Equine Facilitated Mental Health & Learning Program


NWESC’s Equine Facilitated Mental Health and Learning (EFMHL) Program serves an essential role in fulfilling the mission and vision of NWESC. The program promotes a mutually beneficial relationship between humans and horses, resulting in healing and wholeness for all involved. By applying a comprehensive understanding of horse wellbeing and social emotional learning, NWESC helps horses and people heal from emotional and physical trauma, transform behaviors and renew their sense of purpose.

A high powered holistic solution for changing your perspective and changing your life.


Our Locations in the Upper Puget Sound Area

We collaborate with a network of NWESC approved off-site locations/herds in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish Counties. The locations are chosen based on their ability to partner with NWESC and share mutual stewardship goals and strategies. The structure of each program are chosen based on the convenience and goals of the clients or group.

Our Locations

Our Whole Heart Team

NWESC provides EFMHL through highly experienced practitioners who are certified in EFMHL by the leading international certifying organizations and are highly credentialed mental health professionals whose services are in alignment with the vision and mission of the organization.

At NWESC, the horses are the heart of it!

Through a combination of a small permanent EFMHL herd and our partner herds combined with the ability that the program has to provide emotional rehabilitation and enrichment for rehabilitating horses, all our horses not only offer support to those who need it but are enriched through attention geared toward being mindful and congruent, and an experience that is partnership -based -one of mutual respect and compassion.

Why Horses?

Equine Facilitated Mental Health and Learning (EFMHL) is a trauma-informed, social- emotional learning method being proven to create permanent limbic change. When working with horses, participants are required to access multiple parts of the brain at once, tap into their intuition, to problem solve and to feel deeply, resulting in expedient shifts. When combined with counseling-based processing and instructional skills it significantly increases participants’ awareness and control of their emotions, cognitions, and behaviors.

Programs pairing horses with people have been proven to be highly effective for a broad range of mental health issues and behavioral issues, as well as improving group dynamics - and much more. Most importantly, EFMHL offers opportunities for growth and healing to be a positive, joyful, inspiring experience.

Who Benefits from EFMHL and Why…

Horses are highly sensitive and reactive to their environment- requiring those working with them to be fully present and engaged- this offers chances to momentarily forget the stresses of life, the “to do” lists and to simply be present and focused on healing and personal growth. By practicing skills with a horse such as setting boundaries, trusting another, asserting themselves, handling frustrations, etc… clients are taught how to adapt those skills to their interpersonal lives, school, work, etc... Through the social emotional techniques used, people can learn:

Mindfulness        Social Adaptability        Confidence
Nonverbal Awareness        Resilience        Trust for Self & Others
Emotional Resonance        Mental Agility        Reconnect to the Nature

It's all on the ground

NWESC’s EFMHL sessions involve working with horses on the ground. Why? In this work, the horses are able to be themselves and not have to act a certain way. This provides a space to explore, be ourselves, and build relationships on equal footing.

What we offer…

Individual Empowerment and Therapeutic Programs


Mindset is everything. EFHML provides people with strong, positive outcomes. Equine facilitated work often helps people change and grow more effectively and quickly than traditional clinical and psycho-educational approaches.

Private and Group Programs for Women, Men, Youth, Teens, Professionals, Couples and Parents…


YOUTH Programs

Youth Programs offer something for all young people.

Equine facilitated programs develop and strengthen young people's hearts and minds while at the same time healing and lifting their spirit. Youth programs include anxiety management, individual empowerment opportunities, and overnight camping experiences.

ADULT Programs

Adult Programs provide an opportunity to explore, grow & heal.

Adult programs include anxiety management, individual empowerment opportunities, and parenting workshops.

Registration Forms

To reserve your space, please contact us, mail or pay deposit online and mail registration forms.

Mail to NWESC PO Box 1324 Monroe, WA 98272 or email forms to amy@nwesc.org

or see contact information below.

Community Partnership Programs

We partner with the community to make an impactful difference. NWESC’s EFMHL Program designs custom, trauma-informed, social-emotional learning solutions that strengthen, reinforce and integrate the positive change you are making in our community. From one day intensives to yearlong weekly sessions, our team can to help.


Our EFMHL Whole Heart Team leads schools, families, and community programs to continuously improve and sustain a system of supports in order to meet the social, emotional learning needs of our communities. NWESC specializes in collective impact—inspiring families, child welfare, mental health, social and health services, and schools to meet the needs of the whole person while shifting perspectives and creating awareness of the gifts horses bring and the challenges they face.

Click HERE for more information or see contact information below.

Professional Development Programs


Get out of the office, get down and dirty and GROW your skills! Equine Facilitated Professional Development Trainings for learning valuable skills, building resiliency, mastering mindset, team building and more..!

Click HERE for more information or see contact information below.

What people are saying about EFMHL

“EFMHL is amazing - working with the horses seems so simple from the outside yet the healing and growth of spirit that happens inside is profound! Working with horses allows clients to address important clinical issues in an experiential way. For some clients the equine work helps them work through issues that they are unable to face or even identify in a traditional office setting. For others it is can be great way to enhance insight and achieve results when done in conjunction with traditional therapy. As a therapist I believe 100% in equine work and feel fortunate to have it as part of my clinical toolbox.”

Lori Hartelius, MS, LMHC, CMHS, MHP

30 years in private practice, Mental Health/Wellness Therapist, Tulalip Behavioral Health & Recovery, MSPI Project Coordinator; Snohomish Children’s Wellness Coalition

NWESC Financial Assistance Program

It is our goal to make programs available to people in our community of all socioeconomic levels. Financial assistance is awarded on the ability to pay and NWESC's available funding.

Our Financial Assistance Program for individuals & families, veterans and community partnerships is actively being developed and is only possible through the generosity of our community.

Contact us to donate to the wellbeing of those in our community struggling to recover, cope and thrive.

Contact: Amy Schilder

NWESC EFMHL Program Manager

amy@nwesc.org ∙ (206) 940-8589 ∙ www.nwesc.org

PO Box 1324 ∙ Monroe, WA ∙ 98272

NWESC was founded on equine welfare, and all our programs reflect this.

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PO Box 1324 | Monroe, WA 98272 | (206) 940-8589 | info@NWESC.org