Medicine and Horsemanship Workshop Focuses on Transforming Healthcare Provider-Patient Relationships

Improving Interpersonal Skills, Teamwork and Leadership  in Healthcare — Unique Workshop is One of a Kind in Ontario

A series of innovative, two-day workshops called Medicine and Horsemanship: Transforming the Healthcare Provider-Patient Relationship hosted by Trent Hills Physician Recruitment are planned on June 7 & 8, August 15 & 16 and October 3 & 4, 2015. Open to medical students, resident physicians, physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals including paramedics, this is a unique opportunity for health care students and practitioners to develop greater awareness of the subtleties of self-presentation and communication necessary for the provider-patient relationships and other professional interactions. No previous horse experience is required and all activities are completed on the ground in partnership with horses.

Medicine and Horsemanship workshops are currently being hosted at Phoenix Acres of Hastings, Ontario and presented by Susan Andison, Owner of Phoenix Acres and Jennifer Garland, Owner/Program Director of The Mane Intent of Indian River, ON. Both Andison and Garland have their certification in Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning. The Medicine and Horsemanship Program is built on the founding principles of The Manual of Medicine and Horsemanship by Dr. Beverley Kane of Stanford School of Medicine.

Workshop participants will work with the horses at Phoenix Acres, with a shared focus on:

  • Becoming aware of the subtleties of verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Improving attention, mindfulness and focusing abilities
  • Becoming aware of congruency of intention versus behaviour
  • Identify and respect boundaries in ourselves and others
  • Recognize the nature of projection and transference
  • Develop confidence in decision-making and ultimately,
  • Enhance the doctor-patient relationship

To register for the Medicine and Horsemanship Workshop, please contact: Laurie Smith, Please register by May 25th to secure your spot in the June offering. Cost of the workshop is $400 per person for the two day workshop and includes lunches, snacks and all workshop supplies. For participating physicians, Medicine & Horsemanship Course qualifies for CME credits under:


“As a physician who has spent many years with them, I know that working with horses in a structured learning environment opens doors to self-awareness, and can teach us much about life. The Medicine and Horsemanship Program teaches an approach that will improve interpersonal skills, communication, leadership and teamwork – skills that aren’t always part of the formal curriculum for new doctors and other health care providers. This program will help the health care provider improve the doctor-patient relationship by emphasizing compassion and respect, to the benefit of the provider, the patient and their families.” Dr Bob Henderson, Trent Hills Family Health Team; former physician representative, Trent Hills Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee; and Larkin Health Professional Educational Award Recipient (2011)

“This workshop is intended to help healthcare providers hone their awareness of the subtleties of communication necessary for successful patient-provider relationships. Because health sciences often focus on intellectual proficiency over other forms of intelligence, some healthcare providers have not finely developed the emotional intelligence and/or empathic sensitivity required for successful patient-provider interactions. Horsemanship requires an appreciation of the non-verbal messages that we give to others. It requires patience, gentleness, self-confidence and sensitivity. Horses are large prey animals whose very survival has depended on becoming attuned to their surroundings. Horses reflect back to us the signals and intentions of which we aren’t even aware at times.” Susan Andison, Medicine and Horsemanship Workshop Co-Facilitator and Owner, Phoenix Acres.

“Horses are fantastic teachers. When we work in partnership with them, they simply reflect back to us any self-limiting perceptions, while helping us close the gap between how we actually present ourselves to others and how we think we are being. This is a unique experiential learning opportunity and offers up a profound way to change the delivery of health care and to help change the world for patients and their families. By working with a variety of horses, both hands on and at a distance, participants learn about boundaries, leadership and teamwork; they tune into emotions, intuition and body language. They also learn to make decisions with greater clarity and compassion.” Jennifer Garland, Medicine and Horsemanship Workshop Co-Facilitator and Owner, The Mane Intent.

“As a participant in the trial run of the Medicine and Horsemanship Workshop, I found it was informative, insightful and thought-provoking. The facilitators are skilled at what they do and it shows. It is a pleasure to promote this unique opportunity in Trent Hills. It should be top-of-list for any healthcare professional wishing to improve their communication skills and ultimately, their relationships with patients and their families and other healthcare professionals.” Laurie Smith, Physician Liaison/ER Scheduling, Campbellford Memorial Hospital and Trent Hills Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee.

“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, Medicine and Horsemanship Workshop Participant

For more Medicine and Horsemanship Workshop Participant testimonials, go to



The Mane Intent

May 7, 2015

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