About Heal With Horses
997 Danforth Rd, Hillier, On, K0K 2J0
Prince Edward County
Heal With Horses is a Registered Canadian Charity dedicated to providing horse & small animal-related activities and programs with the primary focus to promote good physical & mental health & wellness and enhance our guests’ overall sense of well-being.
Over the past decade, we have created a safe, quiet, natural, rural setting for people of all ages and physical & mental capabilities to come to interact with our large herd of horses and variety of small animals including rabbits, cats, dogs, pigs, and goats. These interactions include riding, grooming, leading horses through obstacles, playing games, and walking through the fields & forest. This unique blend of specifically developed activities provide proven positive benefits to a person’s overall physical and emotional well-being.
Heal With Horses is the only recreational facility of its kind in this region to have this exclusive blend of horse-related activities available to people of all ages and all physical fitness levels. Our facilities and programs are wheelchair accessible. We have specialty saddles for those who are physically disabled and that allow for 2 riders, and our staff are specially trained to work with those with special needs.
All of our services are offered by appointment, so feel free to reach out!
Founder & Executive Director
For as long as I can remember I felt a deep connection to animals and nature. As I grew older, my love for them grew deeper. Finally, by the age of 35, I was able to have them right at home with me, after purchasing a country property with my husband Ron, while raising three children.
Heal With Horses birthed out of a desire to connect people with horses in a therapeutic nature, where the horse is revered and respected as a teacher. Through years of hard work and sheer determination, Heal With Horses has become what it is today.
We are now a registered Canadian Charity that not only utilizes horses to help people feel better, but small social animals as well! It’s a “labour of love”. So many people have been touched by the unconditional love of our animals!
Doreen Rafuse Westall
Co-Facilitator, Board of Directors
For the past 12 years, Doreen has worked alongside of Suzanne and has been deeply involved with Heal With Horses Equine Therapeutic Centre. She owns a Paso Fino horse named Mateo who has taught her so much.
With a great desire to delve deeper into the spirit of the horse’s world, she trained to become a Co-Facilitator in FEEL-Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning. Doreen has lived in Prince Edward County for over 20 years with her partner Glenn and is blessed with a large circle of friends and family. Her 3 amazing children and 6 grandchildren have been supportive of her on her amazing life’s journey.
Beth Lafay was born and raised in PEC, explaining her passion for community, animals and agriculture. She is a graduate of the one of a kind Community, Economic and Social Development BA Honours program at Algoma University. She has over a decade’s worth of experience working with equity seeking groups such as First Nations both urban, rural and on territory, at-risk youth, 2SLGBTQ+ people, low-income communities and focused her thesis work on women experiencing violence. She is skilled in facilitation, program design and coordination, strategic planning, Human Resources, grant writing, counselling, community engagement and outreach.
Beth also spent 3 months living and working in Eastern Africa at a feminist organization called the Tanzania Gender Networking Program. After participating in equine therapeutic sessions with her niece here at Heal with Horses in the summer of 2021, her and her partner adopted a pair of bonded rescue horses. Looking for resources online to learn more about how to care for her gelding and mare, she took the Ontario Equine Education and Employment Program that brought her back to Heal to complete a 3 month placement.
Beth has also completed her Equine First Aid Certificate, is starting her Horse Boy Method Training and hoping to complete her FEEL certification to continue her growth working with horses and showing the powerful healing abilities they hold for people who have experienced trauma.
I am one of the therapy instructors among other roles at Heal with Horses.
I have over 20 years of horse experience and truly am passionate about all animals big or small.
My professional background has been in customer service, but I always had the dream to one day work with animals. Finding Heal With Horses was the perfect fit for me! I believe that everyone needs a little animal magic in their lives and love seeing the difference we make for our clients in their day to day lives.
About me… I do not come from a family farm at all, I am the first one in my family to gravitate towards farm animals and farm life. I currently have a 20-year old Quarter horse mare named Alanna and we both reside in Quinte West. When I am not at Heal With Horses, you can find me spending time with my horse and other pets. I am looking forward to meeting you and building sessions together that are as unique as you are!
Olivia Craig-Sherritt started her Heal with Horses journey in 2022 through a student-placement experience from the Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Psychology degree program at St. Lawrence College. She has a lifelong love for animals with almost 10 years of horsemanship experience under her belt and has the pleasure of owning her own horse, Dakota, who is pictured above and is a happy member of the Heal with Horses herd.
During her student placement, she completed a thesis dissertation examining the practices that use horses as a therapeutic aid and their benefits. From St. Lawrence College, Olivia also has gained previous experiences in Addictions & Mental Health Services, Psychological First Aid, and local elementary schools with challenging behaviours.
Currently, Olivia is pursuing her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology through Yorkville University and her Horse Boy Method Training while she helps support the animals and participants at the farm. Following her MACP, she hopes to complete her FEEL certification and additional equine-assisted psychotherapy courses. Olivia has also obtained multiple certificates from previous visual art pieces, where she is passionate about participating in aspects of art therapy and art with nature during activities with our participants and animals.
Willow has been on the farm since birth, given to HWH by a close friend. She is accompanied by her Mom, Sadie, in the herd. Willow is a cheeky, fun, intelligent, all dark in colour, girl. Her and her mom love to greet you in the field and will follow you anywhere!
Sadie’s background is somewhat unknown but it is clear that it was tough. Due to her past, Sadie has been shy and has taken her time to warm up. She is lead mare of the herd and loves to greet you in the field. Always side by side with her daughter, Willow. Sadie is black with a white blaze and socks.
Kit is a Grey Flea Bitten who is super-loving. From the beginning she has been super loving and is great with kids and adults. We use Kit for sensory work, seniors program, and therapeutic sessions. Kit is a Girls Girl, she loves to hang out with her Gal Pals in the field and is sad when she has to leave them.
Solara is a sensitive, timid, chestnut that came from an abusive past. We have had Solara since she was 4 and has over time become blind in her right eye. Although very timid, she will trust if you give her the time. Solara teaches people to slow down and live in the moment.
Coco thinks she’s a big horse, and runs with the big kids in the herd. She can be feisty and will go with you anywhere. Coco is our only Pony and she knows it! She can often be found sneaking out of small areas in the fence line to get premium grass where her herd mates can’t get to.
Andy has a bald face (large white marking covering her entire nose). She is a strong, independent, mare that likes her personal space. Andy underwent a terrible accident in the winter of 2019. She has made an amazing recovery and we continue to work with her every day.
Oberon is the big man on campus and is the head of the herd. He loves to be the first one to greet you in the field and is our biggest horse in the herd! He has beautiful blue eyes, and is cremello in colouring. Although big, he is also the biggest scaredy cat!
Evi (for short) is very photogenic and easy on the eyes. He is very sensitive but loves to please. He came from a competitive background in British Columbia but has enjoyed his laidback lifestyle with his herd mates. Evidente is Chestnut in colour.
Emmit is a very handsome boy! He is bay in colour with soulful eyes! He is one of our main therapy horses and he loves his job. He is heartfelt, gentle and always leaves our clients feeling peaceful!
Leo is Chestnut in colour and the sweetest! He is the definition of “Bomb Proof”! Nothing scares him! Don’t let his small size fool you. He might be little but he is the bravest boy ever! He is kind, gentle and always looks after his people!
Benji is very easy on the eyes! He is black with a beautiful white blaze on his face. A very handsome boy indeed! He is quiet and calm and will stand still for hours while you love on him! He is so heartfelt.
Bingley is Chestnut in colour and has quite the sense of humour! He loves to make people laugh and brings out the playful side in you! You can expect him to follow you around like a puppy!
Martin lives up to the stubborn donkey name but is cute as a button! He is a client favourite and always keeps us laughing. Martin and his paddock companion, Rudy, have become a dynamic duo and like to get into trouble together.