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may or may not be aware of, and which may be holding them back in life. Now Porteous would like to take the anecdotal evidence she has gathered over the past years and turn it into something more formal. In Fall 2014 Porteous joined faculty from McMaster University to form Learning Beyond the Fence. This committee wants qualitative and quantitative data to demonstrate to others of the merits of equine assisted learning and therapy; and how it can complements other experiential education or healing that’s available. “I’m seeing things that I say ‘Wow, that would be great for research,’” she says. “How do you quantify something like this? To reach the doubters, we need to increase the level of research.” And there’s no reason why she can’t, particularly given her connection with Mohawk. Porteous hopes to pilot a program that would help high school

students transitioning to college life and use the results to officially back up what she knows to be true. Once she gets ethics approval, Porteous plans to chronicle the effects of equines on her subjects during the program, then check in with them later to see if they are still applying what they learned in the sessions. Coping with transitional anxiety, nonverbal communication, leadership and teamwork are some of the directions she can take her work. “There are just so many avenues that we can take this,” Porteous says. “You have to be clear in your body language and mind when communicating with animals. In this time where everyone is texting, you can’t text a horse. You have to be very clear in what you want. “It’s not just being around horses,” she adds, “Horses can by our greatest teacher if we are open to the truth.”

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2015 Quanta - Research and Innovation at Mohawk College  

A Mohawk College publication celebrating some of the most exciting research taking place in the College and the greater Hamilton region.

2015 Quanta - Research and Innovation at Mohawk College  

A Mohawk College publication celebrating some of the most exciting research taking place in the College and the greater Hamilton region.