Students learn leadership, teamwork by working with horses

Horses have an uncanny ability to attune themselves with humans, and seven North Peace Secondary students began to learn that firsthand last week as part of an equine assisted learning class.

For the next 12 weeks, students will meet once a week at the Rock Alder Ranch near Charlie Lake, paired with a horse to work through obstacles in a series of challenges meant to build leadership and teamwork skills.

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The horses are the teacher, instructor Shawna-Marie Phillip said, and communicate through body language to get through the obstacles given to them and the students.

“Horses have really high functioning survival skills,” Phillip said. “That’s why they’re a good match for humans.”

Horses are also able to communicate with people without blame or judgement when a mistake is made — they simply react, she said.

“Once you get to know one another, you start to work as a real good team,” Phillips said.

It's the first year the program is being offered to high school students after a successful run at Dr. Kearney school.

Students will journal their experiences throughout the program.

“Sometimes, you won’t realize what you’ve learned until you meet some sort of challenge and think, what did I learn from the horse?” Phillips said. “You apply that to regular life and have the horse to help walk you through it.”

Thirty Dr. Kearney students will take part in the program after the spring break.

To learn more, visit Frontier Horsemanship Academy on Facebook. 

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at

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