About Us

The Ranch

We are located in the scenic Wild Cat Hills area, just 20 minutes West of Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. Our ancestors have used this area wisely with its natural vantage point West to the Rocky Mountains – the drive out is breathtaking! The Rocky Mountains are on our doorstep mere minutes away while the lushly forested foothills are right outside our door.

We truly believe our ancestor spirits inhabit these lands and they speak to us in the winds and gentle breezes. When you come to Spirit Winds Ranch we know you will feel the same peace and soul-satisfying energy as we do. It is a place of communication and understanding, where judgements are not made. Come for the horses…stay for the peace and tranquillity (although you may see a few chickens bobbing about!)

We love dogs as well as horses but due to our insurance all dogs must be kept on a leash while here and that includes not allowing them to run in the horse pastures.

Thank you.

Our Humans

Laurel Griffin – Chief Horse Officer

Laurel is the contracted Equine Service Provider for the Municipal District of Rocky View West. She works with thirteen schools in Cochrane. Laurel has had the privilege of working with the local schools for several years now. The combination of horses and Equine Assisted Learning have had a great impact on the students and schools.

Laurel has been around horses since the day she was born. She has an extensive background and history within the horse industry of Alberta. Though she grew up with a rich ranching background in the foothills of Alberta, Laurel has worked extremely hard to create the Spirit Winds Ranch concept. Becoming an Equine Specialist in numerous horse-related modalities. Laurel has built a unique equine experience. She is the founder and independent operator of Spirit Winds Ranch.

Laurel honed her horse skills through the local Cochrane Pony Club and then moved on to a successful show career on the “A” circuit across North America. One of the highlights was a top-ten Open Jumper finish at the World Paint Show in Reno Nevada.

Laurel has instructed riding and horsemanship for the past 30 years. It is in her more recent work with horses that she has deepened her relationships with them. Formerly a skeptic of natural horsemanship and alternative equine modalities, she is now known as the “Horse Sensei” around Spirit Winds Ranch and takes natural horsemanship and horse connections to a new level.
She has completely retooled her ranch to reflect these horse-powered connections and is happy to share the experiences of connecting with horses in this new way.

Read more about Laurel on the Horse Spirit Connections website.

(NOTE: Though she coincidentally shares the Griffin last name in print, Laurel is a completely separate entity from the Griffin Valley Ranch.)

Our Team

The volunteers are a community of energetic experienced people. We are all inspired by the idea of bringing the power and magic of horses to benefit youth, families and the community. We are a passionate team committed to providing high-quality and engaging programs. Our combined experience, love of horses, and training as Equine Assisted Learning facilitators enable us to provide positive impacts through our learning with horses programs.

Sign up to volunteer at Spirit Winds Ranch!

Why Horses?

“The horse. Here is nobility without conceit, friendship without envy, and beauty without vanity. A willing servant, yet never a slave.” –Ronald Duncan

For thousands of years, horses have been essential to human survival. They have been a source of transportation, food and physical labour. Throughout human history the horse has been by our side, we have loved, owned and ridden horses, but what we are tapping into more recently is how horses speak to our hearts.

The beauty of working with horses from the ground is understanding that they are non-judgmental, listen without interruption and offer clients the immediate gratification of being unconditionally accepted. Horses take crap from no one, and while being large and powerful, they create a natural opportunity for someone to overcome fear and develop confidence and nurture the ability to confront challenging situations in life.

Horses are prey animals and are in a constant state of awareness for any signs of danger. They are highly sensitive and intuitive which makes them excellent working partners.


Please see below for a listing of media material concerning Spirit Winds Ranch to give you a better idea of our programs and facility.


Fireside School students walk the runway with their steeds at Spirit Winds Ranch equine-assisted learning grad – Read the article on CochraneToday.ca 


Newspaper Articles

External Website Articles

EAL Spotlight

Step into the spotlight as a featured graduate in our new Equine Assisted Learning Spotlight Series!  Each week I release a new video featuring a Cartier/Dreamwinds EAL Graduate pursuing their dreams.  Below is our first one.