Frequently Asked Questions

Why was Pro-EFW created?

A multidisciplinary group of professionals and practitioners working, studying and researching in the field of equine facilitated wellness across Canada have come together with a desire to build a community of people who are like minded in their approach and philosophy to working with humans and equines.  We want to belong to an organization that holds a high standard of ethics, certification, education and training to bring credibility and professionalism to this important field of work.  Pro-EFW is also committed to creating a strong network of people who want to work with their own equines in a respectful relationship, and to provide support, education and mentorship in this learning process.  If you want to learn more about Pro-EFW’s history you can go to Guiding Principles.

What is Pro-EFW’s view on the role of the equine?

We all know, and research confirms, that spending time with equines can be hugely beneficial, healing and inspirational for humans.  But what about for the equine?  The role of equines in this work and how this work impacts them – both positively and negatively — are of central importance.  Thus, a key underlying principle of Pro-EFW is that the equine is respected and valued as a sentient being and partner.  This influences our ethics, certification standards, recommendations for training and more; it underpins everything that Pro-EFW has developed and is working towards.  For more information please refer to the Pro-EFW Code of Ethics.

Who can join Pro-EFW?

You can! Pro-EFW membership is open to anyone who is interested in the field or who wants to develop knowledge and skills related to working with equines as sentient beings and partners. You do not need to have any particular qualifications, nor do you need to be practicing in the field of Equine Facilitated Wellness. Certification is different from membership and involves a number of pre-requisites and training requirements.

Is Pro-EFW just for certified mental health professionals?

No…  Pro-EFW is dedicated to supporting and working with professionals in the human services field, equine professionals, and individuals who want to enjoy equines on a deeper level by learning how to build respectful partnerships with them.

What are the benefits of Pro-EFW membership and certification?

There are many reasons to join Pro-EFW, whether or not you decide to pursue certification. As a member you will be joining a community of like-minded people who can support and encourage each other, share ideas and discuss challenges. You will receive regular newsletters exploring current issues and topics in the field.  Additionally, you will have access to training and other services with professionals in the field who share common core philosophies, have met high standards of professionalism and expertise, and are committed to the well-being and health of the profession and all those within it.

As a Certified Equine Facilitated Wellness Professional you will have access to a nationally recognized certification that will allow you to demonstrate to your clients, funders and the public that you have met an independently developed level of skills, experience and knowledge in the field of Equine Facilitated Wellness.  This will greatly enhance your own credibility and safety.  You will also have access to more tangible benefits such as reduced insurance rates.

How long does the certification process take?

This depends on the education, experience and training that you already have, and on the level and nature of certification you are seeking.  There is no set time frame within which you must complete the certification process.

Will my training and experience be recognized?

Yes.  There are certain Pro-EFW approved trainings you will need to attend to achieve certification, but you will be given credit for other courses and education related to this field that you already have. Certification candidates will be asked to submit a portfolio of their education and experience when they apply to enter the certification process.  For more information please refer to our overview of the certification process

How is Pro-EFW different from other equine assisted/facilitated programs?

In accordance with International and Canadian best standards for certification,  training is be provided by independent trainers approved by Pro-EFW.

  •  Has candidates from three streams:
    • Equine Professional
    • Learning Professional
    • Mental Health Professional
    • All three streams train and learn equally together
  • It is a ‘robust’ certification that ask that candidates have skills and experience in a profession and with horses.
  • You can work alone if you have the equine experience to demonstrate that you can keep novices safe and you understand horses.
  • It is ‘Scope of Practice’ driven and individual to each EFW Professional
  • In Pro-EFW the Equine Professional is more than an assistant. They play an important role in improving the lives of equestrians and equines
  • It is Canadian, developed by practicing professionals based on their learnings about the work and the horses

How is EFW different from therapeutic riding?

Therapeutic Riding is mainly focused on riding lessons for children, youth and adults with physical and/or developmental disabilities.  Therapeutic Riding (TR) provides a holistic approach to rehabilitation, physical therapy and recreation. The instructors are working on improving the riders’ cognitive, physical and developmental abilities, as well as their social skills.  Although there is some cross over in the benefits of Therapeutic Riding and Equine Facilitated Wellness the goals that are set by the TR Instructor are different from that of a Pro-EFW Professional.  For example in therapeutic riding an instructor may be working with a rider who has suffered brain damage from abuse or neglect.  Some of the goals in therapeutic riding would be to have the child participate in a therapeutic sport and recreational activity where they are motivated to work on their memory, attention span, communication, body awareness, coordination, self-esteem and confidence while they are learning riding skills and how to care for their equine.  Certified Equine Facilitated Wellness Professionals who are certified as a Learning or Mental Health Professional may work with the same person on the ground within their Scope of Practice to intervene appropriate to their area of expertise.  An Equine Professional may incorporate riding into their EFW practice but they would also need to work within their Scope of Practice in regards to their knowledge and experience in working with people with developmental and/or physical disabilities to ensure a safe environment for both humans and equines.

Will I need to work with a partner?

Pro-EFW prioritizes the physical and emotional safety for human and equines who are participating in Equine Facilitated Wellness.  In many cases this requires the physical presence of two (or more) practitioners during a session and certainly if they are working with groups of people.  We also recognize that this is not always possible or even preferable when working with an individual client.  There are situations in which an appropriately trained and dually/tri certified Professional (Equine/Learning Professional, Equine/Mental Health Professional or Tri Certified Professional) will  work alone with a client.   Learning or Mental Health Certification Candidates who do not have sufficient experience to qualify as an Equine Professional will be assessed within their Levels of Expertise in Equine Experience to determine the category that describes how they will facilitate their EFW sessions.  You can find the Level of Expertise for working with equines HERE. For more information please refer to the Certification Outline HERE and the Scope of Practice HERE. Equine Professionals are able to continue to work alone within their Scope of Practice. They will work with a partner if they are entering into Learning or Mental Health areas.

Here are the three independent Pro-EFW trainers offering the 4 levels of training in various locations in Canada and the UK


Location: Chiron’s Way
Maple Ridge, British Columbia
(45 min east of Vancouver)

For Upcoming 2024 Training Dates and more information click below. 


Locations: Generation Farms, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC

Highlands Gate Wellness, West of Ottawa, Ontario

For Upcoming 2024 Training Dates and more information click below. 


Location: Healing Hooves, Cremona, Alberta

United Kingdom; Inverness and Edinburgh

For Upcoming 2024 Training Dates and more information click below. 


Our Pro-EFW Membership and Certification Renewal Year is from April 1 to March 31.


If you would like to be a general member and supporter of Pro-EFW, click here.

Certification Candidates must renew their Certification Candidate status every year. This $80 fee includes the Pro-EFW membership. Click here to renew

To apply for certification click here and you will be prompted to pay both the certification application fee and your Pro-EFW membership.



You must renew your certification annually. The $55 Pro-EFW Membership is included in your renewal fee, which will vary depending on your certification.

Click here to renew your certification.

The Certification Portal is accessible to Pro-EFW Members who have previously purchased their certification application and are working through the Pro-EFW Certification Process click the button below to access the portal.

For certification application click below