MEET THE PEOPLE

Miranda Sunderland Back In Touch Skills Development

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 Back In Touch Equine Assisted Learning

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.

MEET OUR TEACHERS

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Meesha (a.k.a. Eva)

Mare (Female)

Breed: Throughbred
Born: March 14, 2006
Height:15.3 Hands

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.

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Cheques Jet Star (a.k.a Lucky)

Gelding (Male)

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. 

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Angels Aloft (a.k.a Sienna)

Mare (Female)

Breed: Standardbred

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. 

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Gotta Have My Starbucks (a.k.a. Bucks)

Mare (Female)

Breed Throughbred

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.

J'adore (a.k.a. Jay)

Gelding (Male)

Breed: Selle Francais

Born: 1998

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. 

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Mamas Cher (a.k.a Cher)

Mare (Female)

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. 

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Esteem

Gelding (Male)

Breed: Hanovarian

Born: 1998

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!

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Tonka

Gelding (Male)
Breed: Miniature Horse
Born: 2016
Height: 9 Hands

Tonka is a bold little fellow. He is worked with mainly by our two boys, and loves to come up for scratch or a cuddle. He is very straightforward and has a sweet temperament. Tonka will be there to take care of his handler. He has even been known to move rails to get them out of the way to help his handler clear a course! How is that for a great partner!  Don't underestimate his size, Tonka will keep you on your toes, and keep you in line despite his miniature size! 

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 HORSES WHO WE LOVED AND LOST

Cento

Gelding (Male)

Breed: Wurttemberg

Born: 1996

Height: 17.3 Hands

Cento was a lovable character who was 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. He competed in the Young Rider Medals in Calgary and was awarded the Red Ribbon for his efforts. He was an incredible teachers as he put 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.

We can never thank you enough for helping so many people. For being so grounding and being what so many humans needed, on so many days. Energy never dies, this we know, but for now our hearts break as we miss you so much already.


We love you Cento,  You will be with us always

Kukio (a.k.a Kio)

Gelding (Male)

Breed: Dutch Warmblood

Born: 1994

Height: 18 Hands

Kio was a cheerful chap who was commonly called our big teddy bear. He loves working with people especially once they find his favourite spot to be scratched. He was 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. We can’t say we have “lost” Kio, because of all that he left, not only with us, but everyone he every helped over the years. Being the 
“teddy bear” that he was, she created a safe space for people to learn, heal and release.