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Lending a helping hoof: equine facilitated wellness on Bowen Island

Ellen White launched Present Moments Equine Facilitated Learning last year on Bowen Island
Ellen White with Henry
Life coach Ellen White with her assistant, Henry.

“When I’m with my horses I can just be me,” says Ellen White. 

“When I look back at my childhood, they were my saviour. I was at the stables every week. They got me through school and my teen years.”

Ellen moved to Canada from the UK in 2005 and then to Bowen in 2008.

“My husband and I wanted to give our daughters a community to grow up in,” she says. “Much like what I experienced growing up in the U.K.”

Horses had always been a part of Ellen’s life and they re-entered her life when she started a bookkeeping business and Home Farm Garden became a client.

“I found myself hooked on horses, yet again,” she says. 

A few years ago, Ellen started looking for a career shift. She realized how much horses had given to her and decided she wanted to share that experience with others. When she found out about Equine Facilitated Wellness, and the fact that there are certification programs available in Canada, it seemed like the perfect fit.

“The philosophy of working with horses as partners rather than tools really matched my personal philosophy,” says Ellen.

There’s no date that marks the official beginnings of this kind of work but its proponents point to ancient Greek writings about the benefits of riding to back up the field’s deep roots. In short, Equine Facilitated Wellness incorporates horses into the therapeutic process.

Ellen’s business, Present Moments Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL), launched in 2020 and is currently based out of Evergreen Stables on Westside Road.
“As adults, we have dreams and promises to ourselves that have a tendency to get put on hold,” says Ellen. “Combining life coaching with working with the horses enables us to see ourselves through their eyes. Horses mirror our behaviour whether we realize it or not. Horses work from their bodies and teach us how to get back into our bodies. We need to listen to what our bodies are telling us. Then we can implicitly learn rather than listen to the stories in our head.”  

She adds that adults often come to her simply because they just need time to stop and breathe.

“When you stop and take an hour for yourself after a very long time of not doing that, things come up,” says Ellen. “Horses help bring things up. I coach them through whatever it is they need help with.”

Ellen offers life coaching with the horses but also wellness work with teens and kids.  

“This work does not offer an instant fix; you have to put the work in,” says Ellen. “More importantly, you have to want to make changes. I hold the space for you and the horse to work and if you really want it, beautiful things can happen.”

Ellen will be offering workshops now the days are lighter and dryer, allowing people the opportunity to dip their toes into this work before committing to one-on-one sessions.  

One can contact Ellen at or visit her website at for more information on workshops, coaching, and wellness sessions.  Or call 604-764-9275 to chat for more information.


Note: The print version of this story had the incorrect contact information for Ellen.