Horse-facilitated welfare comes to Bowen Island

Ellen White launched Present Moments Equine Facilitated Learning last year on Bowen Island

“When I’m with my horses, I can just be me,” says Ellen White.

“When I think back to my childhood, they were my savior. I was at the stables every week. They allowed me to go to school and my teenage years.

Ellen moved to Canada from the UK in 2005 and then to Bowen in 2008.

“My husband and I wanted to give our daughters a community to grow up in,” she says. “A bit like what I experienced growing up in the United Kingdom”

Horses have always been a part of Ellen’s life and they came back into her life when she started an accounting business and Home Farm Garden became a client.

“I found myself addicted to horses again,” she says.

A few years ago, Ellen started looking for a career change. She realized how much horses had given her and decided that she wanted to share this experience with others. When she discovered the welfare facilitated by equines and the fact that there are certification programs available in Canada, this seemed like the perfect fit.

“The philosophy of working with horses as partners rather than as tools really matched my personal philosophy,” says Ellen.

There is no date that marks the official beginnings of this type of work, but its supporters refer to ancient Greek writings on the benefits of horseback riding to safeguard the deep roots of the field. In short, Equine Facilitated Wellness integrates horses into the therapeutic process.

Ellen’s business, Present Moments Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL), was launched in 2020 and is currently based at Evergreen Stables on Westside Road.
“As adults we have dreams and promises that tend to be put on hold,” says Ellen. “Combining life coaching and working with horses allows us to see ourselves through their eyes. Horses reflect our behavior, whether we realize it or not. Horses work from their bodies and teach us how to fit into our bodies. We have to listen to what our body is telling us. Then we can implicitly learn rather than listen to the stories in our head. ”

She adds that adults often come to see her just because they just need time to stop and breathe.

“When you stop and take an hour to yourself after a really long time without doing this, things show up,” says Ellen. “Horses help get things done. I coach them through whatever they need help with.

Ellen offers life coaching with horses but also well-being work with adolescents and children.

“This job does not offer an instant solution; you have to put some work into it, ”says Ellen. “Most importantly, you have to want to make changes. I keep the space for you and the horse to work and if you really want it nice things can happen.

Ellen will be offering workshops now that the days are lighter and drier, allowing people to immerse themselves in this work before committing to individual sessions.

Ellen can be contacted at [email protected] or visit her website at for more information on workshops, coaching and wellness sessions. Or call 604-764-9275 to chat for more information.

Note: The printed version of this story contained incorrect contact information for Ellen.

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