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Equine Encounters Welcomes You !


About Equine Encounters

Our Story

With their combined decades of working in a variety of mental health & educational settings, Claudine Drefs, Registered Nurse and University Educator & Linda Harrison-Fabing, Registered Psychiatric Nurse, bring forth their vision; 

To provide the opportunity for people to experience the transformative growth & change that is possible through connection with horses.

As certified Equine Assisted Learning & Development Coaches, with EAL Canada, they offer individual coaching sessions as well as group programs. Whether you want to find some peace & decompress in the mindful presence of horses, gain personal insight, or move forward in life, Equine Encounters will assist you in your journey. 



  • What is Equine Assisted Learning? Equine-assisted learning (EAL) is a facilitator-guided, experiential learning approach that promotes the development of life skills for personal, educational, or professional growth through the engagement of the person, or group of people, in activities with equine partners. The process includes engagement, reflection, processing & generalization of what has occurred. In more general terms, the horse & person connect through use of a variety of activities or situations as set up by the facilitator. Thoughts, feelings, behavior patterns, areas that need addressing, etc are identified by the facilitator & participant as the participant & horse connect. Horses have the innate ability to sense our moods, stress levels, hesitations, patience or impatience, weaknesses, hurts, anxieties, joys etc. Because horses are highly social animals & are able to communicate emotions & feel empathy, people are able to relate to them. They provide immediate feedback through their body language as to what they are sensing.  It is through the watchful eye of the trained facilitator that these areas can be brought to light for the participant to become aware of & address.

  • What can EAL help with? Stress-reduction techniques, problem identification & solving, mindfulness, self-esteem, confidence, leadership, group dynamics, relationships, communication, mind-body connection, grief, patience, trust, grounding, connection, emotional regulation, boundaries & coping, plus much more. 

  • Who can EAL benefit? People of all ages and stages & all walks of life. EAL is for everyone! 

  • Do you have to know how to ride a horse? No. All activities are ground-based.

  • Do you have to have experience with horses? Absolutely not! That’s why each session is designed and facilitated by an EAL Canada coach.

  • Is there evidence that this works? Yes! Please refer to the articles attached for some fascinating & enlightening studies & personal accounts:

-Horses, Mindfulness and the Natural Environment: Observations from a Qualitative Study with At-Risk Young People Participating in Therapeutic Horsemanship

-Does Equine Assisted Learning Create Emotionally Safe Learning Environments for At-Risk Youth?

Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies for Veterans With Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Current State, Challenges and Future Directions

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Equine Assisted Learning & Personal Development Coaching

We provide personal development coaching & special events for individuals & groups of all ages. Contact us for more information or to schedule a meet & greet with our team.

*NEW* We are now offering an 8-week grief recovery method, an action & evidence-based program that helps people move through the pain of loss. Contact us for more info:


Summer and Fall 2023 Program Schedule!
** All programs running out of the Whitemud Equine Learning Centre,
12504 Fox Drive, Edmonton Alberta**

"There's somethings about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man"
-Winston Churchill

Junior Trail Seekers!

Kids Ages 8-12yrs 

SPRING: Saturdays 3:00-4:30 pm, May 27th-June 24th

SUMMER: One full week Mon-Fri 6:00-7:30 pm,  July 17th-21st

A 5-week program designed for kids to help build confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, communication and social skills while making connections with, and learning about, horses! Each session 1.5 hrs. Cost: $395

Taming Anxiety

Youth ages: 13-17yrs

Fall: Saturdays 12:30-2:00 pm, Sept 9th-Oct 21st, 2023 (no group Oct 7th)

A 6-week program designed specifically for youth who struggle with anxiety and worry. Participants will learn & practice skills to better manage anxiety and emotions, build confidence and enhance overall well-being and resilience through facilitated interactions with our horses.

Each session is 1.5hrs.  

Cost: $415

Trail of the Heart

 Adults of all ages

Fall: Fridays 6-7:30pm Sept 8th-Oct 21st, 2023

A 6-week program for adults who desire clarity and change in their lives.

Each session is 1.5 hours in length and includes self-reflection, connection, and guided interaction with our horses.

(All activities are ground based. No experience with horses necessary)

How we navigate through life, and the paths we take, involve choices each of us must make for ourselves. Personal growth & empowerment are attainable when we take the reins of our own journey.

Trail of the Heart is a program for self-discovery and building resiliency through identifying your own unique strengths and values.

Cost: $485

**Each session is unique, and so groups can be attended several times with different learning and insights gained each time!**


Your own dedicated time with an equine partner and facilitator looking at whatever is identified as a priority to you...dealing with anxiety, feeling unsettled and overwhelmed, stress, grief, burnout, past events, coping strategies, building confidence,  mindfulness, how to move forward, building on personal strengths etc.  A quiet, non-judgmental, kind and caring space to be still,  just a place to be... 

Cost: $90/session

Pre-pay for 3 sessions and pay $250


8-week Grief Recovery Method Program

Action & evidenced-based program to help you move through the pain of loss. Now offering individual sessions. Group program coming soon. 


Stop in Meet & Greet!

Sunday May 28th 2:00-4:00pm

Come and meet the Equine Encounters team! Claudine, Linda and some of our equine partners. Say hello, ask questions and see what we're up to!

Cost: **Free!**  Enter to a draw for a free 1:1 session!

Hearts, Minds & Manes...Women's Retreat

Sunday July 23rd 1:00-4:00pm

An afternoon just for you! A time to get inspired, relax & restore through ground-based (no riding) interactive activities with the horses in the heart of the river valley! No experience with horses necessary. 

Cost: $100

Second Annual Afternoon of Wellness!

Sunday August 27th 1:00-4:00pm

Last year was such a tremendous success, and after many requests, we decided to hold another Afternoon of Wellness! Take some time for yourself before the hustle and bustle of the fall! Set aside some restorative time to surround yourself in a serene setting with our horses, and decompress while enjoying a warm beverage & freshly-baked treats. Come engage in a unique guided experience of connection and interaction with our equine partners. You'll also have the opportunity to create a take home keepsake. 

Ages: 18- 100+yrs Cost: $100

Contact us for more details & to secure a spot in any of our programs or events!



All Programs running out of: Whitemud Equine Learning Centre. 12504 Fox Dr NW, Edmonton, AB

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Special Event Ideas

- Painting with Ponies
- Wellness Day
- Parent & Child Connection Session
- Date Night / Afternoon Connection Session
- Ladies Night / Afternoon with Friends
- Family Night
- Work Team Building Session

...the options are endless...


Questions about the services we provide or have an idea for a group? Feel free to email us today!

Thanks for submitting!

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