I’m Stefanie Ly, Founder and Facilitator of Joystone Pathways EFW Inc., Waldorf School Administrator, and mother of two teenagers in Ontario, Canada.
With a background in Fine Art and Developmental Psychology, I integrate my personal experience of raising two highly sensitive children, academic research, and years of employment in both public and private school settings in combination with personal and professional development as a coach and Equine Facilitated Wellness Practitioner to live my purpose: supporting children, families, caregivers and educators in creating healthy, attuned relationships that generate joy, connection and are a safe space for self-expression.
As member of the Healthy School Culture Care Coordinating team and Behaviour Care Group at my school, I chose to certify through Simplicity Parenting as a Discipline & Guidance Group Leader to enhance my ability to support adults in caring for the children in their lives with confidence and in alignment with their values. This program informs my practice, both at the farm and at school, and allows me to deliver accessible programming in person and online for parents, educators and caregivers.
The original purpose of this website was to create a blog to inspire others to take a chance on following their purpose, and be willing to keep going even when barriers (actual and imagined) show up along the way. My blog is about taking little steps on the journey toward big goals – The Joystone Journey. The blog has transitioned with the addition of my business and programming information, into a full website – however, the original intention remains, and I will continue to blog about my path as a life long learner in the field of Equine Facilitated Wellness.
A Deeper Dive…
I didn’t grow up with riding lessons, though I loved horses and took every opportunity available to connect with them in some way throughout childhood. I spent time trail riding, visiting family at their farms, or tagging along with my friends to the barn for their lessons. In university I studied fine art and psychology, specifically focusing on therapeutic art, and extending into research on highly sensitive children, and the importance of grounded leadership in those taking care of them, both at home and in the classroom. My work in education over the last 5 years enabled me to see first hand the the impact of the energy, congruence, and ground of being of adults on the children in their care. Through the support of my mentors as well as experience in the field, I have developed a program in which parents and teachers can experience the impact of their energy, in real time, and practice shifting their energy and grounding their leadership, bringing them into their body and the present moment through the instant and clear feedback that horses provide. Additionally, over the last year, I have deepened my theoretical and experiential learning to extend programming for children age 7+ with behavioural, self-regulation and/or social challenges through connection, play, and the wisdom of the herd.
In 2020, after doing research into various equine assisted therapeutic and facilitation modalities, I was called to take part in a Wisdom Circle with Mena Canonico and her equine guides and co-facilitators, the Freedom Herd. That afternoon shifted the trajectory of my life, and confirmed my intuition that horses are indeed the perfect guides for the individuals and groups that I am committed to serving. I began training with Mena at Liberty Lane over the summer of 2020, when much of the world was in chaos due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. I dove into an apprenticeship, and committed to learning all I could about horse care, business development and facilitation. In addition to my apprenticeship with Mena, I have read many incredible books which I will be sharing through one of the pages on this site, taken a variety of courses through Equine Guelph (University of Guelph) and connected with other horsewomen and Equine Facilitated Learning & Wellness practitioners around North America including Sue MacIntosh of Health Hooves in Alberta, Canada – who incorporates the work of Dr. Gordon Neufeld, Canadian Developmental Psychologist into her Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy practice. I knew from the moment I met Mena and the Freedom Herd at that first Wisdom Circle in June of 2020 that there are parallels to Dr. Neufeld’s paradigm, and Equine Facilitated practice. Encountering someone who utilizes his paradigm with horses has been both a validating and inspiring experience.
During the summer of 2021 I was invited to share the story of following my purpose and how it brought me to Equine Facilitated Learning & Wellness in a collaborative book project with Nikki Porter & Nadine Smith of Informed Equestrian and the Canada Horse Podcast and 15 other horsewomen from across North America. If you are interested in learning more about the path that brought me to where I am today, check out our book: Riding Through It – Equestrian Women Tested & Transformed on Amazon and as well as local book & tacks shops across Canada as of December of 2021.
On October 6, 2021 I took the next step on my journey and committed to a handsome quarter horse named Winston, and on June 23, 2022 I officially purchased him and moved him to a farm close to my home. While my long term goal remains to create a shared space for families and children to attend as a break from the hustle and bustle of the everyday, slow down and reconnect with one another – for the time being Winston has found a home on a beautiful family friendly farm that welcomes my clients. In August of 2022 we added two new members to our herd: Drummer a cob pony, and Teddy, a miniature horse! Their stories have been added to the blog, and they are creating new opportunities for learning, and further developing my programming.
This blog began when I met Winston, deciding that rather than just keep a private journal, that I would create a blog in hopes to inspire other people who may not have grown up around horses yet feel called to them in the later half of life like myself. My personal goals are to develop confidence in myself as a horsewoman, and continue to deepen my learning about horse wisdom and how horses have the ability to mirror us, connect deeply to our heart, and guide us.
Additionally, I will continue to develop the skills and capacity to support children and families in strengthening connection & deepening confidence through the wisdom of horses, and share resources and connections with those who read this blog. I am excited to share this transformational modality with others, and sharing my learning journey through this blog is one of the first steps in that direction.
As I learn and grow, I will continue to update this blog, however, I may not return to update this page as often! Read the blog posts to follow the path of our adventure!
Updated November 10, 2022