When Ellen Jones launched The Hughes-Jones Centre for people and animals in 2008, she wanted to take something she loved – horsemanship – and use it to make a difference in her community. She felt she could do more than simply share a skill, however; Ellen saw an opportunity to use the remarkable nature of the horsemanship relationship as therapy.

Many girls and women taking classes at the Centre faced issues with self-esteem, self-doubt, perfectionism and imposter syndrome – and Ellen felt the horsemanship experience could help unlock something inside her students that they could then apply to their personal, school or professional lives.

Teaching an eight-year old girl how to lead a 1,000-lb. horse can be a powerful experience, Ellen says. Learning how to interact with an animal of that size without force or dominance, but through setting boundaries and nurturing a relationship based on mutual respect empowers her students and can teach them how to engage as leaders in their own lives.

Ellen feels women and girls continue to face many of the same issues they did when she launched her business, proving there’s still work to be done to close gender and leadership gaps. Coaching girls and women to understand they have the power to impact change is something Ellen hopes all her student benefit from in their experiences at The Hughes-Jones Centre, just as she has herself over the last 11 years.

Further reading

As I rebuild I want to honour the process as much as I can. These foundations I'm building now — I'll fall back on during the storms which are sure to come. This is where the ground won't shake. This is where I'll regain my footing. This is where I'll launch.

Ellen Jones
Coach, Founder, CEO, The Hughes-Jones Centre Inc.


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