Equine Guided Learning

EXcellence Created through Equine assisted Learning

Westwind Farm North has established the E.X.C.E.L Center as a centre of excellence in the field of equine guided learning. We are currently offering a number of seminars in personal development, leadership and inspiration. 

F.E.E.L. -  Facilitated Equine Enhanced Learning

Developed for Educators who are looking to participate in a unique learning experience using horses to help participants develop in the following areas: 

  • Increasing understanding of non-verbal communication and body language
  • Understanding somatic and personal energy
  • Developing a deeper awareness of how personal energy levels affects the learning environment

W.I.S.E.  -  Wisdom, Intuition, Self-Assurance through Equus

Developed for women of all ages who have a desire to increase their understanding of:

  • Intuitive/Instinctual Learning
  • Understanding, respecting and establishing personal boundaries
  • Learning to accept and align goals with reality to maximize success
  • Increasing awareness of expression, body language and non-verbal communication
  • Personal energy and leadership ability

E.L.E.V.A.T.E.  -  Executive Leadership Enhanced Vision Attained Through Equus

Developed for Coroporate Leaders and Executives who wish to experience a unique team building opportunity. With horses as your educators, participants will see through demonstration and task, tools for building inspired leaders and co-workers:

  • Synergy: Understand how your personal energy can elevate and enliven your team to achieve greater performance.
  • Congruency: See how ideas become reality through thought, action and intention.
  • Conflict/Confrontation:  Learn new and positive approaches to overcome differences.
  • Body Language:  Observe and understand positioning, non-verbal communication, gesturing and how if affects those around you.
  • Leadership: Learn to lead through trust and congruency of thought and action.

P.O.W.E.R.  -  Positive Outlook with Equine Reassurance

Developed for adolescents, participants work with horses through a number of exercises designed to develop work ethics and an understanding of the dynamics of a high-functioning team. Participants will discover how to:

  • Develop trust in order to lead a team.
  • Turn conflict/confrontation into Team Work.
  • Use intention, action and responsibility to create uccessful outcomes.
  • Use personal attitude and energy to positively affect those around us.

Leslie Steel, Principal Instructor

A professionally certified Coach, Leslie brings more than 25 years of coaching experience to the Excel Programs.  Leslie has had both the honor and distinction of developing  both equine and human athletes to Championships at the Provincial, Regional and National levels. More than 40 years of daily hands on experience with horses has included stable management, breeding, foaling, equine health and fitness development for sport performance. The daily pleasure of being with these noble creatures has spawned the development of the Excel Centre for Equine Learning. Our hope is that the experience of working with horses as our teachers will ignite thought, spur conversation and offer a unique shared experience among colleagues.

Dr. Stephen Smith, Principal Instructor

 Stephen is a professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University.  An avid rider, he combined his passion for horses with his background in adult education to spearhead the FEEL program, which in turn lead to the establishment of the EXCEL Centre. His academic work is in kinesiology, physical education and health promotion. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in these fields from the University of Queensland, the Queensland University of Technology, and a doctorate degree from the University of Alberta in curriculum process and pedagogical practices. 

Stephen is Director of the pre-service teacher education programs and Coordinator of the doctoral program in curriculum theory and implementation in the Faculty of Education at Simon, Fraser University. He has extensive experience in professional development, and program design. Throughout his caree, he has conducted research in somatics, body language and energy psychology. Stephen is a recognized  leader in experiential learning amongst educators and he is excited to bring his academic and professional experience to the emerging field of experiential learning with horses.


Sarah MacDonald, Associate Instructor

Sarah is a graduate of Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences and will begin the Faculty of Education P.D.P program in September 2010.

Sarah has had a lifelong involvement with horses and competed successfully on the flat, over fences and was a Provincial Barrel Racing Champion in 2001. Sarah has broad equine industry experience that includes stable management, breaking and training horses and coaching.