As promised, this week is an extension of Sunday’s post where I talked about my experience in St. Malo, MB. Here is my story about Lil’ Steps Miniatures and Wellness Farm. It’s a magical place!
Mud and manure on a newly melted ground made for a messy day trip to St. Malo, MB last Friday. But even though the prominent stench of farm animal droppings filled the air, the sun was warm, and being among the animals of Lil’ Steps Miniatures & Wellness Farm made the whole experience feel somewhat therapeutic.
In May 2014, Lucy Fouasse, 36, started Lil’ Steps—Manitoba’s first animal therapy farm to practice Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW).
EFW is an approach to human development through horsemanship, which Fouasse uses to help kids with a variety of needs.
Working with horses has been a part of Fouasse’s life since she got a severe head injury three years ago. It was then that her parents gave her a present that inspired the rest of her life—her first horse.
“Peanut was the only thing that made me feel better,” says Fouasse. “All I could do for about six months was play with her.”
Because of this experience, Fouasse primarily enjoys uses her horses in therapy sessions, but for certain kids, she finds her fainting goats, sheep, miniature pig Charlotte, chickens, Rusty the blind rooster, three dogs or kittens also come in handy.
“She has so many animals and does it all herself and does a great job with it,” says 46-year-old Gabrielle Desrosiers, a local who has familiarized herself with Lil’ Steps before deciding to send her daughter with severe anxiety.
Desrosiers says when it comes to matching the right animal with a child, the animals do most of the choosing.
“The horses go toward the kid and they feel each other, you know?” says Desrosiers.
In certain situations, however, it’s more obvious who should get paired together.
“Prince is a bit of a bully, so he’s perfect for dealing with kids who are experiencing bullying,” says Fouasse. “They come to understand the conditions that made him that way.”
Fouasse says the horses always seems to know exactly what the child needs, which has allowed her to help kids with anxiety, grief and loss, ADHD and autism, to name a few.
Fouasse will be holding workshops for children ages six-12 starting April 10 and the sessions will run until May 1. For more information, visit http://www.lilstepswellnessfarm.net or http://www.iadorestmalo.ca/lil-steps-miniatures-wellness-farm/.
Later this week I’ll be posting a review from a play called Reservations that I saw last night. After that, I promise to get back on track with fitness posts.