Few things are as beautiful or as awe inspiring as a horse at a full gallop across an open field on a summer day. These horses were being filmed by a drone as they ran through the meadow joyfully after being let out to pasture on a summer morning. The herd is a mix of different breeds, including painted horses, Clydesdales, ponies, a former race horse, and even a donkey.
But these are no ordinary horses. They live and work at an amazing farm in Indian River, Ontario, called the Mane Intent. They are part of a special program that is geared towards experiential learning. Some people go to the Mane Intent to learn leadership skills or to learn about themselves. Others go there seeking healing and therapy after emotional trauma or difficult life experiences. Many are veterans or first responders who struggle with PTSD and the effects of their experiences.
The horses work their magic through structured exercises with people, close bonding opportunities and quiet periods where people can simply share time with magnificent animals. The results are often very moving.
Each of the horses has a very different personality and brings a different specialty to the sessions. People gravitate towards a certain horse or, more often, a horse will gravitate towards them and then the real magic begins. The horses are exceptionally affectionate, playful and even patient. People describe their time at the Mane Intent differently but all agree that the ten gentle souls that make up this herd are truly unique. For many, the visit is a very moving and emotional experience that can drastically change their outlook. These horses are capable of connecting with people in a way that has to be seen to be believed.
When the herd is not involved in one to one sessions or group exercises, they spend much of their time grazing or running on the large expanse of rolling green pasture and forest that makes up this incredible farm. Their happiness is impossible to miss.