HEAL DIFFERENTLY: Mindfulness-Based Retreat with Horses, Nature and Sea

Horse and nature mindfulness retreats

Horses can become your partners in healing. They allow us to experience the serenity of the present moment and provide mirrors of our own emotions, ways of communicating and challenges we face in human relationships. 'HEAL DIFFERENTLY' programme was carefully designed to provide you with a unique approach to personal growth, insight and healing involving the horse-human relationship. Its focus is on emotional growth and learning, psychological exploration, enhancing relationships, awareness of the present moment and improving communication.

Why Retreat?
Retreat is an opportunity to step out of the complexity of your life and embrace new tools that will enable you to live more mindfully, with greater ease and self-kindness. This retreat will combine the fertile atmosphere of Gozitan silence, time for meditation and walks in nature with elements of equine-assisted therapy. Our aim is to support you in your emotional and personal growth in an atmosphere of safety.

Why Mindfulness?
Through different mindfulness and self-compassion practices you will experience first-hand the impact that developing awareness can have on your mind and body. You will be introduced to a range of skills to help you be more embodied, calm and responsive and less controlled by worry or constant mental chatter. You will learn new tools to help you build your resilience to physical and emotional pain, whether expressed through anxiety, stress or depression.

horse retreat

Why Horses?
The use of horses within therapy can be traced back to early 1950s. Their ability to read human emotion and their inherent honesty is perhaps why we look to them in times of distress. Horses are particularly well known for their ability to foster therapeutic change, both physically and emotionally. Used to help with a variety of issues from addiction to low self-esteem or post-traumatic stress disorder horse-assisted therapy is becoming a useful tool for people seeking to work with deeper layers of their own minds and bodily memory. No riding experience is necessary and you won't be required to ride the horse at all. Horses are considered to provide more scope for behavioural change and often facilitate profound emotional processing.

To find out more about equine-assisted therapy and equine-assisted learning and how it could help you accelerate your inner growth and healing click here.

You will learn to:

  • Practice mindfulness formally and in your daily life
  • Cultivate the attitudes of mind that incline you toward compassionate engagement with yourself and the world
  • Handle emotions and challenging situations with greater ease
  • Be more embodied and connected to yourself and the world around you
  • Support yourself at times of difficulty or failure
  • Take steps towards appreciating yourself
  • Be less judgemental of yourself and others
  • Work with emotions skillfully in a body-oriented way

The heart-opening equine programme will enable you to:

  • Introduce yourself to and interact with horses
  • Participate in unique experiences designed around your specific needs and those of the group
  • Become more aware of your social and emotional patterns
  • Develop skills in leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, creative thinking
  • Experience increase in your confidence and self-esteem
  • Form a bond with a particular horse if you wish to
  • Explore your learning with the group or individual facilitators
  • Experience farm-life first hand and engage in some tasks, such as feeding the horses

Dates
Tuesday 23rd May (4pm) to Monday 29th May 2017 (11:30am)

Facilitators
This retreat will be facilitated by Luka Hadrych, who will teach mindfulness and compassion-based approaches. The equine-assisted programme will be led by Victor Muscat, who holds a lifetime experience in managing and caring for horses and is experienced and certified in facilitating equine-assisted therapy and equine-assisted learning. Victor is a natural communicator with the horses and understands their language. He holds very particular bond with his herd and sees horses as his partners in facilitating programmes and healing modalities that he offers on his farm on the island of Gozo in Malta.

retreat with horses

Fees

  • Shared twin room: £125 per night (£750)
  • Shared room with three single beds: £105 per night (£630)
  • Single occupancy: £155 per night (£930)

  • Reduced fee places at £550 are offered to people with their own accommodation arrangements in Gozo

  • One reduced place at £500 is available to a person who is willing to offer extra support to our chef in the preparation of meals

10% discount for couples and other bookings in twos.

A limited number of non-participating partners are allowed on this retreat. Please contact us for details and to check availability.

If finance is a problem at the moment and you feel you would benefit from participating in this retreat, please get in touch.

The fee includes accommodation for 6 nights, mindfulness tuition, therapeutic programme with horses, 3 delicious meals a day and unlimited snacks and drinks. Participants are expected to arrange their own flights. CPD certificates are available on request.

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Other features and activities

  • Systematic instructions and careful guidance in mindfulness
  • Structured activities with horses based on equine-assisted therapy
  • Delicious and healthy meals (vegetarian and some seafood)
  • Community living, periods of working meditation and involvement in preparation of meals
  • Amazing sound bath experience
  • Guided walks in nature
  • Access to swimming pool
  • High quality accommodation with en-suite bathrooms
  • Optional Lomi Lomi massage

Accommodation
We will be staying in the Tan-Nannu, a traditional and inviting farmhouse in the village of Xaghra in Gozo. This spacious house has plenty of bathrooms, swimming pool and is conveniently located near the Ggantija temples and within walking distance to the Dreams of Horses Farm where part of our programme will be taking place. There are two double bedrooms available for couples.

Hamlet Swimming Pool
Hamlet Kitchen
Hamlet Bedroom

Location
This retreat will take place in the middle of the Mediterranean sea on the island of Gozo in the village of Ghammar. Gozo, which means 'joy', is a little spit of land sitting in the Mediterranean Sea with unique rocky coastal landscape, waters so crystal-clear and the sky so bright blue that you’ll have to rub your eyes to believe what you are seeing. Gozo is the second largest island of the Maltese Archipelago and is an ideal destination for those who treasure a slow, relaxed rhythm of life and cherish unspoilt countryside and being close to the sea.

How to Get Here
Fly in to Malta International Airport (flights are between £85 and £130). There is a direct bus X1 (€2), coaches and taxis, that will take you from the airport directly to the Gozo Ferry Terminal. It takes 20 minutes to cross to Gozo. You only pay for the ferry when you leave the island (€4.50). Taxi to the farmhouse is around €17-€20. We can also organise a transfer from the airport to the farmhouse.

Optional Activity: Lomi Lomi Massage
Those participants who are interested in experiencing some extra comfort and soothing might be interested in having a 2-hour Hawaiian massage Lomi Lomi at £70. In this powerful form of massage we touch not only the physical but also the emotional body and work with the subtle energies and emotions that influence the physical body.

mindful retreat with horses

Other activities
Gozo is known as a great destination for nature walks, hiking, snorkeling, diving and trips to the beach or cliffs. You can also visit one of its impressive churches, local markets, or wine farms. We can also recommend a local massage therapist for those who are interested. There are plenty of options and some of our past retreatants were happy to arrive in Gozo a few days before the retreat or stay on afterwards.

Cancellation policy
In the event that you need to cancel your place, please let us know as soon as possible. Deposits are non-refundable, however, your place can be transferable. A place is reserved only when the £300 deposit is received. We reserve the right to make alterations to our events should the need arise.

Booking
We request that a non-refundable deposit of £300 is paid at the time of booking. The remaining amount is due 4 weeks prior to the retreat.

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