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Relaxation, well-being, and horses

Losira Okelo, who was born in New York to Ugandan parents, is the owner of BoCheval, which offers equine-assisted learning experiences at the Vithalie Equestrian Centre in Elgin.

From a young age, Okelo has shared a special relationship with horses. After volunteering at a therapeutic riding centre, she became a certified equine specialist in mental health and learning through PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship).

“I founded BoCheval because I wanted people from all walks of life, who had no experience with horses, to experience for themselves what animals can do for each of us in a unique way,” shares Okelo.

‘It is a conversation’

BoCheval offers a welcoming, serene, and natural environment where visitors are guided through different programs and non-riding experiences that support mental wellness, grounding, and growth, in the company of a horse.

According to Okelo, non-riding activities with horses can deepen the bonds between family members, couples, and friends. “It is a conversation between you and the animal,” she explains. “You don’t need to know how to ride or have any previous experience with horses. Just be curious and open to learning more about horses and your personal or professional well-being.”

 

Losira Okelo runs BoCheval which offers non riding equine assisted learning experiences in Elgin PHOTO BoCheval

 

Sessions are offered to individuals, couples, or groups in 60-minute or 90-minute segments and are tailored to the needs of each individual or group. BoCheval also offers five-session packages, which will soon be available on the website.

Companies are also invited to visit the centre to benefit from team bonding exercises and programs to promote resilience and team management skills. “There are a lot of creative and communication breakthroughs that happen when you work with horses, because you are working with an animal without judgement,” says Okelo.

She suggests time spent in the company of a horse allows people on an individual level to escape their daily stresses and “experience comfort and reassurance.”

Why horses?

Okelo explains that horses accept human beings exactly as they are. “They don’t care about your clothes, your background, your colour, or your social status, and all the things that we humans judge unfairly.”

For Okelo, horses are unique in that they are able to understand our intentions and feelings subconsciously. “We just have to be honest about our feelings and our intentions,” she says.

BoCheval is named after Bo, a horse Okelo met in 2018. Unfortunately, Bo was stricken with an aggressive cancer and was euthanized in 2021. “With his passing, I knew my new business would have to have his name,” she says. She chose to include the word “cheval” as a nod to Quebec.

More information about BoCheval and its services is available online at BoCheval.com.

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