Montreal, QC H4E 2K5
As a child, Maria’s dream was to become a veterinarian, like the fictional Dr. Dolittle—able to communicate with animals, especially with horses. Being very sensitive and connected with spirits and nature at a young age, she learned from her early experiences that she had a role to play in accompanying people and animals through the transition of death.
Life decided to take her on a different journey to acquire skills in working with trauma, so that she could heal her own wounds and those of others. Her catalyst for growth and integration was her creativity, her love of animals (especially horses), nature, and her leadership skills in helping those unable to speak or stand up for themselves. She obtained her technical DEC in Special Care Counselling (which the equivalent to: Educator, Youth Care Worker, Case Worker, Trauma Counsellor, Suicide and Crisis Intervention and now, Adjudication Agent with Victims of Criminal Acts, dealing with mental health and PTSD). After graduation, she envisioned a program which integrated SCC tools, a partnership with horses, and creativity for healing, growth and change.
In 2003, a dream came true for Maria. She met and fell in love with Alain, a farmer who lived on a self-sufficient dairy and sheep farm of 425 acres. This was her first experience with real horses: Belgian teams for sleigh rides and picking up sap for the artisanal sugar shack (2500 taps), Quarter horses, and a Canadian stallion. Being a city girl, she learned everything from scratch, and in time she was put in charge of the sheep farm, overseeing everything from birth to meat processing. Then in February 2007, tragedy struck. Alain passed away suddenly, and Maria’s whole world came crumbling down.
Having lost her bearings, not knowing what to do next, she sought help from a psychotherapist specializing in orientation for non traditional jobs for women, opening herself up to new opportunities. She took her course to become a Professional Groom, and horses literally saved her life. The special bonds created with horses were very revealing, and inside herself, she felt an awakening to something she needed to discover. She did her stage at Lucky Harvest, the first CANTRA certified center in Quebec. It was a great experience, but something was missing. She participated at workshops at Les Écuries Namasté, an Epona-certified facility in Quebec, and this opened up further new horizons on her path of discovery.
In 2010, life’s synchronicities made it possible for her to leave the Montreal Casino where she was working and embark on an incredible journey as an assistant vet technician with the touring company of Cavalia, the world-renowned horse spectacular. Imagine being responsible for up to 62 horses at a time, at least 26 of them being stallions. Those wonderful horses Maria worked with in Cavalia opened up a gateway to communicating with horses, listening to what the horses had to say about their treatment plans, and accessing the wisdom of the Horse Ancestors—those horses who have passed into the spirit world. Cavalia adopted some horses along the way as they traveled, including two Mustang yearlings when in Alberta. Maria felt a powerful attraction with these young Mustangs, but she didn’t understand why, at the time.
After the year was up, she envisioned the Pegasus Program, a unique bilingual program integrating horses as partners, SCC, and creativity to help horses and humans in healing and growing. She felt she still had more to learn, however, so she participated in creating Programme Ekuus, an EAGALA-based program helping adolescent girls, under Youth Protection Services, who were victims of sexual abuse. As with CANTRA, it was a valuable experience but something was still missing. In her quest to find the perfect fit to her vision, she came across the FEEL program at Horse Spirit Connections in Ontario. This approach strongly called to her, but the timing wasn’t right, yet.
Maria became a Reiki practitioner/master, helping humans on their healing journey. She also practiced on pets, cats and dogs, who are more receptive to the healing energy than are most humans. Magic occurred when she started working with horses. It was incredible how open they are to healing energy, and so willing to give something back. Their generosity in the experiences they have shared with her has been transformational for all. Horses have taught her about connecting on different levels, through different dimensions in life and death, and this has deeply transformed her way of channeling the healing energy for all—humans, horses, animals, and all of nature.
In 2016, Maria completed the FEEL certification course at Horse Spirit Connections. While going through the course, she gained more clarity about her mission, and realized that it was much bigger than she ever expected, in that she was to help people and horses heal through energy work, FEEL and creativity. While she was in the process of trying to bring her original vision of the Pegasus Program come to life, the universe gave Maria a clear sign that Pegasus Program was to be radically re-imagined.
In May 2017, she attended the Advanced FEEL certification course. While there, Maria had a vision that led to a deep transformation within her. She now understood the attraction to Mustangs. Her calling for 2018 is to go on a journey of healing, with and for Mustangs in Colorado. This incredible experience has given birth to her new mission: a deeper understanding of the healing processes from birth until death. Through the passage to other dimensions, another level of healing of the essence occurs. Thus, “Embrace the Horse, Embrassez le Cheval” was born. Upon returning from her 2018 journey, Maria will be coming home with her first herd member, a Mustang she has known through time and space, who will be her partner in healing and showing the way to a deeper understanding of the horse-human connection as a catalyst for change, transformation, growth and healing.
Her website: embracethehorse.com (English version) or embrassezlecheval.com (French version), will be available when her journey comes to an end and she comes home, finally ready to settle down with her herd.