Building Internal Resilience Through Horses

View Project Fact Sheet (PDF)



The project will deliver and evaluate a 12-week resilience-based intervention program featuring equine- assisted learning in combination with expressive arts and psycho-educational workshops. It will further existing research on the benefits of equine assisted learning for survivors of child maltreatment and for young women exposed to intimate partner violence.


  • To design and build an innovative community program with a strong evidence base and evaluative outcomes.
  • To build resilience for young women who have experienced trauma due to exposure to intimate partner violence and/or child maltreatment within the family home.
  • To demonstrate that equine assisted learning is an effective intervention strategy for building resilience in young women who have experienced trauma.
  • To build capacity for trauma informed practice in the community of Peterborough and the Kawarthas for front line service practitioners.
  • To enhance integration and knowledge exchange through sharing information and resources across community services including First Nations services for young women who have experienced trauma so that they will experience opportunity to build capacity and resilience and reduce the risk of future harm.
  • To produce a manual that includes the research project and the program details so that it can become sustainable and be replicated in other parts of Canada.


Develop and deliver a 12-week trauma and violence informed intervention series using expressive arts, psycho-education, and Equine Assisted Learning to 60-80 young women aged 13-18.

  • A series of questionnaires assessing participants’ resilience and mental health will be conducted at six time points. Quantitative data will be supplemented with qualitative feedback from the participants and the program facilitators.
  • Knowledge activities will be provided to service practitioners on resilience, trauma and violence informed practice, and the model itself. An English and French manual will be developed and disseminated.
  • The project will culminate in a conference focused on resilience for service providers, with an interest in interventions that address the physical and mental health needs of victims of domestic violence and child abuse.



Kawartha Lakes Sexual Assault Centre Logo The Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre is a not-for-profit, charitable organization established to provide a range of sexual assault services in the Kawartha Region.
Trent Univeristy Logo Trent University is a public liberal arts and science-oriented university located along the Otonabee River in Peterborough, Ontario, with a satellite campus in Oshawa, which serves the Regional Municipality of Durham.
The Mane Intent Logo The Mane Intent offers health and wellness workshops, individual and team effectiveness coaching and leadership development working in partnership with horses as natural coaches.


Trent University and the Mane Intent


Spring/Summer 2017

  • The first session of the program started in March 2017. The project has successfully started three groups all of which have had perfect attendance so far. The program is and continues to generate high interest among young women aged 13 to 18 across the Kawartha region. The horse farm is located in Otonabee Township near Rice Lake and the program received referrals from people living outside of the farm area. Transportation is provided to participants when needed.  Participants are excited to be involved in a program that does not require disclosure and trauma-processing through traditional talk therapy.

Winter 2017