OEEEP – Changing People’s Lives

OEEEP – Changing People’s Lives

Horses have the remarkable power to change people’s lives. Beth Lafay, a student in the Ontario Equine Education and Employment Program, (OEEEP) experiences this firsthand in her placement work with Heal With Horses.

Nestled in Hillier, Ontario, in Prince Edward County, Heal With Horses is a Canadian registered charity and dedicated to providing horse & small animal-related activities and programs with the primary focus to promote good physical & mental health & wellness to enhance their guests’ overall sense of well-being.

Lafay’s hands on involvement with Heal With Horses was set in to motion when she enrolled in the OEEEP. “I did a google search for courses about horses and found OEEEP. I had just ended a work contract, and had started another job that wasn’t working out, so I decided to register.”

Lafay completed the free six-week online training program and was very pleased with everything she learned. “The first class was ‘License to Operate’ which was about animal welfare and resonated with me. The instructors were incredibly helpful and there was so much practical and valuable information. I loved learning about the different info on colouring, marking and patterns of horses; this helps me now, when we can point out to clients, it’s the horse with the blaze and one white sock,”

The objectives of the organization are something that resonates with Lafay.

“Now, I get to work outside with people who are passionate about horses and horse welfare. No two days are the same. The job helps me to stay engaged….I wake up in the morning and I’m excited about each day!

Among her gratifying experiences in her placement is her interaction with a three-year-old client – “he’s quiet and shy and his grandma brings him. He’s the best little horseman, can ride bareback and he’s so in tune with the horses. I’ve been able to use methods in the movie Horseboy to help him come out of his shell. When you see people progress, that’s really validating.”

“Every day at work, I’m able to put what I learned in OEEEP in practise.”

“OEEEP” has been life changing for me,” confirms Lafay. “I did know the owner of Heal With Horses before I was in the program. My niece took therapeutic riding there. I stopped by there to see Sue (the owner) to get her advice on something, mentioned OEEEP and the next thing you know, my placement was set up.”

Heal With Horses is currently home to 20 horses, a mix of mares and geldings ranging in age from 14-25 and a range of breeds including paso finos, quarter horses, thoroughbreds, paint, draft percheron blend, Canadians, Tennessee Walker, and three miniature horses. Lafay points out that for many of the horses, it’s their second career.

“What happens at Heal With Horses is therapeutic for horses and the clients. Horses are the best barometer of pure intentions.”

The final session of this year’s Ontario Equine Education Program starts on September 18 and the deadline to register is September 11th. Students can sign up at Ontario Equine Education and Employment Program to start their journey in an exciting career with horses.

Employers looking for help on the farm or in any role in the equine industry may be eligible to receive 50% of the wages covered through the OEEEP program for 12-18 weeks.

For more information on registering for OEEEP as a student or employer, please contact Brian Tropea at [email protected]