Bringing together Equine Facilitated Wellness and Equine Assisted Learning

Poppy’s Haven is a family-run farm dedicated to the preservation and protection of the Newfoundland Pony and home to Haven’s Equine Partnerships in Wellness & Learning (HEPWL). We practice natural horsemanship where we recognize equines as sentient beings, as our co-facilitators in equine facilitated wellness and learning.

Equine Facilitated Wellness and Learning

Poppy’s Haven provides equine facilitated wellness and learning programs with an opportunity to connect to nature, in service to our community.

Newfoundland Ponies

Our farm is home to some very special Newfoundland Ponies. We act as stewards by caring and being responsible for the long-term mental, emotional and physical health of the Newfoundland Ponies that have been entrusted to our care.

Our program is unique in that we bring together elements of both Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL).

Why Horses?

Horses are used for wellness and assisted learning programs for a variety reasons including the following:

They are sentient beings

Horses are sentient beings, meaning they have the capacity to experience emotion, form attachments and have distinct personalities.

They offer a safe environment

Horses offer a safe environment. They do not judge. They provide honest, non-judgmental feedback that makes them exceptional teachers.

They are herd animals

Horses are herd animals. Their survival in the wild depends on the herd. Each horse has their own role within the herd, teaching us about teamwork.

They constantly communicate

Horses constantly communicate through their body language. Being around horses motivates us to be aware of our own communication patterns, and to better understand the communication patterns of others.

They are prey animals

Horses are prey animals (as opposed to predators). This causes to them to be naturally sensitive to their surroundings. They live in the present moment and react to stimulus provided by the participants, providing instant feedback. Their immediate feedback encourages us to be present and intentional, and to develop self- and co-regulation skills.

They seek a confident leader

Horses seek a confident leader. A trusted leader is critical to the herd’s survival, teaching us about our own leadership potential and to have confidence in ourselves.

In Gratitude

We are indebted to our photographer Robert Alexander, who has most graciously provided all our photographs on the website at no cost to help and promote the critically endangered Newfoundland Pony