About Bella Terra Acres Farm

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Experiential Growth and Learning with Horses

Team Building | Leadership Development | Corporate Training | Youth Success Skills | Personal Growth | Counseling

Experience this innovative approach to personal and professional development based on the horse-human connection; where horses reflect your thoughts, feelings, and actions to provide feedback about your effectiveness without bias or judgment.


The Bella Terra Story

Bella Terra was founded in 2000 by Todd and Kim Shook after their own personal, life changing encounter participating in the Equine Experience led by Wyatt Webb at Miraval Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona.  The impact of this experience fueled their passion and within six months they purchased their first miniature horses and began the Equine Adventure program to share equine experiential programming with others.

The Shooks have continued to attend training sessions and conferences to continue to develop their skills in the field of equine experiential education. By integrating their experiences in executive management, human services, and personal growth, the Shooks have developed a very unique learning program with horses and the first equine experiential program exclusively with miniature horses.  Bella Terra's Equine Adventure offers both group workshops and individual sessions in southwest Michigan as well as professional and personal development workshops across the country.  The Shooks are founding members and Master Trainers for the Equine Experiential Education Association (E3A).

Youth Programs with Horses in KalamazooBecause this learning program is with horses many quickly link it to therapeutic horseback riding. Although similar, the Bella Terra program differs in that it does not involve horseback riding and is not focused on horsemanship skills. The experience takes place on the ground doing goal oriented activities with horses. Activities such as brushing, obstacle courses, lunging, and many other group challenge activities make up the Equine Adventure experience. Participants learn about horse safety and how horses communicate and these are the skills used during the horse activities. The focus is not on the right or wrong way of doing things with the horses, but rather are we being effective and achieving our goals.

Bella Terra Leadership Development with Miniature Horses near Kalamazoo

"It is truly amazing to touch people's lives with this type of learning experience. The authentic connection between a person and an animal sparks experiences that could not come about any other way. The relationship develops based on unconditional acceptance, being in the present moment, and where discernment replaces judgment. This is a peaceful, refreshing, and empowering place to be. For many, the result will stay with them for a lifetime. For some, the experience will dramatically alter how they perceive themselves and events in their life."
~ Kim Shook, Co-founder of Bella Terra


Founders

Todd Shook
Co-founder of Bella Terra
LMSW, BSN, BS Information Technology
Licensed Therapist, Case Manager, Psychiatric Nurse, and Wellness Coach
E3A Master Trainer

Todd began his professional career in Information Technology with a BS in Computer Science. After 10 years in business, his desire for work more with people and helping them led to a career change. He returned to college and earned his BSN from Southern Illinois University.

For over 10 years, Todd was a Registered Nurse with experience in Home Health, Emergency Room nursing, and Case Management. In order to move into Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Todd went back to school and in 2010 he earned his Master’s degree in Social Work from Western Michigan University and then in 2012 received his license in Social Work (LMSW).

In the field of equine experiential growth and learning, Todd received his EAGALA Level I certification in April 2003 and has been providing equine assisted learning and psychotherapy services ever since.  In 2010 Todd was certified by the Equine Experiential Education Association (E3A) and in 2012 became a Master Trainer to teach others on how to facilitate experiential programs with horses. This work with horses has been extremely rewarding to Todd because of the immediate growth and insight of the participants' experience when they are working with horses.

Kim Shook
Co-founder of Bella Terra
BS Computer Engineering
Executive with over 30 years of Technology,
Management, and Operations Experience
E3A Founding Member and Master Trainer 

Kim developed her facilitation and experiential education skills over 25 plus years of corporate leadership, training, and executive management experience. In the field of equine experiential education, Kim received her certification from EAGALA Level I in 2003. In 2007 she completed the Innovative Horizons program as an Equine Assisted Training Specialist. With Bella Terra clients, Kim shares her unique success and experience in building team environments that foster high performance and healthy culture to enable success.

Kim is one of the Founding Members, Curriculum Developer, and Master Trainer for the Equine Experiential Education Association (E3A); an international organization providing ethics, standards, and certification training for facilitated learning and development programs with horses for teams, youth, personal development, and wellness.

Currently, Kim is the Vice President of Operations at BASIC, a Human Resource solutions company located in Portage, MI. Kim began her professional career in Information Technology and then advanced into executive management with responsibility for $30 MM annually and 60 staff. Kim has been the recipient of many top awards in project management, team excellence, coaching, and process improvement. In 1998, she received McDonald's Corporation Presidents' Award that recognizes their "best of the best" top 1% employees. Kim has extensive experience facilitating top executives and leading strategic planning initiatives.

Bella Terra Miniature Horses

Bella Terra Acres Farm

BELLA TERRA ACRES
10736 West RS Avenue
Mattawan, MI 49071-9460
Phone: 269-978-8138
Directions:  Contact Us

Our Farm is located southwest of Kalamazoo, Michigan, in Texas Township / Kalamazoo County.

Our equine program is provided at various locations and visits to our farm are by appointment.

Equine Experiential Affiliations and Certifications

EAGALA Certification (2003)

Innovative Horizons – Certification (2007)

Equine Experiential Education Association - Founding Members, Certification (2008 & 2010), and Master Trainers

Also a member of O.K. Corral

How Bella Terra Started

"My first equine experiential experience completely redirected me to a new life path and purpose - Bella Terra; to facilitate the same gift that was given to me by one incredible horse, a shire named Whitney at Miraval."

~ Kim Shook, Cofounder of Bella Terra, Inc.

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