Participants describe our events as “therapy on steroids”, claiming “they have achieved more in five days than in several years of weekly therapy”. In this work, horses do what they have always done for us – they speed things up. Long regarded as the most noble and empathic of creatures, they are our secret weapon to get things unstuck – fast. Our experiences beguile you to live life to the full.
Retreat & Conquer spans five days and four nights of exploration. Horses are the centre of our work – there is no requirement to ride, nor to have any horse knowledge. We will follow our evidence-based proprietary model of change which will include working with horses in nature and processing time with our therapists. Horses are great agents of change.
The Daily Programme
Day 1 - Safety
We talk about safety – a lot. How do I keep myself safe in world that feels increasingly dangerous? How do I keep myself safe sharing my story with others? We explore physical and psychological safety: what brings it and what undermines it.
Day 2 - Connections
Day two is all about the connections we forge with others. An encounter with someone for the first time is a challenging process. This connection is crucial to understand, and usually, we do not have the opportunity to understand this as it is happening. We may be able to reflect on our anxieties, hopes and aspirations beforehand, and we can reflect afterwards but in the moment is difficult. Working with horses in therapy allows us unique insights into how we connect in the here and now. What a connection conjures up can reveal significant aspects about the person.
Day 3 - Reconnection
Once a connection has been made, it is important to return and reconnect. This could take place in the same session, or the following session depending on the time available. To reconnect, either as an individual or as a group, can be a very different experience. Have things remained the same? What has been lost? What has been gained? The connect/reconnect dynamic is making the strange familiar – and, conversely, making the familiar strange again. It offers a real opportunity to work through attachment issues, and through loss.
Day 4 - Movement
Getting stuck is something we all struggle with. It's one of the most common causes for not getting what you want, and it paralyses us. What moves, and what impedes movement? Where do we get stuck? This part of the programme is of particular importance to communications, and to appreciating difference. How can we avoid making assumptions that others understand us? How do we learn to take perspective? What is our theory of the other’s mind? Difference clearly becomes an issue. How do we let someone who is not-us know what we want from them?
In groups, this is where cooperation and conflict first obviously come to the fore. The group is now more explicitly asked to complete a task of some degree of difficulty. Frustration at not knowing, and not being told surfaces. Authority is challenged, resources ignored. How can the individual or the group stay focused on the task?
Movement also involves change and transition. From standing still to stepping forwards or backwards. Speeding up or slowing down.
Day 5 - Direction
Direction is how we get sense of purpose. It offers a focus for our desires. What do I want? We may now have created movement, but do we have any agency to control it, to direct it? How do we impose our wishes on the other? Do we force or negotiate? How quickly do we give up? Where do we want to go in the first place?
A new way of life
After our last session, we encourage everyone to integrate the experience. Like beginnings, goodbyes are fraught with conflicting emotions of relief, deep sadness, and a sense of possibility. In each retreat there is an opportunity to extend your stay for a few days so you can stay with the learning, and think about how you will take your next steps in your new life. The knowledge that becomes available during the five days is hard earned and could be easily forgotten. Our programme is built with sustainability in mind.
Retreat & Conquer is an attitude, a way of life; it only truly begins as the experience ends.
How do I secure a place?
Step One: You make an enquiry and discuss availability. We ask you some application questions to ensure fit and suitability.
Step Two: We contact you with our response. If we all concur, we move to securing a place.
Step Three: You secure a place with a deposit. We send you some pre-experience work.
Step Four: We schedule a one-to-one Zoom call with one of the therapists who lead the retreat.
Step Five: Three months prior you settle the balance.
Step Six: You arrive at your destination.
Step Seven: Post-retreat we schedule a follow-up Zoom call.