the Apprenticeship here at Firefly Farm in the Cowichan Valley (not included in the price of the Apprenticeship). This allows participants to get hands on with the herd at the farm.

Other than this retreat (which is optional), the entire course content will be fully accessible online:

  • 4 1.5 month modules covering the “whole” horse – physical, energetic, emotional and spiritual 
  • 4 skill-building plus Q&A calls with Alexa (60 minutes, one per module)
  • 4 live webinars with guest instructors from around the world, handpicked by Alexa for the relevancy of their work to the growing and ever-changing field of equine partnership (60 minutes, one per module)
  • Over 25 content-rich webinars from guest instructors covering a wide range of pertinent topics related to equine and rider well-being, training, relationship and more (pre-recorded, 30-60 min). 
  • 6 months of curated weekly emails bringing you digestible portions of skill-building resources to thoughtfully reset your horse relationship and build strong and healthy foundations for growth and development. 
  • Access to 4 online courses created by Alexa, including Redefining Equine, Kinetic Communication (Applied Kinesiology for Animal Lovers), Fun-ctional Equine Anatomy for Horse Lovers, and Building your Equine Apothecary, plus a 12 session online functional rider training program. 
  • A course workbook (PDF) outlining the four modules: physical, energetic, emotional and spiritual, with barn worthy printable charts and tools, techniques and information to weave into your equine relationship, plus PDF copies of Death Sucks: A Straight-Up Guide to Navigating your Pet’s Final Transition and the Best Hoof Forward Ebook. 
  • A 30 minute one-on-one session with Alexa (value $95)
  • A vibrant Mighty Networks Community connecting participants from all over the world, and providing access to experienced and inspiring horse people (and possibly new friends), resources, relevant and fascinating content and more.

In working together I have three visions…

#1: a healthy, content horse who is happier in their environment, in their job, and in their connection to you, and is open to expressing their needs through healthy and clear communication.

#2: a relaxed, effective, compassionate human who has the tools, presence, awareness and understanding to work effectively with whatever comes up in the moment, and to embrace the journey (because relating to horses is a journey!), no matter what it brings.

#3: a communication-rich, loving relationship. One in which both your horse and you feel able to express, to grow and to open up into your potential in the saddle, on the ground and in the world.

The Whole Horse Apprenticeship was a fantastic 8 month journey and completely exceeded my expectations in every possible way. The well structured program had a wealth of excellent content to learn from and with so many topics covered throughout the course, it was great to be able to pick and choose areas of focus to fit with my particular equestrian interests. The guest instructors were so generous in sharing their expertise adding even more goodness to this already brilliant course. Alexa is an exceptionally talented and intuitive mentor whom I felt so privileged to have the opportunity to learn from and I look forward to continuing my learning journey through her trainings in the coming months.

Avril

 

This Apprenticeship is a great fit for you if…


  • your relationship with your horse(s) is one of the most important in your life.
  • you are fascinated by this partnership. It’s a source of deep joy and fulfillment and sometimes, frustration, grief, and confusion.
  • you often feel like an outsider in your horse community, perhaps judged or criticized for doing things differently with your horse, and you crave a community who gets it.
  • you are on a seemingly constant search for understanding about why you are drawn to horses in the first place and why you found yourself in relationship with a particular one. You’re constantly wondering about how to be a better and more helpful horse person.
  • You are ready to heal your relationship with horses, dismantle old beliefs, structures, and conditioning, and learn a healthier way of relating. 
  • you get the concept of heart horse and horses as medicine and are excited to learn more.
  • you would love to experience a more relaxed and connected relationship with your horse
  • you are drawn to all things spiritual and connecting, you love exploring your woo-woo side!

 

 

I’ve called this the Whole Horse Apprenticeship for a few very important reasons.


max_9999_26After twelve fascinating and sometimes frustrating years with my mare Diva, I have realized that there are several, often overlooked, components of the horse-human relationship that are essential to its success.

The first component is our understanding of relationships as a whole.

When we initially arrive at the front door of our obsession with horses, we really have no clue what we’re in for, as is the case with all of our relationships. There is an expectation of perfection often and thankfully paired with a deep love and longing that we don’t really understand, but, that keeps us engaged long after our dream of having the perfect horse has fallen away.

Very often in relationship, we long to be completed, for something or someone to make up for our perceived failings. In such a relationship, disappointment is unavoidable and resentment is guaranteed – we are always keeping score. Wholeness is the experience in relationship where both parties come to the relationship knowing themselves – there is nothing to complete. This is our aim with our time together – to move yourself, your horse and your relationship with each other towards this experience of wholeness and interdependence, rather than co-dependence.

What does this look like on the practical level?

A healthy, content horse, a relaxed, effective rider, a communication-rich, loving relationship. More connection than you can even imagine in this moment.


The second component, is the understanding that everything is connected, and the exploration of how.

We begin to understand how everything works together as a whole and how it can work even better. Throughout our time together we’ll be addressing the inter-connection between…

  • the structural system of ourselves and our horses (bones, muscles, fascia) and how to work effectively with these components to promote circulation, range of movement and comfort.
  • the unique and connected internal systems that determine the well-being of our horses and ourselves and how to easily discover and correct imbalances and maintain harmony.
  • the cycles of the elements and the meridians, and how they relate to each other, the physical system and to overall well-being.
  • the chakra systems of the body and the areas that the harmony of each individual chakra affects, including endocrine glands, emotional well-being, depth of connection and energy levels.  
  • your horse and you, and the many undiscovered and awe-inspiring levels of this relationship.

And the final component of wholeness is support and collaboration – and in this immersion you will have it in spades. Including more than 24 of my mentors, colleagues and friends as guest instructors helping to make this experience one of a kind…

 

It takes a village…


I am bringing together twenty four of my mentors, esteemed colleagues and dear friends to share their understanding and wisdom.

They’ll be sharing online via both pre-recorded and live webinar about equine health and well-being, rider awareness, hoof care, saddle fit, body work techniques, aromatherapy, vibrational remedies, 5 element theory, conscious and relational horsemanship, trauma-informed horsemanship, equine behaviour, animal communication, meditation, heart connection, grief work, and much more. These amazing teachers will be joining us on pre-recorded/live webinars throughout our 8 months together (all will be available via replay). I will be releasing much more about each of them and what they will be sharing as we come closer to our time together.

It’ll look a little like this…

  • 20 pre-recorded webinars (60min) with Guest Experts from around the world made available to you throughout the modules. Watch the sample webinar with Lily Fawn sharing her recipe for the a healing salve for horses and riders above to get an idea of the format
  • 4 live webinars (60min) with Guest Experts (one per module) – including Hannah Weston, author and founder of Connection Training, Equine Researcher Emily Kieson and more!
  • 4 live webinars (60min) with Alexa (introducing and mapping out each of the four modules)
  • 12 rider specific body autonomy workouts with strength and conditioning coach Garrett Seibel

Pre-recorded Webinars with: 

 

Webinar with Lily Fawn

 

 

Alexa is a very knowledgeable, honest, positive person, with so much knowledge everybody needs to know and understand to take proper care of their animals. It seems to be all about horses, but in reality it is all about us as well. She always goes the extra mile to make sure everybody is taken care of and happy. I learned so much in her course and being more independent from a vet is very important when you live a bit secluded, so being able to help your animals right away is pretty big. A course I would recommend to any animal lover and owner!

Petra

I absolutely loved my time in the apprenticeship. I will definitely be following along next year. The amount of resources we got we’re amazing, way more then I expected. I really enjoy all the experts that are brought forth to share. I loved that embedded in each week there were many different pieces of information and topics covered. This made it great when one of the subjects wasn’t of interest or something that I wasn’t ready to dive into, there were still other topics to learn about that week. (Hopefully that makes sense) I especially LOVED how many different herbs we focused on. The FB group was a great idea and awesome to see other people’s thoughts.

Brittany

Here’s a recap of what’s included in the Whole Horse Apprenticeship (online)…

  • 4 – 1.5 month modules covering the “whole” horse – physical, energetic, emotional and spiritual 
  • 4 skill-building plus Q&A calls with Alexa (60 minutes, one per module)
  • 4 live webinars with guest instructors from around the world, handpicked by Alexa for the relevancy of their work to the growing and ever-changing field of equine partnership (60 minutes, one per module)
  • Over 25 content-rich webinars from guest instructors covering a wide range of pertinent topics related to equine and rider well-being, training, relationship and more (pre-recorded, 30-60 min). 
  • 6 months of curated weekly emails bringing you digestible portions of skill-building resources to thoughtfully reset your horse relationship and build strong and healthy foundations for growth and development. 
  • Access to 4 online courses created by Alexa, including Redefining Equine, Kinetic Communication (Applied Kinesiology for Animal Lovers), Fun-ctional Equine Anatomy for Horse Lovers, and Building your Equine Apothecary, plus a 12 sessions online functional rider training program. 
  • A course workbook (PDF) outlining the four modules: physical, energetic, emotional and spiritual, with barn worthy printable charts and tools, techniques and information to weave into your equine relationship, plus PDF copies of Death Sucks: A Straight-Up Guide to Navigating your Pet’s Final Transition and the Best Hoof Forward Ebook. 
  • A 30 minute one-on-one session with Alexa (value $95)
  • A vibrant Mighty Networks Community connecting participants from all over the world, and providing access to experienced and inspiring horse people (and possibly new friends), resources, relevant and fascinating content and more.

Does this feel like a fit for you?

I would love to spend the next six months with you and your horse, as we explore the edges of our understanding and knowledge and what it means to show up fully for the horses in your world. Accessibility is important to me, and my passion is helping horses worldwide (and this course has proven to do that) which is why I have tried to keep your investment as affordable as possible. I also offer payment plans – more details on the payment page.

Sign up here

A few other essential things…


  • You’ll have the opportunity to join in for a 3-day hands-on body work and energy work focused retreat here at Firefly Farm (exclusive to Apprenticeship participants) facilitated by Alexa and Equine Sport Therapist Breanne Ellison. The dates and pricing for this retreat (not included in the cost of the Apprenticeship) will be posted after we begin and will be dependant on Covid-restrictions.
  • As a bonus during our time together, you will have the opportunity to partake in several additional and related workshops at Firefly Farm in the Cowichan Valley with esteemed colleagues for a reduced Apprenticeship rate.
  • My intention is to make this course as accessible as possible – meaning I am open to creative payment options and strategies. A creative payment strategy was exactly how I managed to pay my way through Equine Therapy School and I want to pass that kindness forward.
  • If you sign up and then it realize it is not a fit, I offer a full refund up until 4 weeks before we begin. After that until the course start date, I can refund everything but a $100 service charge. Once we begin, you’re committed barring unforseen circumstances.

 

A few more things…


  1. Our Mighty Networks online community will be inclusive of the WHA groups from previous years.
  2. Participants will have unlimited email access to Alexa throughout our 6 months together (or if you live close-by you can come by for tea) for questions.
  3. You will have access to the course material for 12 months and can join us again for a nominal fee ($100 CDN) if you would like to retake the program with another cohort.

 

Questions?

4 + 9 =

F.A.Q’s

Do I need a horse to participate? 

No, happily you don’t. Any one who loves horses and wants to build their connection with them can participate, whether you’re just starting down the path or you’re a seasoned expert. Everyone will learn and grow.

Is there any in-person events?

Yes! Equine Sport Therapist Breanne Ellison and I will be facilitating a 3-day optional Apprenticeship retreat focusing on manual techniques and energy work for horses here at beautiful Firefly Farm in the Cowichan Valley (on Vancouver Island in Canada). Dates, pricing, and details will be made available at the program start.

When do I pay by and what about refunds? 

Great question. In order to run this program viably I need at least 10 people registered and committed with deposits paid by August 15, 2020. When it comes to refunds, here’s how it works. If, for some reason, you need to back out between August 15th and our September 15th start date, you will receive all but $100 of your payment back including deposit (I do this because I will have purchased necessary products at this point). Before August 15th you’ll receive a full refund. Once the course begins on September 15th, no refunds are possible (barring emergency).