Horses and Healthcare Professionals

Promoting Health System Reform and Compassionate Care

“A major challenge for health care providers throughout our careers is to conduct our relationships with patients, colleagues, ‘supervisors’, and employees in a manner that is professional, sensitive, perceptive, confident and authentic. Especially with regard to patients, our conduct must be characterized by compassion and respect.” 

— Beverley Kane, M.D., Stanford Medical School Medicine and Horsemanship

“Whenever doctors are interacting with a patient, doing uncomfortable invasive things or having to impart bad news, we really need to have the patient’s trust. This is exactly the point of the work with horses, because the handlers need to use gentle, non-verbal cues to persuade the horse what to do. The horse gains the trust and becomes a willing partner. This is exactly what we need patients to do — to join us in the healing effort rather than being afraid of what we are doing to them. With patients, like with horses, it is up to the doctor to figure out what works best with each.”

— Dr. Allan Hamilton, Professor of Neurosurgery, University of Arizona

Harnessing Health System Transformation for Patient-Centred Care

Healthcare is a world defined by constant change, conflicting demands and ever-increasing expectations around patient satisfaction. The growing need for interprofessional teams from a variety of disciplines providing a circle of care based on the patient’s needs is redefining working relationships and requiring new forms of collaboration, leadership and decision-making. For many, trauma is an every day event.

Emergency response personnel, physicians, nurses and other health care professionals are facing stress and a sense of helplessness, triggering compassion fatigue and burn-out

In many parts of North America, horses are working their magic in medicine and patient care.  Horses are being used to help medical students, physicians and other health care professionals improve their bedside manners. This concept of bringing together Medicine and Horsemanship began at the University of Arizona in 2001. It was conceived and taught by Professor of Neurosurgery, owner of Rancho Bosque, and Parelli Natural Horsemanship practitioner, Allan Hamilton, M.D.

At The Mane Intent, we offer health and wellness workshops, individual and team effectiveness coaching and leadership development working in partnership with horses as natural coaches.

Whether you are an individual practitioner seeking one-on-one professional coaching or a multi-disciplinary team looking for an opportunity to strengthen the lines of communication, we will work with you to create a customized, facilitated equine experiential learning program best suited to your needs.

Building on the founding principles of Medicine and Horsemanship, our intent is to help health care practitioners develop an awareness of the subtleties of self-presentation and communication necessary for today’s health system transformation, provider-patient relationships and other professional interactions.

Participants will:

  • Become aware of subtleties of verbal and non verbal communication
  • Improve attention, mindfulness, and focusing abilities
  • Become aware of congruency of intention versus behavior
  • Identify and respect boundaries in ourselves and others
  • Recognize the nature and projection of transference
  • Confront insecurities and develop confidence
  • Adjust to the relativity of time, expand the moment
  • Cope more effectively with stress

“It is very hard to articulate how amazing this weekend has been. This has taught me an incredible amount both professionally and personally. This program will change how I look at each patient and challenge at work.”

— Sarah, Paramedic, Workshop Participant

For more Workshop Participant testimonials, go to:

What to expect when you work with horses as natural coaches:

  • Participants in partnership with horses engage in facilitator-guided activities. Our horses offer sensitivity, perceptiveness and intuition without judgement in a safe environment.
  • By engaging in ground work exercises with horses in a controlled setting, together we uncover communication and interpersonal behaviours. How the horse reacts to your communication, behavior and body language provides us with clear, intuitive feedback you can use to identify opportunities for greater teams effectiveness and individual effectiveness and leadership development. No previous horse experience is required to participate.
  • Each exercise is a combination of demonstration, hands on exploration and guided discussion. This allows participants the opportunity to experience, observe and reflect on how attitude, body language and intent impact what we communicate and the results we get.
  • We offer a way for people to reduce their stress, improve their wellness and relationships, while ultimately gaining coping skills for a healthy work/life balance. These are memorable, one-of-a-kind events with our gentle herd presented in a beautiful natural setting.

About Your Lead Facilitator:

Jennifer Garland is the Owner/Program Director of The Mane Intent. She has over 25 years of leadership experience in communications, marketing and change management supporting a variety of health care clients including hospitals, nursing homes, hospice care centres, non-profits and community service providers in the health care community. Jennifer has provided counsel and support to senior leaders from all walks of life to create opportunities to build productive relationships, facilitate learning and to embrace change. She has facilitated strategic planning retreats and team building events for groups with up to 300 participants. As the Program Director and founder of The Mane Intent Inc, her intent is to bring horses and humans together to explore new possibilities and experiences that get them out of their comfort zone and give clarity of voice to their leader within.

We’ll design a program to meet your needs: Our programs for health care professionals and leaders are custom designed to fit your needs. So please contact us for a conversation about how this offering meets your needs.

Contact: or call 705-295-6618