We offer Mindfulness-Based Equine Assisted Therapy on a beautiful farm located at the northern end of the famous Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.  We are surrounded by nature and wildlife.  Deer roam the land and eagles and hawks grace the sky.  Our facility includes a post and beam stable, a round pen and two arenas.  One arena is covered which allows our services to be offered year-round.

Dr. de Blois has extensive education both as a research scientist and as a clinician. 

  • M.Sc. Psychology, Université Laval, Quebec City.  Area of specialization: Horse cognition and behavior.
  • Ph.D. Psychology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst MA.  Area of specialization: Biopsychology, human and non-human primate behavior.
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, New England Regional Primate Research Center, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, University of Denver.
  • Three times recipient of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Fellowship
  • Registered Professional Counsellor, Canadian Professional Counsellors Association #3456.
  • Certified Clinical Trauma Professional - International Association of Trauma Professionals
  • Certified Trauma Therapist - Intensive Trauma Therapy Inc, Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Member, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
  • Member, International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation
  • Personal mindfulness practice since 2008
  • Owner, Lone Larch Akhal Tekes horse breeding and training farm, Lumby, British Columbia, www.lonelarch.ca

     The Equine Assisted Therapy Institute is pleased to welcome Mr. Shannon Pennington, founder and chief officer of the North American Firefighter Veteran Network (www.firefighterveteran.com).  Mr. Pennington joins Dr. de Blois in her work with military veterans and first responders both as a peer support and advocate.  He brings with him a distinguished career with the Calgary Fire Department that spanned over twenty six years.  Mr. Pennington was a Heavy Rescue and EMT(A)/First Responder firefighter.  In addition, he was President of the Calgary Fire Department Honor Guard for eight years.  Mr. Pennington is also a retired Warrant Officer from the Canadian military.  He was part of the regular and reserve forces.  His regimental affiliations include the Royal Westminster Regiment of Canada, the Calgary Highlanders of Canada and CFSME Chilliwack.  

     In 2012, Mr. Pennington was invited by the Mental Health Commission of Canada to attend the 6th World Congress on Mental Health and Stigma in the Workplace.  He received the working title PWLE (i.e., Person With Lived Experience) – someone who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has learned to live a productive, healthy life in spite of his mental health challenges.

     Mr. Pennington distinguished himself through his relentless advocacy and lobbying efforts in the province of Alberta regarding PTSD in first responders.  His efforts culminated with the adoption of Alberta Bill 1, giving PTSD Presumptive Coverage for Alberta’s 27,000 listed first responders in Fire, EMS, and Law Enforcement under the Workers Compensation Board coverage.

     Mr. Pennington is board certified in Stress Management with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.  He has been recruited by Langara College to be an adult education instructor in their on line program about PTSD Stress Resiliency for First Responders which covers all aspects of self care in a trauma rich workplace. 

     “NAFFVN and First Responder Support Network Canada have joined forces with Dr. Sandra de Blois because we strongly believe in the work that she does for people with operational stress injuries. As a First Responder in the Military, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, E.M.S., you know what it takes to meet your occupational challenges and the toll it takes on your inner self.  I have been impressed over the years with Sandra’s relentless commitment to see our First Responders and military personnel recover from their psychological and emotional injuries.  The setting at her ranch is very conducive to recovery and “post-traumatic” growth.  Dr. de Blois meets our Gold Standard in her practice and brings a wealth of strength and understanding"

- Shannon Pennington