Our Community of Expertise

We work with a team and network of Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL™) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL™) certified facilitators, social workers, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and corporate and life coaches to support The Mane Intent Inc.™ programs. Delivery teams are determined by client and program needs.

Our core community members include:

Chris van den Berg (He/Him), P. Eng., Owner, Renegade Ridge Farm: Every farm needs tending and care. Chris is a key steward of the creatures and the land that defines this beautiful century farm, home to The Mane Intent. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Queen’s University and decades of leadership expertise in manufacturing, Chris’ solution-oriented approach and leadership expertise keeps everything behind the scenes running smoothly. We are grateful for all of Chris’ hard work and investment to support the experiences presented to individuals, teams and groups here at The Mane Intent.

Connie Oates standing next to a horseConnie Oates (She/Her), Clinical Psychologist. Connie is a co-facilitator for equine-assisted psychotherapy sessions and groups. Connie is a Registered Psychologist with over 20 years of clinical experience working with children, youth and families in private practice and hospital clinics. She has a caring compassionate style of engaging clients of all ages and a passion for early intervention and supporting families to find new ways to connect and grow together. She integrates a variety of evidence based approaches in her work and is committed to tailoring therapy to the unique strengths and needs of the individual and their family. Connie has completed certificate training in Building Internal Resilience Through Horses and Connection-Focused Therapy.

As a co-founder of the Peterborough Assessment and Therapy Clinic, Connie offers family and individual therapy, equine assisted therapy, formal psycho educational and diagnostic assessments for children and youth as well as consultation and supervision to qualifying psychologists and psychotherapists. Areas of expertise include; challenges with emotion regulation, grief and loss, anxiety and mood problems, attachment, trauma, eating and feeding problems including selective eating and ARFID, atypical development (ASD), chronic pain, and supporting families of children with medical issues. 

Connie gained her undergraduate degree from Guelph University and continued her post graduate studies at Massey University in New Zealand completing a Masters in Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology. Through her training and registration, she gained experience providing Psychological Services in hospital and community based mental health settings in NZ and Ontario.

Beverley Clifton (She/Her), Associate Equine Program Facilitator, The Mane Intent: Bev was a co-facilitator of the Building Internal Resilience Through Horses Program. Bev moved to the Kawartha Lakes area in 2016 after leaving a long-term career as a high school teacher. In her work with The Mane Intent, Bev is able to combine her life-long work as an educator with equine facilitated learning to benefit others. Even before her years as a member of the Ontario College of Teachers, Bev has always been a believer and advocate of life-long learning. She owned and operated her own salon for nine years before becoming a teacher to share and teach her trade and experience with young people. Bev developed a safe and humanistic approach to teaching and delivering curriculum; and as an educator, thousands of students have learned and gained life-long skills enabling them to become self-sufficient contributors to society. Throughout her career in education, Bev received awards and recognition and has continued her studies at the University of Waterloo and Brock University.

 Tori smiling beside a horseVictoria Poe, B. Ed, MSW, RSW (She/Her): Tori co-facilitates a variety of workshops at The Mane Intent. Recognizing the power of horses to help heal and educate beyond riding, Victoria (Tori) began her journey in the field of Equine Facilitated Learning and Equine Facilitated Counselling, creating her business, 2 Lead Change.  As a lifelong learner, she completed her Master of Social Work (MSW) specializing in holistic healing practices. As a Program Coordinator for Walls to Bridges, Tori works with student alumni members inside and outside of a federal prison to create collaborative and innovative learning communities within correctional and community  settings. Currently, she is studying Somatic Experiencing®, a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. She has also worked as an instructor at Seneca College for four years with the Therapeutic Recreation Degree Program and has worked with community-based programs in social services for over 20 years.

Tori supports people, in groups or one-on-one, in their healing, with their career path, or with interpersonal relationships and welcomes innovative approaches to learning and change. She has supported persons to develop leadership skills or facilitate decision making and manage stress, anxiety, and addictive behaviours.

Tori has co-facilitated the FEEL (Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning)® Certification Program at Horse Spirit Connections since 2008 and has co-facilitated with other Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) practitioners. As facilitator, peer support, program developer, and FEEL trainer, Tori brings her education and training expertise as well as her diverse experience working with horses. She has learned from her horse Querica, and gleaned much from EPONA instructors, Klaus Hempfling, Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association, Equine Guided Education Association and many herds of horses.

Alex smiling beside horse

Alex Bernacki, BA (She/Her): Alex supports programming at The Mane Intent as a co-facilitator and equine professional. Alex has completed the Building Internal Resilience Through Horses Equine-Assisted Learning Facilitator Certificate and continues to foster her passion for helping others through horses. Currently, Alex is completing her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University.

Alex particularly enjoys working with children and youth, especially young women, and works to foster female empowerment, while promoting self-worth and finding inner strength. Previously, Alex worked as a Residential Support Worker and Child & Youth Worker, providing counselling and crisis support. She has also worked in classroom settings, providing extra support to youth at school. Alex has also volunteered for Kids Help Phone and other crisis lines, where she worked through a trauma-informed lens.