About Us

Erica Flak

Erica is coach and co-owner of Sky Haven Equestrian Centre Inc. Erica became obsessed with horses when we moved to our farm when she was 6 years old. She has competed internationally in dressage and has been coaching riders and training horses professionally for many years.

During every family holiday growing up Erica advocated for local horse experiences in Mexico, Hawaii, California, the Caribbean and in Europe. During these experiences, she met many horses who were being used but not many who were being heard. She resolved to do better; to learn to hear what her horses were telling her and to respect their needs.

She wanted willing partnerships with her horses and now she wants to share this with you! Erica is an Equine Canada licensed coach and has passed the Monty Roberts Horsemanship introductory exam in California and is enrolled in the advanced course.

She competed in dressage at the international level on the Canada Young Riders team in 2014. 

She graduated from Trent University with a B.SC. in psychology and biology.

She is certified in various healing modalities including: equine massage, TTouch, Reiki and LL Laser Therapy.

She is also a certified Yoga instructor.

Deborah

Deborah is owner of Sky Haven Equestrian Centre and Retreat. 

Dick Persson

Dick is owner of the Buckhorn Canoe Company. He has extensive historical knowledge of the old canoe companies and their boat and canoe models and is skilled in conservation and restoration of old watercraft. He is a volunteer and a regular contributor of his expertise both as a builder and a historian to the Canadian Canoe Museum, Wooden Canoe Heritage Association and blogs regularly about his work and related subject matters.

 

Testimonials 

I have the honour of working with Erica Flak; an exceptional horse trainer who truly stands out in her field. Her unique training approach revolves around a four-pillar training pyramid: freedom of the horse, flow of the horse, alignment of the horse, and ‘bounce’ aka impulsion/animation.
What sets her apart is her unwavering commitment to positive and compassionate methods, and a very researched and intellectual approach.
From the very beginning, her dedication to the well-being of the horse is evident. She places great emphasis on allowing the horse to express its natural freedom, creating an environment where the horse feels comfortable and unrestrained. This foundation of freedom is the cornerstone of her training philosophy.
The flow of the horse is the next crucial element. She works tirelessly to establish a harmonious connection between horse and rider, where they move as one. Her guidance helps horse and rider find their rhythm, enhancing not only their performance but also their partnership.
What truly sets this trainer apart is her focus on the alignment of the horse. She recognizes the importance of a horse’s physical well-being and works diligently to ensure that the horse moves in a way that is natural and healthy. Her knowledge of equine anatomy and biomechanics is impressive and informs her training techniques.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of her training sessions is her refusal to use force or unkind methods. Instead, she enforces boundaries with patience and understanding, allowing the horse to learn in a stress-free environment. Her ability to communicate these principles to her clients is truly exceptional.
What further sets her apart is her willingness to go the extra mile. She invests time generously, tailoring each session to the unique needs of the horse and rider. Her commitment to achieving the goals of every training session is unwavering, and she never hesitates to give more of herself to ensure success.
In summary, Erica is a one-of-kind brilliant horse trainer, with her training pyramid focused on freedom, flow, and alignment, embodies the epitome of compassionate horsemanship. Her dedication to the well-being of the horse, refusal to use force, and commitment to her clients’ goals make her a true standout in the world of horse training. If you’re seeking a trainer who understands the essence of a horse’s spirit and strives for excellence in every session, she is undoubtedly the one to trust.

 

Saira

When you value your partnership with your horse, you seek out the best care, the best training, and the best experience for them at every turn, including when your knowledge or experience ends. I adopted my little mare at 10 days old from a nurse mare foal rescue. After years of groundwork and desensitization through obstacles, I trusted a lovely friend to back her for the first time. She’s a smart and sensitive creature and did amazingly well in her first 45 days under saddle. After putting miles on her on trails and over poles in the arena for the next two years, taking it slow, I knew it was time for her to have the next step in her formal training. At five, she was getting stronger and smarter at evading my training cues.

For me, knowing that Lennon was very sensitive (once described as having an ignition point of nitroglycerine by Chris Irwin at a groundwork clinic) she needed someone with quiet and consistent discipline to bring her along. Having taken dressage lessons from Erica, I reached out to her to see if she would take Lennon on for training.

I had never been away from Lennon longer than 10 days—but Erica provided updates after each ride and I looked forward to reviewing her summaries and watching Lennon’s rides recorded on a Pivo. I don’t know many trainers who would narrate a training session and let you have it on video—this was a huge way for me to learn as a rider and reinforce what Erica was teaching Lennon. I was also able to take a few lessons with her on Lennon to physically learn what she had been teaching. The progress was immediate and just kept getting better. She’s a lovely little thing, and feels/looks like a real horse now, muscled, conditioned and disciplined, and most (not all!) of her baby brain has matured during the 60 day experience. Lennon offers the right behaviours—offers them!

Erica’s love for every horse she works with is evident in their boarding care, the way she speaks to them and the way she listens to them to discover what they need to give her what the rider wants. This has been a wonderful experience for me to learn as a rider and horse owner and I am so excited to work with Erica on upgrading both mine and Lennon’s skills in our journey together.

Calleigh

Sky Haven Stables is an exquisite, well-run, well maintained, top notch stable. Erica is a very respectable coach who ensures her riders are comfortable, confident, knowledgeable and excel to the best of their abilities. Erica’s passion is seen through her dedication, high standards and attention to detail. The desire for her students to excel is far superior to any we have previously encountered at other facilities. Erica’s lessons go beyond the basics of horseback riding and can be applied to many different situations in life.  She encourages her students to be knowledgeable in all aspects of horsemanship and takes the necessary time to share her knowledge and ensures the students understand what is being shared. Erica is a 5* coach and is highly recommended.

 

Danielle