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Gabriola couple filming documentary series on equine therapy

Equus: Healing Through Horses could air next summer
Anastasia Hirst and fiancé John Fulton are headed across North America, filming a documentary series entitled Equus: Healing Through Horses. (Submitted photo)

A couple from Gabriola Island have embarked on a trek across North America to film a documentary series on the therapeutic power of horses.

Anastasia Hirst has spent the past seven years working as an equine-facilitated wellness practitioner at Generations Farms in Nanaimo and while she said there is research on the value of equine therapy, there needs to be more.

Equine therapy has been used to treat a number of things, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Hirst wants to “validate the field,” prompting her and fiancé John Fulton, a filmmaker, to begin recording footage for Equus: Healing Through Horses.

Ultimately, the two want the work in the field to become more accessible to people who can benefit from it.

“A big part of it is that people think it’s either therapeutic riding or it’s some kind of horse whisperer woo-woo stuff and it’s not,” said Hirst. “It’s a really well-established field and there is research done on it and it’s like somebody needed to go and gather it all up to present it.”

Hirst said horses are naturally herd animals, so they are good at reading emotions of one another because that’s how they stay safe. Horses don’t judge emotions as good or bad, it’s all just information and it invites people to be authentic, she said.

“We’re not seated in an office talking about the changes that you need to make or why things have happened,” said Hirst. “You actually get to practise it and feel it … and that actually creates a deeper, longer-lasting change.”

Hirst and Fulton were in Edmonton as of Friday and are expected to travel to Ontario, North Virginia, Texas, Arizona, through California, back to B.C. and will edit episodes after that.

“We’re hoping to be back from this trip in October-ish and we’re hoping to go to Australia, so the first episode might be next summer, we’re guessing,” said Hirst.

For more information, search Equus: Healing Through Horses on Facebook.

Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
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