In a sandy outdoor horse arena, several horses and two miniature ones walked, played, and jostled each other.

There were laughs as one miniature horse cantered around the square, occasionally interacting with the others. A few nipped at each other; others stood by themselves.

The humans in the group, all of whom work with military veterans, murmured softly to themselves and each other.

One horse appeared to be a bully, they said; another seemed to be a loner.

The horses’ owner and the day’s host, psychotherapist Denise MacDonald, stepped forward. She and equine specialist Jo Anne Seibert led a brief discussion, asking the others for their opinions about the horses’ behaviour.

They then challenged the group to reflect upon how their own feelings shaped what they saw in the arena.

Friday’s morning demonstration of equine-assisted therapy was intended to give insight to those charged with veterans’ care. MacDonald said it was in response to what she’s seen at Clearview Counselling and Equine Centre, the practice she operates with her husband, Gary, on their rural property north of Belleville.  READ MORE