Stable & Field – Nurturing Connections at Heartfelt Farm

by Cassidy Nunn | photos by Nunn Other Photography – 

“I always knew that I wanted to create a safe and healing place for children and animals,” says Katy Scoones, owner of Saanich’s Heartfelt Farm. It’s easy to see from the relaxed demeanor of the animals who call the farm home that her years of education and hard work spent transforming the property into a small farm has accomplished just that.

Katy is quick to credit her family for helping her to achieve this dream which was 12 years in the making. Both her daughters run programs through the farm alongside her, from Little Well Beings children’s camps and Stable Connections workshops as well as private sessions and leadership programs. Three miniature horses, two large horses, three goats, two dogs, nine chickens and one rooster are also important members of the “farmily.”

Katy’s goal has always been to “nurture connections to self, others and the natural world.” With a solid career as an art therapist behind her, she went on to complete training in Equine Facilitated Wellness through PRO- EFW Canada, Expressive Play Therapy, and Indigenous Focus Orienting Therapy and Complex Trauma. In this evidenced-based approach, she primarily works with children.

In her past role, she said she found herself “in an office and thinking: I’ve got to take these kids to the farm!” But at the time, that place didn’t exist and so began her work to find the perfect location for her dream farm.

In 2018 she found the right property but it wasn’t set up for horses. The horse barn was constructed along with paddocks, an area for the goats and chickens and a separate outbuilding (once a dog kennel) was converted into a studio where Katy offers her Art Therapy sessions. A playhouse stands at the front of the property, and there is a large garden plot, obstacle course and a roadside farm stand, the proceeds of which go towards feeding and caring for the therapy animals.

The three miniature horses (two were rescued) are at the core of many of the programs offered on the farm. Katy’s daughter, Hannah Scoones, is quick to add that at Heartfelt Farm they see the animals as sentient beings and as a result their needs are of the utmost importance. The miniature horses have days off from their work and “they’re listened to,” says Hannah, who is also currently working on completing her Equine Facilitated Learning certificate through Generation Farms with the hopes of continuing to work on the farm.

“All the animals know they will be seen, heard and listened to, and as a result they show up with their best selves,” adds Katy.
Katy cites horses as being helpful teachers; they have the capacity to mirror how we are doing at any given moment. The therapy animals can also help children in regards to boundaries and learning about consent. At the farm they look for “for two yeses” – one from the animal being approached and one from the participant doing the approaching. If either says no, they listen.

At Heartfelt Farm, play is seen as, essentially, a child’s work. “Children play naturally, but their play really opens up when they feel safe,” says Katy. An animal-ssisted Expressive Play Therapy session may include guiding the miniature horses through the natural obstacle course. This is done with a focus on relationship, respect and care, demonstrating that partnership is not about simply having control over the horse: it’s about authentic connection. Children are encouraged to support the other participants in the fun, creating a sense of belonging and community.

“What we learn in the company of animals we can take into our human social arena,” Katy says. “At Heartfelt Farm we believe that if children learn how to be in reciprocol relationships with animals and the environment, we can foster a culture of caring and sharing, something we believe this next generation will need as they learn to live in a new way with the earth and the environmental changes we face today,” says Katy.

With another successful summer of their Little Well Beings camps wrapping up, the Therapy work continues year-round. Katy is expanding the farm offerings and looking forward to collaborating and creating with other knowledge keepers in the future.

For more information on Heartfelt Farm’s wellness programs and therapy services visit or follow on Instagram at @heartfeltfarm_.

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