Meet The Team


Sandi (She/Her)

Horses, be still my HEART.

Hello and welcome! I am Sandi, the founder of  HEART Retreat and The H.O.L.L.Y. Project.

Ever since I was a little girl I knew there was something magical about horses. I knew that I wanted them to be a part of my life and not just in my imagination or books.

When I was 13 years old, I had enough money saved and bought my first horse. I shared my life with this kind, gentle soul, Sandaro. Sandaro was my rock, my sounding board, my confidante, unshakable partner and teacher for 33 years until he left this earth plane in 2007 taking my Dad with him three days later. On the way home from my Dad's funeral, I received one last special gift from the two of them.  A message that guided me to open up an equine healing centre and so HEART Retreat was born.

I am still learning so much from one of the most precious gifts from the Creator, the horse.

I am certified as an Equine Assisted Learning facilitator (2018) and a Natural Horsemanship coach ( started in 2004). I bring 50 years horse knowledge and experience to the HEART Retreat team.

As others can attest, you cannot navigate this beautiul road of life without experiencing trauma, hardship and or tragedy. I have been knocked down a few times by some of the hardest lessons in life.  The growth that I have experienced allows me to have a deeper understanding for some of the mental wellness challenges people are experiencing. I have experienced first hand what horses are capable of doing to support and guide us through our mental wellness journey.  They are truly amazing and the best teachers!  And for that I am ever grateful.

I look forward to the day that our paths connect.

A horses ability to help people heal never surprises me but always amazes me!

Now I would like to introduce you to my team of facilitators, EAPD coaches and assistants.

Renée (She/Her)

You just have to shine a small light, it doesn't have to be a spot light...

Renée is a retired paramedic with a deep love and admiration of all animals.

My own personal experience with PTSD and the healing abilities of horses has inspired me to pursue a career in equine assisted learning with the hopes of bringing more profound healing to emergency frontline personnel and those suffering from PTSD. I am a certified Equine Assisted Personal Development Coach with EAL - Canada (2019) and a certifed Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator with Cartier/Dreamwinds EAL (2019).

My deepest and heartfelt thanks to Sandi for her mentorship, guidance and patience. Thank you for sharing your magical herd with me. As always, profound gratitute, love and respect to the herd for honouring me with their wisdom and healing. 

I look forward to supporting you on your wellness journey.

Breanna (She/Her)

-A great horse will change your life; a truly special horse will define it- author unknown

Hi there!

I am HEART Retreat’s youngest member of the team. I am forever grateful that my mom (Sandi) introduced me to the passion of horses at a very young age (Actually, I was still in my stroller) . I have been around horses my whole life and they never cease to amaze me. These majestic animals have been a rock and support system through some of the worst and best times of my life.

The H.O.L.L.Y. Project is very near and dear to me. I lost my best friend in the Spring of 2018 and that is what this program was created from. The idea of being able to make a difference and try to make sure that no one has to go through what I did, is extremely important to me.

I am a certified EAL Assistant with the Cartier/Dreamwinds EAL program (2021) and absolutely love being able to work beside my mom making a difference in people’s lives. You will not see me as often as I would like, as I am a full-time student at Georgian College. 

I look forward to being able to connect with people when I can.

ShiningWolf (He/Him)

Mind, Body & Spirit.

Aanii (Hello)
Aaniish naa ezhiyaayin? (How are you?)

My family is the Wolf Clan, My spiritual name is ShiningWolf, and my given name is Shawn.

A student of life, is here to help you "Empower Your Spirit", guide you in your spiritual growth and lifes journey.

I attended HEART Retreat in 2021 for personal development and it wasn't long before realizing there was a lot of horse wisdom to be offered.
Within a few months I became certified as an Equine Assisted Learning Assistant in the Cartier Farms/Dreamwinds Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) program (2021).
I would like to thank Mamaway and HEART Retreat for their continued support.

Webmaster @ HEART Retreat

Bear (He/Him)

Aaniin Boozhoo

Mkwa Niini Diizhnikas Chimnissing doonjaabaa Negig dodem

Greetings friends and family's, my name is Bear Man, as it's my spirit name that I was given by an elder, my other name is Barry Assance Jr.

I am a recovering addict. I am here to share and support our community with knowledge, love, wisdom, truth, respect, honesty, humility, courage, bravery. These are the seven grandfather teachings that I use in everyday life, as I was taught these through my recovery.

I am here to asssist HEART Retreat and the land based program through Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin and to support the horse based program as well.

Always be aware that it is ok to ask for help and knowing that "it's ok not to be ok".

Chi Miigwech for your time and chi miigwech to HEART Retreat and Mamaway for allowing me to help our community and those in need of getting back to our way of life and using the teachings and our mother earth for this healing process, as she provides us with everything we need to heal and to use our sacred medicines to help our healing journey with the medicines she provides for us.


With love and support