Q&A with Lisa Loewen, LL Equine

Prince George, British Colombia

The motto of LL Equine, a therapeutic horse facility in British Colombia, Canada is, "Where horse skills become life skills."  The organization offers Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW), a type of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) where horses are partnered with people to facilitate a journey of personal healing and self discovery.  "Equine Facilitated Wellness is an alternative to traditional counseling modalities such as sitting in a room or in an office. With EFW, you are engaging directly with nature and are able to work within your comfort level," they write.  LL Equine founder, Lisa Loewen joined the FBEN in 2015 and took some time to introduce herself and her work. 

I grew up on a farm in Northern Alberta Canada where we had thousands of acres of farmland in grain, mostly wheat and canola. We were able to have a huge garden and it was common to help neighbours with harvest not only of the crops but of the gardens as well. Everyone had 100 zucchini to give away. Understanding where my food came from and how the world was fed enabled me to feel more connected to my world. I remember many times where I rode my horse out to a field where my Dad was combining and was able to scoop a handful of wheat out of the hopper and chew it into gum. I loved the smell of the chaff, the wind in my hair and then running back to the farm on my horse. We were close to all our farm animals. I rode my 4-H calf he was so tame and we had herds of farm cats!

I learned the therapeutic value of being connected to nature and sources of life from growing up on the farm as well through studying the Biophilia Theory in my studies of psychology, Horticultural Therapy and Animal Assisted Therapy. I linked this idea with working with horses. Equine Facilitated Wellness has been around for many years and is becoming a strong and effective alternative to traditional counselling. What I offer my clients is an opportunity to reconnect with the land, with animals (horses) and through this process they become more grounded and connected to self. I am a therapist, educator, riding instructor, artist, facilitator, mother and gardener. Each one of these roles is intimately linked with nature.

I hope to see farm based education blossom throughout the world as I feel knowledge and understanding of what sustains us and helps us grow creates a healthier person and planet.

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Shelburne Farms is the coordinating organization for the Farm-Based Education Network 

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