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No horse-ing around

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Jenna Smith has set out to show the healing powers that horses can have with people dealing with trauma.

Having formerly been a police officer during her time in British Colombia, Smith has turned to help others in a different way with animal therapy.

With the goal to combine her counselling background with something new, Smith began training in 2016 and finished the training in 2019 where she decided to open Equine Solace in Bridgeville, after having moved from British Colombia in 2018. Since opening her business, Smith has hosted wellness days and is certified to provide equine-assisted therapy to veterans, first responders, at-risk youth and others dealing with trauma, PTSD, abuse or grief/loss.

“I do try to get police officers to come to me,” said Smith. “I would love to have people from those professions come because of my background as a police officer.

“As a retired police officer, I have witnessed the trauma and grief associated with working on the front lines and others who lives are affected by addiction and trauma. These experiences led me to search for new and innovative ways to support people dealing with trauma, PTSD, grief/loss or abuse.”

The training with the horses, as well as what Smith is able to do, allows her to work with first responders who might be suffering from PTSD or other effects of their careers.

“I also have tons of experience working with male and female survivors of domestic violence,” she shared, as that was part of her job as a police officer.

Smith said that horses have a special connection to people as they are prey and we are predators naturally. Because of this, they are very in tune with us and hyper-aware of what is happening around them. She shared that even from three feet away a horse can feel the difference in a person’s heart rate.

“When you’re around horses you can feel your heart rate slowing,” she said. “When you’re around them you become more aware.”

For those who might be spooked by horses, not all of the work has to be with them. Smith shared that some of the work is done just watching horses, observing them and how they act and talking to them. For those who choose the hands-on approach, Smith noted that one of the biggest victories that comes with that can be the trust the horses develop in participants.

“When the horse decides to follow you, people just light up when the horse trusts you,” Smith said.

To find out more about equine therapy phone (902) 923-2008, visit www.equinesolace.ca or email equinesolace@gmail.com.