Certification Program

Equine Facilitated Learning and Coaching

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Guide to becoming a Cheval Messager Facilitator & Coach

The “Cheval Messager Experiential Learning ®” is an equine-facilitated learning and coaching certification program,  instructed by Danielle Leduc. The on-line courses relating  to the theory  will also be given by Danielle, supported by Isabelle Bérubé clinical psychologist .

Our Vision

The equine programs are designed with the intention of :

  • Incorporating the profound wisdom of the horse into our lives
  • Fostering awareness, self-discovery and personal empowerment
  • Promoting healing within the Self, Here & Now


A Three-Pronged Focus

At the very heart of the « Cheval Messager » experiential learning approach lies :


The free and unrestrained spirit of the horse, allowing a flow of energy in a space of learning


The increased ability of the participant involved in « experiential learning »


The vital bond between the above two pillars, mutually reinforced through facilitation techniques employed by the facilitator

Horses Helping Humans

Possessed with innate abilities in emotional intelligence by virtue of their herd hierarchy, horses are equally endowed with exceptional intuitive qualities, as they are basically prey animals and therefore exposed to predators.  Read more…

Our Approach

  • The on-site experiential learning program is conducted in French and English on a yearly basis in Saint-Isidore in Québec, Canada at the « Ecuries Cheval Messager » stables run by Danielle Leduc.
  • Throughout the duration of the course, regular access to a horse is necessary for regular ground-based training between sessions. The stables are at your disposal for this purpose, in case you do not happen to be a horse owner.
  • Mentoring program and co-facilitation experience during training:
    • The opportunity is offered to participants to observe and/or co-facilitate equine-assisted workshops in real conditions under Danielle Leduc’s mentorship
    • Moreover, Danielle provides on-line individual coaching sessions over a one-year period.
    • This practical and extended coaching program gradually instills self-confidence in the future facilitator, focusing on the latter’s own capacity-building initiatives, upon completion of the certification program.
  • We strongly advocate an holistic approach based on mind-body interactions and on the inseparable link between Man and Nature. Our goal is to persist « on the path of Love », to live our lives consciously and to fully embrace our interconnectedness with all living beings.
  • In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, awareness and science are seen as intertwined, and hence incorporated into teaching programs of ancestral concepts and knowledge as well as into latest methods of smart energy management and emotional regulation. If « science without consciousness is but the ruin of the soul » – (François Rabelais), then in our opinion, a 21st century scientific approach to human consciousness, would bring awareness to a wider public, for whom a rational approach based on innovative concepts is a prerequisite.
  • Such an approach covers subject areas taught from a variety of perspectives and facilitates a seamless integration of new experiences, thereby illustrating the interconnectedness of disciplines such as behavioral and cognitive sciences, neurosciences and scientific study of consciousness, cardiac coherence, quantum field theory, non-linear science and ancestral wisdom.
  • SELF-CARE : we acknowledge the risk of emotional distress inherent in any helping relationship. For this reason, one of the objectives of the equine-facilitated practitioner training is the ability to recognize when and how to act as models of selfcare. The energy and emotional crisis situations are multiple and frequent. They must be identified at the earliest and subsequently « managed » effectively with appropriate and simple techniques, thereby preventing a risk of burnout.

Experiential Learning

The underlying principle behind this approach is the ability to practice mindfulness in a protected environment and to experience the present moment awareness in our body.

As we work alongside a horse, we develop a better understanding of mindfulness and we equally experiment and learn new skills to develop a new mode of being, cultivating mindful self-awareness into our daily environment.

Horses dramatically improve our perceptive skills, our choices and their occurrences in our physical world, which can be described as a quantum leap into our new reality. Being a true reflection of our inner self, the horse guides us to the right path by accurately mirroring our state of mind, and enabling us to intuitively connect with ourselves, through our emotions and the information the latter give us about our real-time experience.

Working through our emotions without judgment or alteration, and valuing them as sources of information, enable us to change our perceptions, beliefs and attitudes once and for all. This state of    « wakeful presence » and letting go is accompanied by an emotional, mental and physical « shift ».

The horse will only attune to our energy at a deeper and profound level i.e. when we are mindfully present by its side and consistent with our authentic self. In situations where we happen to dissociate ourselves from our inner thoughts, the horse will disengage and will interact again once we regain connection with our heart and mind. It is always our inner state the horse will respond to i.e. our authentic self.

The answers lie within ourselves and have never been beyond our reach. We have simply stopped paying attention to them. We have stopped aligning with our Higher Self for answers. We lost access to our primary insight i.e our intuition, as we gradually evolved into adulthood, paying more attention to the physical world, the mind and the conscious thoughts. Constantly torn between the past and the future, between guilt, shame or anger related to past memories and the future-related desire or fear, we have forgotten how simple it is to reconnect to our Higher Self, in the only space that really matters i.e. the present moment. Being a true reflection of our inner state, the horse enables us to reconnect intuitively to our Higher Consciousness, to our emotions, and to the insightful information the latter may disclose.

Equine-assisted experiential learning is an approach developed by Linda Kohanov in the 1990s and taught at the dawn of the 21st century. Very much a pioneer in this field, Linda Kohanov is the author of numerous reference books. She has also trained a generation of facilitators and instructors in the USA and on international level. This innovative method has been practiced on a daily basis by many participants for more than two decades. Its benefits have been widely observed in many fields :

    • On corporate level and within various age groups, the equine facilitated learning has a significant impact on leadership and communication skills within a particular group. It equally enhances relational and emotional skills, as well as crisis management abilities.
    • On individual level, horses help in developing our intuitive faculties, emotional intelligence, assertiveness, autonomy, self-confidence, and individual responsibility. 
    • On community level, horses can exert a significant sociological impact by teaching us how to develop our resilience capacities, and thus help alleviate chronic stress, the greatest evil scourge of our times, and its devastating consequences, in terms of physical and mental health.

The Art of Facilitation

The role of the facilitator/coach in partnership with the horses

The role of the facilitator/coach, consists above all, of knowing how to invite the horse to share a space of freedom with its human partner, with the aim of making the latter feel safe enough to step out of his « comfort zone » and explore his inner consciousness.

In this space of « unlimited possibilities and potential » (Kathleen Ingram ) », the horse is a respected partner, considered as a sentient and an intelligent being in its own right as well as a co-facilitator in experiential training.

A successful experience in equine-facilitated training cannot be « directive   » like any classical coaching, for it relies on the development of specific qualities taught during the training program.

To be a Facilitator is to « embody the equine spirit » in thought, action and approach, to be caring, consistent, authentic, and intuitive, and to function without « pre-programmed expectations ». To be a facilitator, is synonymous to developing a Yin approach in a predominantly Yang world. To cut a long story short, it’s all about turning awareness into action.

Equine-facilitated practitioner training opens the door to a new direct personal experience, insight and self-transformation, and plays a pioneering role in the field of personal development and self discovery. Horses reflect and respond honestly to man’s behavior and therefore act as a mirror allowing humans to gain personal insight. As facilitators, the ability to create our own « shift » and to fully experience it in our lives promotes a greater self-awareness in our customers.

The mentioned certification program is basically about walking on the experiential path, guided by horses, with the eventual aim of accompanying future clients on their journey to personal development in symbiosis with their equine partners.

It also means receiving the necessary training tools and learning how to use them on a daily basis alongside the horse, as well as through practice via workshops and facilitation sessions.

Read more…

Cheval Messager Certification Program

Online theoretical modules

In view of the current sanitary situation and with access to the latest information technology, we are complying with the necessary precautions to ensure public health and safety. The online theoretical modules allow you to limit your exposure in a pandemic situation, and above all to free up the time spent on learning about horse-facilitated coaching experiences during an instructor-led training class.

The Cheval Messager certification program emphasizes the need for full instructor-led training courses in horse facilitation techniques, in the form of ground-based sessions or thematic workshops. The ground-based horse-assisted coaching is provided by Danielle Leduc and the theoretical courses are instructed online on an interactive platform with video footage and written material in PDF format.

Some specific parts of the theoretical training are taught by Isabelle Bérubé, a qualified psychologist and a certified facilitator/coach in equine experiential learning (F.E.E.L.). Modules related to clinical psychology are taught online by Isabelle Bérubé, clinical psychologist.  

Read more…

Sign-up now to be notified of the next program dates!

This program is suitable for:

No matter which field of business activity you operate in, you are genuinely passionate about horses and/or about helping people. You are determined to experience the magic of working with horses in a journey of learning, rooted in a holistic-based approach. Read more…


  • The « Cheval Messager » training program has a lot in common with a progressive evolutionary and phased career path that requires motivation, time and a receptive state of mind in between the teaching modules. An appropriate fitness level has to be maintained as far as the ground-based work with horses is concerned. Read more…

Certification Criteria

  • Only those who have successfully completed this training program and signed the Code of Ethics may earn the title of certified Cheval Messager Facilitator & Coach ®. The certified facilitators & coaches are listed on our website

Who are your potential customers?

The equine-assisted experiential learning is indeed a tool for personal development, professional expansion and complementary assistance, fully integrated into a holistic and therapeutic approach to training. The program has a broad customer base and also provides the opportunity to generate additional revenues, therefore offering a possibility of branching out in a totally new direction and adding another string to your bow.  Read more…


  • Module– from April 18 to April 21 2024
  • Module 2 – from May 30 to June 2 2024
  • Module 4 – from August 1 to August 4 2024
  • Module 4 – from September 12 to September 15 2024
  • Module 5 – from October 24 to October 27 2024
  • Module 6 – from November 5 to December 8 2024
**  Possibility of accommodation according to the geographic location of the participants (reunification of modules with extending days)  **


Become a certified Equined Facilitated Learning Facilitator & Coach

What is included
  • Cheval Messager Facilitator & Coach Certificate
  • Access to theoretical content online 24x7 for 1 year
  • 1 year of mentoring with Danielle Leduc after the end of the program
  • Practical classes in person
  • Access to the horses for the practical activities
  • Individual mentoring in person during the program (modules 4 and 5)
  • Limited class size for a better learning experience

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