Windhorse Centre is located at Sacred Mountain, on beautiful Salt Spring Island, BC, and was founded by Jacqueline Sutton B.A. and Leslie Ross M.Ed. As psychotherapists they combine their eclectic therapeutic and spiritual training and skills with their passion for horses and natural horsemanship. They offer a variety of Equine Facilitated Personal Development programs that work in conjunction with the magical nature of horses. Also available are individual psychotherapy, shamanic healing sessions and other non-equine workshops. The vision of Windhorse Centre is to provide opportunities and experiences that promote self-empowerment, awareness, transformation and expansion of consciousness.
Equine Facilitated Personal Development
Is a co-creation between client, human facilitator and horse. Through experiential exercises with the horses individuals are able to explore their feelings and behaviours. This provides an opportunity for an individual to process emotional issues that they identify as problematic in their life, and to gain a clearer understanding and awareness of how to relate to him/herself and others. Greater clarity and awareness brings healthier life choices. Most of the experiential exercises with the horses are done on the ground. Horse experience and riding skills are not a pre-requisite.
Horses have the ability to be gifted guides and facilitators of human transformation. Being herd and prey animals, they are adept at perceiving subtle shifts in energy, movement and emotion in their environment. Because of this sensitivity, horses are skilled at responding to the inner experience of those around them, mirroring emotions, feelings and thoughts, both conscious and unconscious. Interaction with horses offers the opportunity to be in the present moment and reflect on the inner self, bringing it more fully into awareness. The result of this is a deepening connection to the self, where individuals can chose to live life with more authenticity, consciousness and joy.
Who Would Benefit from These Programs?
- Transitional issues eg. Job/career, relationship, natural transitions such as aging and maturing
- Grief, depression and suicidal issues
- Abuse issues
- General life dissatisfaction or desire to expand themselves
- Desire for deepening spiritual connection and/or personal awareness
- Fear of horses
- Fear of maximizing your potential, of being who you truly are
For Corporate Clients, We Offer:
- Team building
- Strengthening leadership skills
- Communication development
- Developing choice-making and goal-setting skills
Reported Benefits and Results:
- Stress reduction
- Relationship building
- Enhanced clarity and awareness of the self
- Personal transformation
- Interspecies and interpersonal communication
- Development of emotional congruence (the internal emotional experience matches external expression)
- Expanded spiritual connection
- Fun, playfulness
- Improve self confidence and self esteem
- Resolution of fear of horses
- Increased body awareness
Josh Nichol Natural Horsemanship Clinic
Individual sessions for up to eight students. Whether you are just starting out with Josh or working at an advanced level, this clinic is open to all riders and optimizes the learning experience for you and your horse. With an hour of one-on-one instruction each day, Josh is able to customize a training progression that is best suited for meeting your horse’s needs; in addition to your lesson time, you are welcome to observe all other student lessons and practice your horse homework from Josh before your lesson the next day. The learning in these clinics will develop your understanding of key Relational Horsemanship principles and help get you and your horse onto the best possible track.
Not seeing any clinics that fit your schedule? Check out Josh’s Level 2 program, where you can learn from him year-round, ask him clinic related questions or anything horsemanship, and interact with your fellow students in the membership forum.
Jacqueline Sutton, BA CTRAI
I have always loved horses. Without them in my life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Horses have been my friends, as well as teachers, and it is my belief and experience that these beautiful creatures can be wonderful teachers and helpers to just about anybody. Born in the UK, I began riding at age three, a hobby that absorbed me throughout my childhood and teens. I came to Canada to work as a cowgirl on a ranch in BC’s interior, and I immediately fell in love with this part of Canada and decided to stay. After many years in the world of business and media, I realized my true calling was the field of counselling.
In 1988 I began my journey of education and skill building in this field. My community work initially took me into the areas of crisis intervention, addictions, both substance and non-substance abuse. I then worked with survivors of sexual abuse, those transitioning from incarceration, and those dealing with depression and suicidal tendencies. My private practice was focused on people in transitional situations, those feeling stuck, and also struggling with healing from some of the above issues. Shamanic healing also became a major part of my practice.
It was acquiring the land that is now Sacred Mountain that changed the direction of my work. I finally had the space to have a horse of my own, and from the first moment I stepped onto the land, I saw horses here and so Windhorse was born.
My formal training includes a BA from Western Washington University in Theoretical and Applied Approaches to Mental, Physical and Spiritual Health, with a minor in Psychology. A three year intensive training in Gestalt Therapy as well as training in family systems and Process Work; specialty training in depression issues as well as working with survivors of sexual abuse; extensive Shamanic healing practices through The Foundation for Shamanic Studies and others; Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Ecstatic Dance, Corporeal Mime, Celtic and Greek Mythology and dream work. In terms of my horse therapy skills, I am currently completing an internship with “Adventures in Awareness”, an Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy Program run by Barbara Rector and Ann Alden. I am also a riding instructor with Salt Spring Therapeutic Riding Association.
My ongoing personal spiritual training includes meditation, Tibetan Buddhist practice, yoga, prayer, chi kung, vision questing and the Ontogony, (self realization) teachings of Carlos de Leon of Mexico. I am an Instructor of the practice of Seven Lotus Chi Kung Canada
I marry my passions with my disciplines in my work. My focus is to create a diverse range of experiences in which my clients explore a deepening awareness of the mind, body and spirit connection. My belief is that we all have a brilliance within and my role as a therapist and facilitator is to support people to find that inner light so that they can become more of who they truly are. This allows each of us to have greater personal freedom, creativity and happiness. The horses assist us in making this possible.
Leslie Ross, M. Ed
I have loved horses from a very early age and in fact had been very involved with them, riding, showing etc. until I was 20 or so. Approximately 25 years later I found myself staring into the eyes of a beautiful chestnut yearling and felt a strong reawakening of my connection and love with the spirit of horses. A few weeks later, with no real rational or logical reason why, Jacqueline, my partner Rolf and I bought that young horse. At the time I had no awareness of how horses would play a significant role, not only in my own life and healing journey, but also in the lives of many others.
As I was the one that was in the position of being the primary horse handler and care giver I found myself “thrown” into a very deep personal process. Had I known the depth of that process I doubt I would have signed up for the task! However there I was trying to learn everything I could about natural horse care, including barefoot hoof care and natural horsemanship. At the same time I became increasingly aware through my own process of how my connection to this beautiful equine being was bringing me into more and more of a connection with myself.
Having been a psychotherapist in private practice for many years I began to research and study the field of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy. My journey led me to take an EAGALA Level 1 training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and then later to study with Barbara Rector and Ann Alden, two pioneers in this growing field.