We had a FABULOUS time on Dec 8th for the first ever Journey Your Heart with Horses Women’s Retreat at the Zen Barn. Ten beautiful women joined me and the horses for a wonderful day of nurturing and bonding while the horses journeyed with each woman individually in our indoor arena.
We started the day with some exercises that helped us get in-tune with our hearts, and get a feel for how to handle and trust the horses. Then each woman introduced herself to each horse while the horses got to know each woman. Lunch time came so we meandered back to the house taking a moment to breath in the fresh air and view the pond with it’s waterfall as the rain lightly misted our hats.
Lunch included a hearty vegetarian salad that included apples, walnuts, Gorgonzola cranberries and chunks of Romano A handmade lemon vinaigrette dressing was available along with gluten free artisan breads and gluten free cake that was to DIE FOR yum!!
Coupled with lunch was wine tasting from Libra Wines showcased by the vineyard owner and wine maker’s wife Linda Hanson. We started with the Libra Pinot Gris which was wonderful, then Linda had us try their 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, wow wow and then my favorite their 2009 Reserve Pinot Noir. Oh my gosh we were in heaven. And wait I forgot to mention the cake was a Black & White with chocolate genache provided by New Cascadia Traditional Bakery highly highly recommend!!
All this was served by my son Evan who dressed in slacks, a white button down shirt and matching vest. He wore a white cloth over his arm as he doted on each of us pouring wine and attending to our every need. My husband Ken worked behind the scenes setting the table with our finest china, my grandmother’s silver, wine glasses, water glasses filled with refreshing natural well water, salad bowls, bread plates, butter and salad on both ends of the table enough for everyone. When we entered the house for lunch Ken ran outside to feed horses and muck stalls only to return washing dishes and cleaning up during our siesta quiet time.
After an hour of silence following lunch the women slowly made their way back to the arena where the journey began. Each woman spent time with a horse walking through the labyrinth that was set-up in the arena. As one woman started another would end handing off her horse to another participant. Each woman had time with every horse often returning to a specific horse that met their need. Some would stop in the labyrinth some would wander off to stand alone with the horse and simply BE, while others hugged their horse and softly wept letting go of pain and disillusion.
We ended the day with a gratitude circle holding hands and horses as we sent prayers and wishes heavenward.
Now the moment everyone had stayed late for was the dance with Benny. One of the participants, Michelle, had also attended a workshop two weeks prior and had gotten to know Benny very well. She spent time with him during the hour of silence which unbeknownst to me she promised him I would take him out and dance at the end of the retreat LOL. “Ok” I said, “whoever wants to stay after the retreat can watch me dance with Benny” and everyone stayed!! I started the music, opened Benny’s gate and out he ran. He grabbed one of the horse blankets off the saddle rack and dragged, then kicked out, bucked up and ran with his head high. We began our dance as I twirled around him, ran as he chased me and he ran as I chased him. He was delighted to be the center of attention since he could not participate during the retreat. Benny did come out and stand quietly during the introduction in the morning, but showed his true nature of meltdown behavior when I led him back to his stall which only impressed on everyone attending that Benny was unlike the other horses and would be too dangerous to participate. As Benny and I finished our dance I led him back to his stall with just a rope around his neck, closed his gate then a standing ovation from the group with shouts of “good feeling Benny, good feeling” (see How I Trained Benny with Emotional Training article). A sweet ending to a lovely day.
The time spent to Journey Your Heart with Horses was a sacred time with sacred women and horses. The women came from all walks of life from no horse experience to just a little when they were young. A time of exploration and letting go, a time to be inspired and a time to relax. It was a special time honoring and to be honored.
I have scheduled two more Journey Your Heart with Horses Retreats for January and February if you are interested. To learn more about the retreats or register visit Journey Your Heart with Horses or call me at 888-406-7689.
Thank you to each of the women who participated. Each of you have enriched my life. And a special thank you to Benny for being such a show stopper and beautiful example of how every horse has something to offer and is worth saving when there’s a spark of life to live. Big hugs – Missy 🙂