Since September 2020, Horse Sense Equine Guidance has been a part of the Kwe-Biz Accelerator program which is offered by Okwaho Equal Source (OES), through the WE-CAN Project led by Queen’s University. OES is a 100% Indigenous owned company based on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. The company is led by Shyra (President) and Rye (Vice-President) Barberstock.
Indigenous woman entrepreneur Micky Colton launched her new business in 2017 with the help of her daughter, Erin. Certified as a FEEL (Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning) facilitator, Micky welcomes visitors to her 50-acre Horse Sense Farm for guided sessions.
“Horses communicate, but we don’t always listen to what they’re telling us,” says Micky, who sees her role as an interpreter between horses and humans. “Many people struggle with issues like setting boundaries and trusting their instincts. We help our visitors learn to listen to their own gut, and ultimately become better versions of themselves.”
Visitors to Horse Sense range from young professional couples from Toronto and Ottawa to young women grappling with anxiety and angst.
Since COVID-19, the business has moved all of its training and guided sessions outdoors and has adopted pandemic protocols recommended by the Medical Officer of Health, including safe social distancing. The safety of staff, visitors and animals remains the highest priority for Micky and her team.
At first, all operations were suspended at Horse Sense Equine Guidance, until COVID Phase 2 allowed for the return of visitors to the farm. The company’s core customer base -- Prince Edward County tourists -- dried up almost overnight.
The biggest challenge facing the business is now is the winter weather ahead which is expected to impact the business if operations are unable to move inside to the riding barn during the colder season.
Since being a part of the Kwe-Biz Accelerator program, Micky says she has learned more about what it means to run a business more effectively.
“When I first started out, the idea of a business plan was very daunting,” she shares. “Now I understand the business model canvas, and I’m working on my marketing plan. I feel more prepared to take my business forward and get things done. It’s been an amazing experience so far.”
In the future, Micky hopes to integrate more Indigenous spiritual practices into her business as well.
The WE-CAN Project is led by Queen’s University and funded in part by FedDev Ontario through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund.