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Hi there! Thank you so much for making your way to our site. My name is Aleka and I’m the founder of Big Heart Equestrian. I was inspired to pursue a career in animal-assisted wellness because of my own experiences in life and with mental health. I’ve lived with anxiety for as long as I could remember but went undiagnosed until my adult years. Growing up, trying to be a “normal” kid was always pretty tough and I felt the effects of anxiety on a day-to-day basis. I had a severe fear of failure and of rejection so my internal thoughts and emotions would prevent me from making friends, asking for help, speaking out, and writing tests. My self-talk was constantly negative and I struggled immensely with self-image. With my mom being a counsellor, I had been encouraged to utilize certain tools and coping mechanisms she instructed but nothing except the presence of animals could quiet my mind.
During my second year of university, I learned the hard way that horses project and mirror our internalized emotions. Going through an immense period of depression and anxiety, my horse Phil opened my eyes to these things and I was able to work on myself and get through the wave of emotion and obtain wellness through self-reflection and awareness of what I was going through. By observing the horses behaviour and how they communicate with one another and then connecting that to my background in sociology and life coaching, I was able to create Big Heart Equestrian and the methods used to help others. I strive to be the person I needed when I was younger.
The foundation of our program is skill building and education. There won’t be a single session when you will be asked to repeat your traumas or what you’ve been through, the focus is the future and how we can help you help yourself achieve wellness.