Our Services

Our family made a commitment to Haliburton County to establish a safe inclusive space for people facing barriers to mental, physical and wellness programs that didn’t otherwise exist here. All at no cost to the families participating, wiping out the stress of financial constraints. We believe that our faith and the communities need for inclusive, equine therapeutic support and mental health services will carry our vision forward. We appreciate everything our supporters have done to share and contribute to our mission. We are in this for the long haul because, after all, charity begins at home and the spirit of compassion and generosity will continue to propel Walkabout Farm TRA deep into a farm of possibility, positivity, accessibility and endless opportunities for our community and beyond. What we are witnessing is our village making the impossible possible. Every little bit helps us to pay for materials, labour and equipment to make this dream happen for some incredibly deserving people. If you would like to donate to our ongoing accessibility projects, please contact executive director Jennifer Semach at walkaboutpps@hotmail.ca or (705) 455 – 2899.

We aspire to make our services available at no direct cost to all of our participants regardless of their financial position. This is only possible through the generosity of supporters to the John Martin Memorial Fund, corporate grants, private foundations and community fundraising drives throughout the year. Our goal is to operate a sustainable not for profit organization. We deeply appreciate all of our financial donors who make this dream possible.

“Most of us are well versed on guide dogs and many of us are familiar with the work of assistance animals. However, the role of the therapy horse tends to be less understood. This incredible animal uses a multifaceted and dynamic role in the therapeutic riding / equine therapy stable – enhancing the quality of life for hundreds of people during the course of its career. Few equines have “jobs” with as profound an effect on humans as therapy horses. Helping people with physical rehabilitation, social skills and self-esteem… these are all part of the therapy horses job description. More than just a “job” treats are important, but it takes more than apples to keep a therapeutic riding horse happy and healthy.” NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association) communications director Kay Marks explains. “Horses are the most important resource any centre has,” she says. “They must always be treated as partners in the therapeutic process, not as a tool to be used”.


So excited to announce a new partnership with a gifted, innovative and intuitive woman who is assisting us in offering even more opportunities to connect with horses, AND this collaboration is available to anyone. 

Hey everyone!

My name is Yianna, I am an Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator, Equine Massage Therapist and Reiki Practitioner with over 25 years of horse experience.

I started my journey with these spiritual animals at the ripe age of 8 years old, with riding casually. The once-a-week lessons, during my impressionable years, made me realize how much I loved being around these majestic creatures. I would go on Saturdays and muck stalls for free in exchange for an extra ride a week.

At the age of 16, I started as a “Hotwalker” at Woodbine Racetrack, which quickly evolved into a “Groom” and had the amazing opportunity to go to Florida in the off-season. I worked at many barns after my time at the track- from Hunter to Grand Prix Dressage, to Eventing.

I learned about an Equine Massage Therapy course and instantly gravitated to it, that’s where everything changed. The relationship I developed with my four-legged clients was mind-blowing, they would be excited to see me when I’d pop into the barn, they knew instantly why I was there and well, that feeling was indescribable.

Of course, while being in the industry, I was lucky to find my Anam Cara (Soul Friend in Latin), Rayna, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred Mare (at the time) and now 20! She became the best teacher, taught me so many things about myself that I didn’t realize was possible, and helped me overcome many obstacles throughout my years to follow. Seeing the transformation in myself and everyday life, I was determined to pay it forward and share it with everyone, “Using the Power of Horses to Heal”- Tim Hayes.

What is EAL?

Equine Assisted Learning is experiential learning, an effective approach to human development that encourages individual and team growth. Participants engage in objectively driven exercises and find themselves learning valuable life skills in a fun and exciting atmosphere while working with horses. EAL has proven to be a effective, powerful, positive, educational, and creative.

The Equine Assisted Learning’s program emphasizes it’s building-block curriculum of facilitating life skills through positively reinforced interaction with horses.

Exercises are developed to encourage self-confidence through validated, hands-on experience.

Why use horses?

Horses are tough and consistently react to stimulus provided by participants. Some of the joys associated with working with horses are that they don’t judge but constantly assess. Their feedback is honest, instant and they live in the present moment.

Horses can magnify an individual’s problem immediately and provide a skilled facilitator with an opportunity to identify an individual’s character.

Horses don’t overthink a participant’s motive, but they do challenge their behaviour and leadership.

Applicable uses for EAL:

• At-risk youth

• Special needs

• Physically and emotionally impaired for both youth and adults

• Proactive approaches such as- Improving leadership skills (schools, business, executives, middle management and team building

Some of the benefits are:

• Learn to breakdown defensive barriers

• Promotes patience

• Empowers individuals

• Helps build confidence and shape character

• Learn to communicate effectively

• Develop personal work ethic

• Provide appreciation for differences and diversity

• Improve impulse control while improving decision making skills

• Challenges participants in a non-judgemental way

• Helps with PTSD

• Addiction

• Social anxiety

• Self esteem

• Teaches empathy and willingness to accept responsibility while developing healthy relationships

• Improves personal awareness while enhancing verbal and non-verbal communication skills

• Provides an opportunity to attain immediate, honest and observable feedback with cause-and-effect situations

Therapeutic Riding Program

Walkabout Farm tailors its sessions for participants to achieve their physical, cognitive, occupational and emotional goals. Participants would typically be walking with assistance, performing tasks, playing games, guided trail riding and possibly some trotting. An individualized treatment plan will be developed with lead instructor and executive director Jennifer Semach and the participants health care team. Half of the session will be spent on the ground with your horse, grooming and preparing your mindset to mount your horse. Occupational and physiotherapists are most welcome to participate with their clients and the lead instructor in a collaborative session.

Youth Outreach Program

Strengthening character, resiliency and self awareness in the leaders of tomorrow. Building on a foundation of mental wellness, healing and personal growth for youth at risk from factors like anxiety, mental illness, trauma, substance abuse, and bullying while nurturing a safe and welcoming environment on a working therapeutic and emotional support horse farm. Some of our goals for these kids are a reduction of social / socioeconomic isolation, appropriate peer interactions, building strong leadership qualities, confidence, community focused volunteerism and improved self esteem. Youth will be working with children enrolled in our programs, and horses rescued from slaughter for rehabilitation.

Work Skills Training Program

Working with and alongside adults with developmental delays and those who are abled differently, providing training in positive workplace interactions, horse care and stable management. A passport funding initiative..

Reading Buddies Initiative

Creating a stress free environment for the reluctant reader to read to the horses, and write letters and stories. The animals at Walkabout love to hear your voice and never judge.

Respite Services

One on one respite services for families with loved ones who have complex medical conditions or behavioural impairments / disorders in an environment of friendship, compassion, enrichment and respect. Focusing on family emotional support, nature therapy, equine-guided meditation and fun on the farm.

“Trauma does not define us or impede our progress, potential or growth”.