Generate and Grow Connection

Equine Facilitated Wellness Training in Nanaimo at Generation Farms

Covid-19 Update

We are working within the COVID 19 limitations and have offered Explorations successfully online. 

We are registering for Foundations. Focus and Integration information to come!

Workshops and Events – Registering for Foundations

In 2006 we were asked by an enthusiastic group of workshop participants to teach them how we do what we do. That was the beginning of our training program. Many of those original students have gone on to create their own successful practices and to use this knowledge to enhance other aspects of their careers and lives.

Training at Generation Farms gives the opportunity to meet our multi-disciplinary team who are active offering a wide range of programs.

Generation Farms has developed a safe and informed method of working with humans and horses together for healing and wellness. In all programs at Generation Farms we follow a consistent philosophy creating a tone of calm and flexibility for humans and horses. Our approach is drawn from principles of authentic horsemanship, somatic psychology, mindfulness, nature based practice and trauma therapy, as well as the Eponaquest Approach. Sharing our knowledge is a way to expand the possibilities this wonderful work offers, and gives us many opportunities to deepen our own abilities. People have traveled from all across Canada, the USA and beyond to attend training workshops at Generation Farms.

We have expanded our approach in the past several years to include nature based philosophy and practice. While this is a study on its own, it influences our EFW practice and we include aspects in our trainings. Kate Burns will be offering nature based workshops and individual sessions that can be a wonderful adjunct to an EFW approach.

Emily Pelletier and Sophie Limer are available at Generation Farms to teach EFW students the skills of horsemanship suited to practicing EFW.

In addition to the programs at Generation Farms, Deborah has offered EFW workshops in locations including Mary’s Therapeutic Farm in Victoria BC, Hollyhock Centre on Cortes Island, Highlands Gate in Lanark County Ontario, Willaway Farm in Almonte Ontario and PRANCE in Port Elgin Ontario. Her trainings are recognised with Equine Facilitated Wellness Canada and may be used for credit with other organisations as determined by the participant.

The Process Is About Connection

Our job is to help people become regulated in order that their own internal healing process can be activated. Horses create social engagment opportunites and that is the heart of healing. We can create a safe container for the process of self regulation when we are regulated ourselves and when we know ourselves deeply. Self-regulation comes through connection or social engaement. When we are connected with ourselves through our senses and our bodies we will access what we need. We need awareness to reconnect when we are disconnected. Then we create this possibility for our horses and our clients. Horses naturally help regulate people. Our job is simple when we are in alliance with our horses for healing.

Equine Professionals and Coaches

We have an interest in supporting coaches to integrate EFW principles into your work. We hear from many coaches that they are discouraged with the demands on the horses of  riding programs. We have two EFW Equine Professionals on our team and welcome coaches to train alongside the Learning and Mental Health professionals to explore new ways of working with their horses.


We concur with and follow Canadian and international best standards on certification – International Standard ISO/IEC 17024 – that certification should come from independent and nationally recognized professional associations – and not from the organizations providing the training. This greatly enhances the credibility of the certification earned and better protects the interests of the people and horses we work with.

We do not offer certification but do give a certificate of completion for all of our training programs that acknowledges attendance of the participant. Our programs can be taken to enhance your professional or personal development.

There are a number of professional bodies in North America that offer and/or are developing such certification processes which the Generation Farms training programs are recognized by and qualify towards. Among this is the Professional Association for Equine Facilitated Wellness (Pro EFW). This is a collaborative non profit initiative involving a wide range of experienced professionals from all aspects of the field.

At the Exploration Workshop we review the current status of the various certification options, including the Pro EFW model, and help participants determine the path which best fits their scope of practice and goals in the areas of an EFW practice or personal development. Focus Trainings add skills and practice through learning core concepts of The Generation Farms Approach in a supportive small group situation. Integration is a final formal week of training. Other certification requirements are on the Pri EFW website. 

While our trainings meet the Pro EFW core requirements, as per Canadian and International best standards for certification, Generation Farms and Deborah Marshall are independent of and separate from all professional associations developing and implementing certification programs.

In our opinion, the study of Equine Facilitated Wellness is not something that can be learned in one place or from one person. It is a deep journey of learning and discovery and students are best served by having varied learning experiences. EFW includes a body of knowledge and experience that can enhance anyone’s life. Our training workshops are open to people who want to learn more about EFW to enhance connection with themselves, their horses and their relationships. When embarked on as a profession, EFW is adjunctive to additional or pre-existing skills and training in the equine, education and learning, or mental health fields.

Our Approach

Our influences include Linda Kohanov, Daniel Siegel, Pat Ogden, Peter Levine, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mark Rashid, Carolyn Resnick, Richard Louv, Eugene Gendlin, Babette Rothschild, Steven Porges and more.

Deborah’s knowledge from her long history as a trauma counsellor, horsewoman and Eponaquest Advanced Facilitator has shaped the approach. Emily Pelletier’s relational approach to horses and the nature focus of Kate Burns have contributed greatly. The rest of the skilled and innovative Generation Farms team has evolved the approach to apply in all of our programs including:

  • riding
  • horsemanship
  • Child and Youth Care with children, youth and families
  • Counselling for children and youth
  • Parenting support
  • group addiction treatment
  • psychotherapy for adults
  • trauma therapy
  • leadership
  • restorative programs for workplace groups

Horses have a powerful role in healing trauma. They live in the present moment, highly aware of their surroundings, without the ability to ruminate about the past or worry about the future. They fully use all of their senses, including their ability to read the inner state of another. They are social and respond warmly to humans who are in touch with their emotions. Their attentiveness to the present state of a human has the capacity to heal old wounds through the bond of connection in the here and now. Not creatures of the cognitive, horses have the gift of intervening on an emotional and somatic (body) level. This makes them wonderful partners in the Generation Farms approach which focuses on the body and natural responses.

In our work we help people to regain their ability to experience these attributes that come so easily to horses. People then heal naturally. With guidance from a facilitator and a horse, in the natural environment, people can update old traumas and reconnect with the memory of how to function well and think clearly.

In our training workshops we teach basic neurophysiology to give an informed base of understanding. Teaching includes:

  • understand fight, flight and freeze
  • how to work within a healing Window of Tolerance
  • the principles of self regulation and its application to working with horses and people
  • present moment body centred focus
  • using all the senses
  • knowing when, how and why to pause and allow time
  • allow and align without force
  • social engagement
  • reflective and active approaches
  • introduction to a nature based approach
  • Authentic Horsemanship and its application to EFW
  • safe guarding the horse
  • proximity boundaries and energetic boundaries

Teaching is done through theoretical information, PowerPoint presentations, hands on exercises with horses, demonstrations, reading and supportive practice with each other. We have a highly sought-after training manual that is only available at this time to people who attend training programs at Generation Farms.

To support students of Equine Facilitated Wellness, Emily Pelletier is available at Generation Farms as well as off-site to teach the skills of horsemanship suited to practicing EFW. Horsemanship is introduced within the training experience but there is not sufficient time within training to master the skills of horsemanship that will serve an EFW practitioner.

Explorations in EFW though Generation Farms with Deborah Marshall and team


June is full. We are taking a waiting list to offer it again.

June 6 and 7 9 am – 11:30 am Pacific Time *
June 13 & 14 9 am – 11:30 am Pacific Time *

*10 am Mountain, 11 am Central, 12 noon Eastern, 1 pm Atlantic, 1:30 Newfoundland

Fee $595 plus 5% GST. This is our early bird rate and will be the fee for this online training considering that no meals will be provided.

Advance portion available now

  • a distance education manual
  • an assignment to be completed by distance

Online portion

  • four Zoom based meetings of 2.5 hours each
  • will include teaching, discussions, experiential exercises, breakout groups, written materials and videos
  • experiential exercises and journaling to be done between sessions
  • access to horses is ideal but not essential
  • internet access capable of meeting by Zoom is needed
  • follow-up Zoom session

Completion of this program fulfills the Level One training requirement of the

Pro EFW Certification and is a pre-requisite for the Foundations Training.

Trainers: Deborah Marshall MA RCC; Kate Burns MSW RSW and Emily Pelletier MA

This is an introduction into the field of Equine Facilitated Wellness and the role of the equine, safety issues when working with equines and humans and other core concepts of EFW.

Participants will complete with a general understanding of the EFW field and the next steps if they want to develop their skills further in this field.

Explorations in EFW is open to anyone 19 and over.

Learning Objectives of Explorations in EFW:

  1. General understanding of Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW)
  2. Awareness of the history and foundation for EFW approaches
  3. Increased sensitivity to the horse, its needs and abilities
  4. Appreciation and understanding of the perspective of the horse as a ‘sentient being’
  5. Appreciation of the safety and risk management issues and considerations in EFW
  6. An introduction to how EFW can be applied with clients in individual, family and group environments
  7. An introduction to how EFW can be applied with different client populations and needs
  8. Understanding of the EFW – Canada training, mentoring and certification model and how this applies to candidates
  9. An appreciation of the importance of always working within your scope of practice
  10. The development of personal next steps in exploring the EFW field.
  11. Ideas of what people can do when they complete

For more information please email

FOUNDATIONS  – The Generation Farms Approach – (formerly Focus)

This year Foundations will be offered as a combination of online and onsite due to COVID. In the event of Public Health recommendations limiting small gatherings we will look at continuing online. This is not our chosen option and we anticipate that we will be welcoming you at Generation Farms.

The entire onsite workshop will be offered outside. We do have covered areas for shelter and shade. Full COVID social distancing and practices will be in place. Vancouver Island has been a low incident COVID haven and islanders are dedicated to keeping it that way!



Online Sessions        Sunday July 12 – 1 to 4 pm Pacific time

                                    Tuesday July 14 – 4 to 7 pm Pacific time

                                    There will be two breaks in each online session

                                    There are online learning modules associated with the online sessions

Onsite                         Saturday July 18 to Monday July 20; 9:30 am to 5 pm at Generation Farms

Online Sessions        Tuesday July 28 – 1 to 4 pm Pacific time

                                    Tuesday August 4 – 1 to 4 pm Pacific time

                        There are online learning modules associated with the online sessions                             

Cost: $1500 plus 5% GST.  This is a reduced COVID price. You will be printing your own manuals. For food we will offer drinks, pre-packaged snacks and fruit. You will need to bring your own lunch this year.  

The fee also includes one individual mentoring session (generally by Zoom) typically scheduled after the training is completed and before the Level Three Focus is taken.  

This is a one-week program for mental health/education and learning professionals, and equine professionals as well as others who want to explore EFW for their own personal interests. You will learn the fundamentals of the Generation Farms Approach to EFW. Previous exposure to equine facilitated work and/or Explorations in EFW is beneficial before attending this program.

The main focus of this week is to enhance awareness of the horse and its unique abilities to connect with humans in a deep and healing way. Participants will engage in experiential exercises with the horses and each other to deepen their connection with themselves, the horses and each other. They will learn about and experience the fundamental skills of the Generation Farms approach including:

  • understand fight, flight and freeze
  • how to work within a healing Window of Tolerance
  • present moment body centred focus
  • using all the senses
  • knowing when and why to pause and allow time
  • reflective and active approaches
  • introduction to a nature based approach
  • Authentic Horsemanship and its application
  • safe guarding the horse
  • proximity boundaries and energetic boundaries

Trainers: Deborah Marshall MA RCC; Kate Burns MSW RSW and Emily Pelletier MA as well as the Generation Farms staff and herd

Participants need to have sufficient resilience and stability to engage in the experiential components. This is not intended as a therapy group.

For more information please email

Focus Training B – The Generation Farms Approach

Level Three in the Pro EFW certification

Week Two Aug 17 to 22 UNDER REVIEW DUE TO COVID 19

$1600 plus GST for taking one Focus week in 2020

if you are also taking the July week then the total is $3000 plus GST

Expand your learning about Generation Farms Approach in this five day program. This week will focus on helping others experience the world using the Generation Farms skills and approach. This week is suitable for people who are going into the EFW field. It will review the concepts of the GF Approach and put them into practice with each other and the horses including:

  • review neurobiology and EFW concepts
  • putting together an EFW session
  • practice sessions with each other
  • horse as co-therapist
  • sensory healing and re-integration
  • nature based experiential
  • practical aspects of EFW including equipment, suitable horses and facilities, insurance
  • create a personal Scope of Practice document which lays out your personal path for further development and guidelines for the work you will do

Participants need to have sufficient resilience and stability to engage in the experiential components. This is not intended as a therapy group.
Trainers: Deborah Marshall MA RCC; Kate Burns MSW RSW, Emily Pelletier MA as well as the Generation Farms staff and herd.

For more information please email

Explorations in Equine Facilitated Wellness- in Nanaimo at Generation Farms

We will offer an Explorations in September if there is sufficient demand. Check back!

Integration Week – this program is for students who have completed both weeks of Focus Training in a previous year


This fulfills the Level Four training requirement in the Pro EFW certification program

October 17 to 21, 2020 (Saturday to Wednesday; no free day mid-week). UNDER REVIEW DUE TO COVID 19

Integration Week is a five day program for Pro EFW certification candidates who are ready to work with others and create your own programs. This is a chance to expand your skills and awareness in a safe learning environment.

Trainers: Deborah Marshall MA RCC; Kate Burns MSW RSW and Emily Pelletier MA as well as the Generation Farms staff and herd

For more information please email