Harmony with Horses is owned and operated by Tricia Rudy, a Certified FEEL Facilitator, at her farm near Dutton, Ontario. Located about a half an hour southwest of London, 5 minutes off the 401 you will find a sanctuary where nature surrounds you with clean air, clean light; and country views all around. It is a place to get unplugged, be still, and remember who you are.
Harmony with Horses is an Experiential Learning Centre that offers Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL), but also provides an environment that nurtures your spirit. A place to leave behind your cell phones, social media, video and online games, sports and news feeds. Recharge your own batteries surrounded by pastures, forests, and all the healing gifts of nature. Facilities can be booked for day-excursions with or without FEEL sessions, for groups of up to 10 people. Bring your Yoga class, your Meditation group, your book club, church group or other spiritual or support group and spend the day communing with nature and your friends, alongside the Harmony Herd who call this place home.
ABOUT TRICIA RUDY
Tricia Rudy felt an affinity for horses as far back as she can remember. Horses filled her dreams, her stories and the walls of her childhood bedroom. She learned about horses from the ground up as a pre-teen by working in a barn in exchange for riding privileges. Her bond with horses took roots in hayfields, cornfields, orchards and country roads in the solitary company of a horse.
As a rebellious teenager, she left her family and the horses and stepped into the harsh reality of the “real world.” Quite unprepared, but resilient by nature, she remained self-supporting through the next 20+ years, earning her PhD in the School of Hard Knocks, but she struggled with what she really wanted to be “when she grew up.”
Then, during an especially dark period of her life, while mucking stalls in a barn full of old school horses, she found herself, quite literally: that young girl who was so at home in the company of horses and in that moment she knew that the horses had never left her.
Years later, when she read the Tao of Equus, by Linda Kohanov, she understood the miracle that had transpired in that barn and in that moment a seed was planted.
In 2009 she purchased Dogwood Farm, just outside of Beaverton, Ontario through an estate sale and started transforming it into her healing sanctuary and brought her first 2 horses home. In 2014 she graduated the FEEL program and returned to her growing herd of horses to start the beginning of the rest of her life. But life is not always smooth sailing, and as Tricia’s story continues, more unexpected hurdles were placed in her path and once more Tricia strove to overcome them. Days before the pandemic of Coronavirus was about to hit Canada, she sold Dogwood Farm in order to purchase a property with an indoor arena, more outbuildings and its own hayfield reducing overheads and to provide year-round accommodations to continue building her FEEL practice. In June of 2020 in the middle of a global pandemic, she moved her entire farm, 11 horses, 4 dogs and 2 cats 3 hours away to the new farm.
Today Tricia is living her passion working with her growing herd of horses, rebuilding Harmony with Horses, a not for profit Equine Experiential Learning Centre. She looks forward to offering private sessions, workshops, retreats, and works in conjunction with clinical therapists and other professionals to share the healing power of the herd.
Horses teach us to use our emotions as information, to receive the message the emotion has for us, respond appropriately and move past it and back into balance. Emotions are useful, and should not be minimized, stuffed down or denied. There is no “bad” emotion. They are all just “energy in motion.”
The basic principle of FEEL is that horses can teach us how to listen to the messages our bodies are sending us. Information from our heart brain and our gut brain is communicated through our emotions. If we are not acknowledging our emotions, our lives will be out of balance. Horses recognize that incongruence and mirror it back to us. By shining a light on where we are out of balance, they can lead us back to our authenticity. Horses help us get out of our heads, shift our focus from the past or the future and come back into the present moment, the now, and engage all of our senses. In other words, to become more horse-like in the way in which we move about our daily lives.
FEEL is based on a series of simple exercises done with a horse or horses, from the ground, in a safe and supportive way. The exercises are flexible by nature and can be adapted for many situations in order to facilitate the learning. No previous horse experience is necessary or required.
A Certified FEEL Facilitator guides the activity and supports the process and helps the client navigate the interactions between the horse and the client. They hold the space for the interaction, supporting the client through the process.
When coupled with a clinical therapist, these exercises can accelerate insight, create opportunities to experience shifts in perceptions, relieve anxiety, develop coping strategies and restore self esteem and self-acceptance. Intellectual concepts are grounded in the body through the physical experience of the exercises. New neuro pathways can be created.
When coupled with an educator, FEEL is an exciting and engaging way to teach people about their feelings, how to express them, effective communication – verbal and non-verbal – boundary setting, teamwork, coping strategies, and self-esteem and a lot more.
Because of its flexibility the method is malleable to suit different learning styles, objectives and intensities. We have only begun to see the immediate and lasting results of what the horses have to teach us.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Is there any horseback riding involved?
A. No. All horse activities are done from the ground in a safe and supported way. No previous horse experience is necessary.
Q. Any special clothing or equipment requirements?
A. We do ask that you wear closed-toed shoes. No sandals, flip-flops or soft soles. Wear clothing appropriate for the weather conditions. You will be spending the majority of time outside. If the weather is unpredictable, wear layers.
Q. What is the difference between Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Equine Assisted Therapy, and Equine Experiential Learning?
A. Equine Psychotherapy requires that the facilitator either is or works alongside a person who is licensed in the Province of Ontario to practice psychotherapy. Equine Assisted Therapy is also a term often used by people who hold a license as a therapist in their chosen field in addition to being FEEL certified. Equine Experiential Learning is self-guided and based on personal development, self awareness and learning and is not intended to replace or be confused with licensed, clinical therapeutic models. Most FEEL facilitators have spent years doing their own work overcoming trauma, addiction, abuse and generally challenging histories and are very equipped and motivated to help others overcome their own demons.
OUR CLIENTS SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCE: