MEET THE PEOPLE
Miranda Sunderland - Facilitator/Owner
Certification: Certified EAL Facilitator
Miranda grew up on the Prairies of Southern Saskatchewan, and therefore developed a passion for horses at young age, living on her family farm. Starting in 4-H and working up to training her own horse, Miranda has come to know first-hand of the different personalities horses possess, and has seen how they can be very effective teachers. After a stint of working as a trainer at Spruce Meadows, Calgary’s World renowned Show Jumping Facility, she knew that a career working with horses is what she wanted to do. Miranda then studied hard and procured a Diploma in Equine Studies with Distinction, through the University of Guelph, a foothold to a great start of opening an Equine Center of her own.
Miranda spent some time as a Health Care Security Guard in Calgary’s busy Foothills Hospital, working with many patients experiencing Mental Health issues. During this time, Miranda came to understand the great need people have to be understood by others, learn to understand themselves, and ensure that all aspects of their life are in
balance, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Miranda knew what great healers horses were personally, and therefore searched for a way to help others come to that understanding as well. She sought out to become a Certified Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator through the leading edge school at Equine Connection Ltd., and now spends more time out of the saddle, on the ground using her horses as teachers in an interactive skills development program. Miranda resides in Cluny, AB. with her husband Marvin, and their loveable mutt Ozzie.
Marvin Sunderland - Facilitator
Certification: Certified EAL Facilitator/Certified EMR
Marvin grew up in the tundra of the Yukon, where his fascination with nature grew. There in his younger years he developed an intrinsic love of animals large and small. Marvin started off with a brood of chickens at a young age, and always had their loveable dogs and cats at the foot of his bed at night. Now he has fallen in love the majestic horse, as his wife Miranda has shown him what valuable lessons can be learned at their side.
Marvin has had the wonderful opportunity to experience many different cultures first hand by living in various places some of which include Prince Edward Island, Russia, and Chile, but has settled down on the Alberta Prairies where deep history of the horse can be found. This experience has allowed him to understand how different people learn from, and react to, different life challenges. He has taken up schooling through SAIT Polytechnic and is now a certified Emergency Medical Responder. Marvin has dreams to complete his schooling by becoming a certified Paramedic. In the meantime
Marvin has become a Certified Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator through the leading edge school at Equine Connection Ltd., to assist in the Family business of experiential learning with horses. Marvin resides in Cluny, AB. with his wife Miranda, and their loveable mutt Ozzie.
Brittany Sunderland- Associate Facilitator/ Office Manager
Certification: Certified EAL Facilitator | Early Childhood Educator | Legal Assistant
Brittany is beginning a new chapter in her life after twenty plus years of working for employers who did not share her vision of life. The most valuable piece of knowledge she gained during her early adult life is that she doesn’t fit neatly into any one category, but needs to be free to create her own path. Discovering her true passion of teaching has empowered Brittany to become the independent contractor she is today.
Education and a variety of work experience has been an integral part that has contributed to Brittany’s multi-disciplinary profession, combining a love of social interaction with the practicality of office administration, tossing in a passion for teaching and skills development. Brittany has chosen to work specifically with children, which becoming a certified EAL facilitator affords her another avenue to do just that, working with horses is just a wonderful bonus. Brittany has never worked with horses, nor was it essential to her own business practices, but now appreciates and absolutely loves every moment of working with horses and understands they are central to the EAL program.
Brittany is from the small city of Lethbridge, AB, where most of her family still resides, but is currently living in the small town of Oyen, AB pursuing legal assistance, and early childhood education alongside facilitating at Back in Touch.
MEET OUR TEACHERS
Meesha (a.k.a. Eva)
Born: March 14, 2006
Eva is a fun loving gal who is always ready to work. In the past, Eva was a show-jumper who attended many jumping competitions across Alberta. Following that she was put to work carrying her rider over a Polo course, where her sweet natured temperament was critical; as the horse must remain responsive under pressure and not become excited while in the game. Unfortunately, Eva was kicked in the chest by a fellow pasture mate, and suffered a cracked sternum and 2 displaced discs in her neck, leaving her with a very sore frame. After some considerable recovery, Eva is now a great teammate who is always ready to please.
Cheques Jet Star (a.k.a Lucky)
Breed: Quarter Horse
Born: April 27, 2007
Height: 15.2 Hands
Lucky is a cool as a cucumber guy who came to us in the Fall of 2016, after he had a prior career taking his lovely young owner around the barrel pattern. Unfortunately running hard was not in his cards, as he obtained an injury that reduced the flexibility in his hocks, making it hard for him to go anywhere fast. Therefore Lucky needed a good home where slow and steady could be his place. Despite his injuries Lucky has tremendous Leadership skills, and worked his way to the top of our Herd very quickly. He now stands there to help others gain some confidence, and to bring out their inner leader gently nudging people forward and out of their comfort zone.
Angels Aloft (a.k.a Sienna)
Born: April 20, 2008
Height: 14.3 Hands
Sienna is our little gal who is extremely friendly and curious of whats going on! She was retired from the racetrack at the age of 4, as she really disliked the rattling cart she was being asked to pull behind her. She was destined for the meat truck, until she was picked up by a local rescue and rehabilitated. The volunteers there loved her so much they bought her home almost immediately, and worked on gaining her trust, followed by breaking her to ride. She then was used to ride in the mountains, do some local gymkhanas, and worked on on some Liberty training. Sienna's former owner was heading off to school and was not able to give her the time she needed, as she knew that Sienna was a special gal, therefore found her a job where she can spend time with people, the one thing Sienna loves most, helping them to learn essential life skills.
Gotta Have My Starbucks (a.k.a. Bucks)
Born: March 1, 2010
Height: 15.3 Hands
Starbucks is one of the friendliest horses you will ever meet. She tends to be the balancer of the herd and wants to make sure everyone keeps up with their job. She loves working with people and will be the first to come greet you at the gate. She was retired from the Show Jumping ring at a young age due to a nuchal ligament injury she sustained while playing in her paddock. She may have thought that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence! She is very intuitive to what is going on in the herd and always looks to her leaders for direction on what to do next. She is a valuable member of her herd in many ways, and loves to hang out with her friends 2 or 4 legged.
Height: 17.3 Hands
Cento is a lovable character who is very wise due to his life experiences. He spent most of his life travelling up and down the North American Continent helping riders of all ages compete in the Equitation ring. He had the opportunity to compete at Madison Square Garden in New York, and also the MCI center in Washington D.C. Recently he competed in the Young Rider Medals in Calgary and was awarded the Red Ribbon for his efforts. He is a great teachers as he puts his knowledge to use helping people open up and find their inner leader, in a very gentle persuasive manner. Gently and confidently encouraging people take the steps to learn who they truly are.
Kukio (a.k.a Kio)
Breed: Dutch Warmblood
Height: 18 Hands
Kio is a cheerful chap who is commonly called our big teddy bear. He loves working with people especially once they find his favourite spot to be scratched. He is named after a popular millionare beach in Hawaii, and we can see why because his teaching skills are worth a million bucks! Kio spent most of his life in the hunter ring competing extensively in the 4 foot hunter courses. He also spent lots of time with his rider competing in fox hunts in Southern Alberta, because of his calm and willing to please attitude. Kio may seem big on the outside but it just shows how big his heart is on the inside as well.
J'adore (a.k.a. Jay)
Breed: Selle Francais
Height: 17.3 Hands
Jay is a horse that is knows as a Career starter, due to his nature to bring out bravery in all those who work with him. He helps people learn leadership skills and develop confidence to accomplish anything that is set before them. He used to compete in the Hunter ring and helped his last rider to come to many victories. He know is known as the horse that has it all, we will let you judge that for yourself.
Mamas Cher (a.k.a Cher)
Breed: Appendix Quarter Horse
Born: June 13, 1998
Height: 16.3 Hands
Cher is our friendly gal who gets along with anyone. She loves to work, and has done a little bit of this and a little bit of that. She has an extensive history in the Dressage ring in Northern Alberta. After her dressage career Cher moved on to helping a young rider come through the local 4-H program in Saskatchewan and into the jumper ring. Cher was retired from jumping when she started to show tenderness in her shoulder from the impact on her joints. Therefore she has found her way to Back In Touch to help people of all ages learn some essential Life skills to set them on the right path in life.
Height: 17 Hands
Esteem is a very confident fellow. He was born and raised at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB. Believe it or not, he was Miranda’s School Horse when she worked there in her Early 20’s! Esteem has been around the block as a flag horse for victory gallops in the international ring, to competing at hunter jumper finals. He spent most of his life as a Show Jumper carrying many riders, but now has come to use his many life experiences to help teach people how they can bring out their inner leader, and find confidence within themselves!