CENTRE WELLINGTON – A one-day equine assisted learning (EAL) workshop is bringing girls and horses together for friendship and personal development at the LM Equestrian Center in Belwood on March 3.
“The Girls Day – For Girls, By Girls” event is a full day of activities aimed at girls aged 12 to 17.
The morning includes EAL exercises designed to focus on self-esteem, mental health and body positivity.
Leanne Matthews, a certified EAL practitioner behind the event, explains EAL programs are designed for groups of people who work together, alongside their equine companion, to navigate obstacles with the goal of empowering participants in areas such as problem solving, negotiation, boundaries and trust building.
“One of my focuses is on youth,” Matthews said.
She explained EAL is a hands-on and practical approach to learning that brings people and horses together to develop and learn life skills such as communication, leadership, self-confidence and teamwork.
It also allows the individual to experience self-growth.
“It’s a way of experiencing life skills and growing on them using just groundwork with a horse,” said Matthews.
“So, no riding component is involved and absolutely no horse experience is needed.”
Matthews said participants don’t need any equestrian gear to take part, just a safe pair of shoes or boots.
A small group setting like the The Girls Day – For Girls, By Girls, is an ideal experience for showing the effectiveness of EAL, she added.
“EAL allows us to gain confidence in a safe and inclusive environment with like minded people,” said Matthews.
“Horses are capable of teaching us more about ourselves than any human interaction ever could. By understanding ourselves more, we are able to truly see our strengths and grow to love ourselves because of them.”
When it comes to a serious issue like body positivity, EAL shows participants a deeper understanding of themselves.
“Horses do not judge us based on our appearance, they judge us solely based on our actions and intentions. This pure reaction is what helps us realize that we are more than just the way we look,” Matthews said.
The afternoon workshop includes activities and a surprise guest speaker.
A free lunch is also included.
Matthews hopes the event will inspire young girls to participate and learn something about themselves, in a positive, supportive way.
The Girls Day – For Girls, By Girls takes place on March 3, from 9am to 4pm, at the LM Equestrian Center, at 7026 East-West Garafraxa Townline, northwest of Belwood.
The cost is $45 plus HST, but for participants who bring a friend, there is a discount of $5.
Spaces are limited. Participants must reserve a spot by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit lmequestriancenter.ca or contact LM.EquestrianCenter@gmail.com or via Facebook @LMEquestrianCenter.