Harmony with Horses


Harmony with Horses is an Experiential Learning Centre that offers Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL), but also provides an environment that nurtures your spirit.  A place to leave behind your cell phones, social media, video and online games, sports and news feeds, and recharge your own batteries surrounded by pastures, forests, ponds, streams and all the healing gifts of nature.  No noise pollution.  No air pollution.  No light pollution.  Facilities can be booked for day-excursions with or without FEEL sessions, for groups of up to 10 people.   Bring your Yoga class, your Meditation group,  your book club, church group or other spiritual or support group and spend the day communing with nature and your friends.

In this interview, Tricia Rudy, owner and operator of Harmony with Horses discusses FEEL and what Harmony with Horses has to offer.

harmony with horses

When did you fall in love with horses?

I’ve been drawn to horses all my life. I feel more at home around them than anywhere else I’ve ever been. It’s never been about the sport of horses, the competition or the athletics. It’s always been about the way they make me feel when I’m with them.

What is FEEL?

FEEL stands for Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning. It is a method of learning based on the principle that horses can teach us about ourselves, our gifts, our strengths, and where we are out of balance or out of touch with our true purpose. They do that by connecting to our experiential being, our body, our heart and showing us who we really are.

What made you decide to want to start Harmony with Horses?

It started as a dream of mine years ago when I read a book called the Tao of Equus by Linda Kohanov. At the time, it was only that: a dream. About 4 years ago, working as a Court Reporter in Newmarket for 6 years it dawned on me how horses and the FEEL method could help so many of the people that walked the halls of the courthouse. The victims of crime, especially domestic abuse, the accused persons, dealing with addictions and other mental health issues, and our youth, acting out through criminality, when they really were just trying to cope with their own emotional turmoil. I also witnessed the toll it takes on the people who work within the justice system: police, EMS, lawyers, judges, Court staff, and how vicarious trauma can impact those people’s lives as well. At the time, I had just purchased a farm and brought my own horses home to live with me. The rest, as they say, is history.

What sort of programming do you offer?

I’ve created three distinct branches using FEEL principles to target those areas identified in the courthouse.

HAY – Horses and Youth – violence prevention, victim awareness, emotional integrity et cetera.

HELP – Personal development, self help, addiction recovery, healthy relationships, et cetera.

HOPE – Professional development for anyone working in high stress environments, dealing with vicarious trauma, post traumatic stress, burnout et cetera.

Tell us about the horses used in the program.

I currently have 10 horses here. They range in age from 5 to 25. There are multiple breeds, sizes and colours and come from completely different backgrounds: dressage, school horse, trail horse, racehorse. Some of them came here as rescues; starving or sick or abandoned (or all three!). Some of them have known nothing but the most loving and kind homes and owners. I don’t want to give away too much about them. Part of the fun of FEEL activities is the process of learning about them, and what they can teach you about yourself.

harmony with horses

What are your goals for this year?

I realise that the future of Harmony with Horses will depend on creating a strong and loyal support network of strategic partners to deliver the best outcome for the most people. I need resources in the justice system – lawyer referrals, victim witness endorsement, probation officers and police. I also need resources in the community and charity organisations such as rehabilitation centres, women’s shelters, fund raising initiatives, and raising awareness. Guidance counsellors, therapists and HR professionals need to understand how work with the horses can augment and enhance their hard work to help people through their difficulties. This year my focus is on developing those relationships and delivering the work to the people they bring out to the farm.

Next 5 years?

I have one big project left to do so that I can deliver programs throughout the year, and not just when the sun is shining. I need a covered space to do the work. That’s an expense of $150,000 to $250,000. I would like to see this becoming my full time job in 5 years, which in effect, would be my retirement.

What are you struggling with?

There are two things I think most of us struggle with when we’re trying to manifest our dreams: Time and money. I have a great job now that I work from home which is perfect for allowing me develop and deliver Harmony with Horses at the same time. Right now it pays all the bills and I’m very grateful for that. But every hour that I’m working, my attention is diverted from taking Harmony with Horses to the next level, and while it is a great job, my hourly income is modest at best. I created Harmony with Horses as a non-profit because I truly believe that the people who need it most may not be in a position to pay the prescribed fees for service. Horses are expensive. They each require at least $200 a month just to feed them and tend to their basic care, (vet, farrier). That’s $2,000 a month right there in expenses ongoing each and every month whether they’re working or not. Four of the horses I use are owned by other people who of course contribute to these expenses but it’s an ongoing balance between earning enough to pay the bills and taking the much needed time out of my day to develop partnerships and deliver the work to the people that need it.

Is there anything else you would like others to know?

The hardest journey anyone can take is the journey within. Horses have been our companions on so many journeys historically, going into battle with us, seeking out new frontiers with us, plowing our fields, carrying our belongings, sharing our homes and our families. That relationship goes back thousands of years. To me it makes perfect sense that they should be with us as our guides as we take that journey within to find peace and purpose and connection to a power greater than ourselves.

For more information, check out their website at or find them on Facebook.

Harmony with Horses is also hosting an open house Thursday June 9 from 2-5pm. You can find out more on our events page.

An open house focussing on their youth programming is on Wednesday June 8 from 1-4pm. Again, you can find more information here.

May 26, 2016 |

Free Coursera Course on Horses


Are you itching for some summer learning or just want to learn more about horses? Coursera is offering a free course from the University of Florida called “The Horse Course: Introduction to Basic Care and Management”, starting May 23rd (so enroll now!) According to the course syllabus, this six week session will cover everything from different breeds, physiology, behaviour, feeding management, breeding management and equine health.  Coursework consists of video lectures, interactive online discussions with others taking the class and quizzes each week.


While the course is offered for free, students have the option to purchase the course for $64 (CAD). Purchasing the course will allow you to achieve a certificate at the end (although the free version will give you a printable Statement of Accomplishment upon successful completion of the course.  The difference between the paid version and free version is that there are more in depth projects to complete and you will need to verify your identity when it comes time to taking quizzes.


I completed the free version of the course in 2014, and although I did find the majority of it to be geared towards people who have no prior experience with horses, there were useful pieces of information that I picked up that I had not previously known.  Because anyone in the world can take courses through Coursera, you get students from all walks of life and from different countries.  The online discussions are quite interesting as they give you insight into horse management practices from all over the world.


Has anyone else taken this course before? How did you find it? Let us know!


You can find the course on Coursera here:

May 23, 2016 |

Montreal imposes temporary ban on horse carriages


The mayor of Montreal announced on May 17th that there will be a one year ban on the city’s horse drawn carriages as that is the amount of time the city will need to come up with new guidelines for the carriage industry.



In April a carriage horse was in injured when it collided with a vehicle, prompting this most recent review of the industry.  This isn’t the first time the city’s mayor has prompted an inquiry into the safety and welfare in the carriage horse industry. Last year a number of photographs appeared online depicting a horse that had slipped and fallen near a construction zone. ( This particular incident not only caused the mayor to call for a report on the health and welfare of the carriage horses, but a number of animal activists have been calling for a ban on the popular tourist attraction in the city.

The city is divided on the issue as animal rights activists and welfare proponents say that the horses do not belong in the city, while others say the horse and carriages are a part of Montreal culture.  A similar debate is taking place in New York as there have been a number of accidents involving carriages and vehicles in the city that have populated the media recently.

What are your thoughts?

May 18, 2016 |

Interview with Renee Fukumoto


In this blog post, we sit down with Renee Fukumoto, an artist in Georgetown, Ontario who has a passion for capturing the beauty that is horses, as well as other animals, in her work.

A little bit about Renee Fukumoto.

I am a Calgary-born Canadian artist, currently living in Georgetown, Ontario with my husband and four now adult children, as well as a collection of cats, a dog and a horse (although he is boarded out!)
Inspired to capture the natural world and my passion for animals from the time I could grasp a pencil, I find myself continuing to express this fascination through a variety of media.

renee fukumoto

“Move Along”

What sort of mediums do you work in?

Working in acrylic, charcoal, graphite, ink, oils, watercolour, photography and sculpture engages my desire for experimentation and exploration of the power and beauty of our world. I have also just begun to explore jewellery creation, using silver metal clay.

What are your favourite things to paint and photograph?

After working to commission for many years, painting and drawing portraits of people’s pets, children and homes, I began exploring my first passion: horses. I have also begun exploring the use of colour after working primarily in monochrome (graphite, charcoal and ink) for so long. The adventure of exploring these two passions, horses and colour, is very refreshing and exciting. I am also planning a collection of paintings inspired by my own children, now grown up, as well as other children. So many ideas, so many paintings in my head, so little time!

Where can people go to view some of your art?

You can see some of my work in Georgetown, Ontario at The Artisans’ Attic Gallery and Gifts, on Main Street.
* You can also find me online at:
* –
* –
* –

renee fukumoto

“Getting Reacquainted”

May 17, 2016 |

Horse Day – June 4, 2016


Each year, the first Saturday of June is marked as Canada’s National Horse Day. This year, Horse Day 2016 is taking place June 4, 2016, which will mark the eighth anniversary of the event. Horse Day was originally an initiative developed by the Ontario Equestrian Federation as a way to raise public awareness and promote the horse. Now it is celebrated across Canada with events and celebrations to allow Canadians of all ages and experience levels to honour, discover and explore the equestrian world. For many people, this is the chance to get up close and personal with a horse for the first time. It is also the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the important contributions made by horses in our nation’s heritage and how people of all ages and experience levels can continue to enjoy horses in sport and leisure.

horse day

Horse Day Events to Attend

To find a Horse Day 2016 event near you click HERE and keep an eye on the Tri-City Horse Sport event page for events in Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo, Guelph and the surrounding area.

Want to host a Horse Day Event?

If you wish to host Horse Day 2016 event, register your event HERE.

There is even a National Drawing Contest for youth between the ages of 3 and 16. Enter HERE!

Check out the Ontario Equestrian Federation Facebook page for pictures from last year’s Horse Day in Toronto.

For more information on Horse Day 2016, visit or contact Julie Cull, Equine Canada Program Manager, Participation and Equine Development by email at or by phone at 1-866-282-8395 x 120.

horse day

May 11, 2016 |

Trail Riding Etiquette for Equestrians


Following basic trail riding etiquette can help ensure the safety of you, your horse and others who you ride with or meet on the trail. But just as importantly, it can keep the trails open to horses. Many trails are closed to horses because of riders who abused the privilege. Remember that you are always an ambassador of horseback riding and that we all share the outdoors. If non-riders always meet a courteous and polite horseman on the trail, their impression of all of us will hopefully remain positive.

trail riding etiquette

  1. Take Responsibility– Before heading out on the trail, get informed about where horses are permitted and not permitted.   Obey trail closure and seasonal use signs. Ride only on trails that are marked as being open to horses and stay on those trails. Don’t make new trails or use unsigned trails. In winter, stay off groomed ski and snowmobile trails.
  2. Leave a Small Footprint – Horses can cause a lot of damage to the trail. Do your best to the leave the trail as you found it. Avoid going on wet trails even if there are no closed signs posted. If your horse leaves tracks deeper than 1/2” stay off the trail. Kick manure off the trail (hikers and bikers will appreciate it). Take out what you take in and nothing else.
  3. Control your Horse– Before taking your horse on the trail, train him to handle situations that may occur there. Horses that kick, bite or are very spooky are not safe on a shared trail. Always ride with a more experienced horse and rider especially if you or your horse are new to trail riding. Always leave at least one horse length between you and the rider in front of you so that you are out of kicking range and have enough time to stop should something happen.
  4. Expect to Meet Other Trail Users – Keep to the right when meeting oncoming trail users. If you are passing someone in front of you, make sure they know you are behind them. Pass in single file on the left after getting their permission to pass. If they are traveling with dogs or children, ensure they have them under control before passing. If others are passing you, tell them the safest way to get by. If you stop for a rest, move to the right side of the trail so that others have room to pass.  Unless you know the oncoming horse and rider and their abilities, it is safest to assume that the horse and rider are both inexperienced and be prepared that anything could happen as you or they go by. Do not try to squeeze by other horses, you are asking for all kinds of trouble. Instead, give yourself plenty of room to go around.
  5. trail riding etiquetteCommunicate – When you hear or see other trail users, speak up to let them know you are there. Call out a friendly greeting so they aren’t caught by surprise as they come around a corner.   You can decrease negative encounters by educating non-horse people in a friendly and respectful manner about how to safely approach and pass horses. Don’t forget to thank them for their co-operation.
  6. Right of Way on the Trails – Whoever is travelling uphill is given the right of way so that they don’t lose momentum.   This applies for bikers, hikers and horse riders. If it is a narrow trail with no way to move off to the side to let another pass, decide who should turn around.
  7. Safety – Always be prepared for the worst case scenario. Carry ID on yourself and on your horse in case you become separated. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Carry a basic first aid kit as well as a cell phone, water and some food. Bright, reflective safety vests are also a great idea if you ride in an area that allows hunting or if you have to ride down the road. Don’t forget your helmet!
  8. Be a Responsible Leader – When leading the pack or riding with anyone behind you, always ask before picking up the pace. If you speed it up without letting the other riders know, they may be unprepared for their horse to jump into a trot or canter and can fall off. Also warn when you are stopping to avoid rear end collisions. Warn of holes, bad footing or other hazards ahead. When possible, try not to hold back branches so that they do not snap back in the face of the rider behind you.  If you must hold back branches, warn the rider behind you to stay clear.  Keep track of others riding behind you so that no one gets left behind and take turns leading if possible. It is good practice for the horses to be able to ride anywhere in the lineup.

trail riding etiquette

The Ontario Trail Riders Association also has a trail rider handbook that is a great guide to staying safe and happy on the trails.

May 6, 2016 |

Horse Tail Ribbon Meanings


Have you ever been at a horse show or event where some of the horses have a ribbon in their tail?  Some people don’t know this, but those colours signify something about that horse. Do you know what the different colours mean?


Red ribbon

red ribbon

This one is probably the most common one seen. If you see a horse with a red ribbon in its tail, keep back!  This horse is known to kick.  While it is good practice to never get too close to a horse, people seem to really make an effort to stay away from the ones with red in their tails.  If you are an owner of one of these horses, putting ribbons in its tail is no excuse to let your horse get away with kicking.  Work on training your horse out of this habit.


Yellow ribbon

yellow ribbon


If you see a horse with a yellow ribbon in its tail, this means it is a stallion. Although the rider may be very capable of controlling their horse give this horse a lot of space (especially if you have a mare) so as not to antagonize it.  Again, the ribbon in the tail is no excuse to let your horse get away with bad behavior.


Blue ribbon

blue ribbon

In some regions, blue can also indicate a stallion, or it can indicate an exceptionally aggressive or dangerous horse.


Green ribbon

green ribbon

Green in the tail indicates an inexperienced horse (or rider). Everything may be new to them so they may be spooky or unpredictable so it’s best to give them a little more space than normal.


White ribbon

white ribbon

If a horse has a white ribbon in its tail, that means that it is for sale.  It is less obnoxious than putting a large “for sale” sign on your horse.  Prospective buyers are able to watch the horse in action at a show and know that it is for sale without having to walk up and ask the owner or rider.


Pink ribbon

pink ribbon

Mares in heat may sometimes wear a pink one in their tail. The horse may be extra cranky and prone to kick.  She may also be easily distracted by a stallion or be a distraction to one.

May 2, 2016 |

Podcast – Financial Planning for Equestrians with Lynn Whetham


Lynn Whetham is a Certified Financial Planner and Managing Partner at Stepright Capital in St. George, Ontario who is also an avid trail rider. She loves to camp and hit the trails in the Ganaraska Forest just outside of Peterborough, Ontario with her horse, Arrow. In this episode of the podcast, Lynn talks about financial planning and why it is important for equestrians and horse owners, what young riders can do for their financial planning and what the most common mistake equestrians and horse owners make with their money.



More information about Lynn and Stepright Capital can be found on their website ( If you wish to get in touch with Lynn to discuss your plans, you can contact her at or 1-866-218-6467.


April 30, 2016 |

2016 Equine Canada Convention Recap


In case you were unable to attend the Equine Canada convention in Montreal this past weekend, here is a taste of what you missed:

The theme of the convention was “change”. In her “Year in Review” talk, Equine Canada CEO Eva Havaris used this word many times. The Canadian sport system is changing and if we want equestrian sport in Canada to be seen as something of quality and relevant, change within the organization needs to occur.  At the Awards Gala on the Friday evening, the new logo and name, “Equestrian Canada” was unveiled.

equine canada
The official launch of the new brand, including a new and revitalized EC website, will take place in June 2016.

Havaris also stated  the 5 key priorities that Equine Canada/Equestrian Canada would be striving to work towards in their change are

  1. Build a best in class federation
  2. Grow resources
  3. Offer quality service
  4. Major games – need to get Canada behind the sport, not just equestrians
  5. Improve focus and relevance to programs and services

At the Athlete’s Panel, the topic of discussion was “it takes a village”. In order to improve our high performance strategy, we need to pay more attention to the team surrounding the athlete.  These high level horses have a whole team behind them, including coaches, veterinarians, massage therapists, nutritionists, etc. but as athletes, we seem to forget to pay the same level of care to ourselves.

The Equine Industry Development Forum touched on two topics.  The first topic was pre-purchase examinations with speakers Dr. Mary Bell and Dr. Melanie Barham.  The takeaway message from this presentation was that veterinarians cannot legally pass or fail a horse.  What the exam is intended to do is help the purchaser make an assumption of risk. There are different requirements of horses that are going to be used for high levels of competition versus a pleasure horse so what may not work for one purchaser may work for another. A horse may have something come up in a pre-purchase exam that may be a career ender for one purchase but another may be able to manage the issue and go on to have many years of success with the horse.

It had been suggested that there be standards and guidelines in place for pre-purchase examinations but standards across the board may not be feasible as the longevity and usefulness of the horse will depend a lot on the management of the horse and how much risk the purchaser is willing to take. Because there are a number of misconceptions about the pre-purchase exam, educating sellers and buyers was seen as a possible solution. Equine Canada will be releasing a buyers guide to be released in the future.

The second topic of the session was biosecurity. Equine Canada has developed a biosecurity standard with a producer guide to come out this fall.  The standard is a set of guidelines and recommendations for horse owners and caretakers to protect their horses from dangerous diseases. The producer guide will outline how to implement the guidelines set out in the standard.

April 28, 2016 |

Another accident between vehicle and horse-drawn carriage


Just weeks after a fatal collision between a vehicle and horse-drawn carriage in Dundalk, Ontario (, another collision between a buggy and vehicle occurred Sunday afternoon near the town of Belmore, Ontario.  Police are reporting that an equipment failure was the cause of the accident, causing the driver to lose control and overturn the seating compartment of the buggy. While 8 people were injured, there were no human fatalities. Unfortunately, the horse involved had to be euthanized.


Meanwhile, in Quebec, protestors gathered in front of city hall on Sunday in an effort to get Mayor Denis Coderre to ban horse-drawn carriages. Earlier last week, a video surfaced of one of the carriages in Montreal colliding with a vehicle. Protestors are concerned with working conditions of the horses, noting that it is unsafe for the horses to work in the city with vehicles around and having to work in the heat.

The carriage drives are arguing that the carriage industry is vital to the city’s tourism and that the horses are checked over by veterinarians on a regular basis.


What is your take on buggies/carriages in the city?

April 25, 2016 |
Skip to toolbar