Join leading presenters in the field of horse-human experiential learning and explore the many aspects of the horse–human relationship for three days of inspiration, education, healing & spiritual enrichment!  

Joanne Byrnes & Saan Ecker

Session 1: Equine-Assisted Constellations 

In Family and Systemic Constellations, we explore people’s entanglements with other members of their system. More than 30 years ago, Bert Hellinger noticed patterns and developed this method. He shows that love is at work behind all human behaviour and by using this method, a living map emerges that makes visible the hidden dynamics that could cause entanglements or blocks.

The goal is to allow participants to experience the horses and others to represent part of your system, and in doing so release blocks and allow the love to flow.

Join Joanne and Saan February 7 for a full-day pre-festival workshop on Equine-assisted Constellations.

Session 2: Human - Horse Interactions

The effects of horses at liberty on human heart rate variability. This presentation will roll out new research carried out at Peakgrove Solutions on how horses help humans to self-regulate. Accompanied with a discussion of where to from here. 

About Joanne and Saan

Laura Williams

Session 1: What horses can teach us about mutual respect, boundaries, and consent

When does a horse first notice you enter his/her energy bubble? When you walk into the paddock? Or was it before you even left the house? How can we track a horse's response to our intentions and our approach and show them that we are really listening to what they have to say? How can we best set them and ourselves up for dialogue and mutually respectful interactions, while being true to who we are and how we show up in the world? If your horse walks away from you - is it a "No", or a "No not now?"

Learn tools to explore consent with horses, get curious about each others' boundaries, and how you can turn a "no" into a "yes". Practice these skills at liberty with the Dune Lakes herd. Take home activity ideas to try with your EFL clients and your horses. 

Session 2: Horse Power Retreats - A Quick Start Guide

Laura partners with the Grant Life Foundation in Russia to help teen cancer warriors connect with horses and their own intuition to find new meaning in their lives.

In this session, which will include a presentation and demonstration with the horses, Laura will roll out her three-day retreat program which includes equine, nature and art therapy and holding space for the group to process their insights. You will learn creative tools and tips for organizing your own all-inclusive retreats for different target groups, as well as ways to reach out to new audiences. 

Join Laura February 7 for a full-day pre-festival workshop on Dialogue and Consent and practice your new skills in a supportive environment with the Dune Lakes herd. 

About Laura

Suze Kenington

Animal Communication from the Heart of Horses

Suze connects horses and their humans with Animal Communication. She invites you into the world horses have shared, their guidance, their hopefulness, their preferences and their desire to help us remember who we really are.

Horses feel into our hearts, without judgement, and guide us to being our creative, powerful and loving true- selves.

Hear more about what the horses have to say on Suze's post for the festival blog.

About Suze

Judy Brightman

Session 1: Journeying Home..a Shamanic Approach to Connection

This session will give a brief overview of shamanic practice and how to journey with intention. Shamanic practice is increasingly popular in the western world and its approach to healing, connecting to power animals and spirit guides for guidance and to explore the spiritual essence of all in nature is available to all. There are many lineages and traditions, but common to all indigenous peoples and ancient wisdom is the path of the heart, connected inextricably with the natural world. It will include a guided journey followed by reflection with the herd and gathering to share experience.

Session 2: Ancestral Healing, Guided by Horses

Ancestral healing is a cornerstone of healing oneself in this earth walk, as well as contributing to the healing of the planet. An important part of shamanic practice, acknowledging and honouring ancestors, as well as preparing for good death and honouring grief is a practice largely lost to the western world.

Ancient wisdom can open a path for healing ourselves, our ancestral wounds and thus our descendants. We can open this pathway for the horses in our care too, thus improving all our well-being.

Join Judy and colleague Stephanie Sawtelle February 11 for a full-day post-festival workshop on Creating Sacred Space. 

About Judy

Stephanie Sawtelle

Session 1: Sacred Ritual with Horse

Connecting people, horses, and the natural world through the practice of sacred ritual. During this session you will receive the Sacred Rituals with Horse Guiding Principles, discover the benefits of ritual as a regular practice, weave together the 5 elements that create a unique ritual experience, and become aware of an ever-evolving, co-creative process with one another, animals, earth, and Source.

As a group we will create and engage in ritual with the Dune Lakes horses and experience what possibilities open to us when we take the time to simply BE in each other's presence.

Session 2: Accessing Your Black Horse Wisdom

In this equine-inspired intuitive awareness development session you will learn about the horse as a physically and energetically highly-sensitive being, compare and contrast the intuitive nature of horses and humans, be invited to consider intuitive knowledge as a way to balance other forms of intelligence including logic, reason, and emotion, identify and develop your own unique intuitive gifts, and learn practical tools and techniques that build self-trust and self-confidence. Become empowered through balancing intuitive insights with self-care and healthy boundaries.

Join Stephanie and colleague Judy Brightman February 11 for a full-day post-festival workshop on Creating Sacred Space. 

About Stephanie

Elder & Marilyn Jenks

Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Film

Every two years up to two hundred wild Kaimanawa horses are culled from New Zealand Army land in the Kaimanawa Ranges, to protect the native flora and sustain the environment for the horses to thrive. The Kaimanawa Heritage Horses (KHH) mission is to increase successful adoptions of wild horses and to promote the horse’s versatility and trainability. Through advertising for suitable homes, undertaking home checks and following up on new owners the KHH ensures the welfare of these captured horses remains a priority.

The Kaimanawa horse is a unique and historically important link to New Zealand’s recent past. Identified as a breed with distinct and unique characteristics, the Kaimanawa horse has proved to be a great all-round riding pony.

About Elder & Marilyn

Melinda Blackwell

Session 1: Thinking Outside the Paddock

A common question I hear at EAGALA, EGEA, PATH, and EAHEA conferences is, "Where can I find new ideas for activities that engage clients and respect the herd?" As an educator working with "at risk" youth for nearly 25 years, I have loved finding and creating ways to keep youth actively involved.

Fresh ideas nourish and enrich our EAL/EAP programs and keep human and herd facilitators excited and engaged. A creative/ mindfulness Art Activity and herd's assessment of our creations will be part of this session as an example of "Outside the Paddock" thinking.

Session 2: Creativity in the Arena

Participants will experience a "taste" of EAL activities gleaned from non EAL/EAP sources and modified into EAL/EAP activities. Sources that inspire creation of these activities include Experiential Education, Adventure / Outdoor Education, and Liberal Art studies. Discussion and activity debrief will be within the presence of the herd - their feedback rules! Handouts will be available.

About Melinda

Rosemary Wyndham-Jones

Session 1: Leadership with Horses

Come with Rosemary into the rolling hills and paddocks of Dune Lakes Lodge to be with the herd. See and experience the essence of leadership in body, mind, and spirit. Learn of your connection to self and others, its movement within you and between you and the beings around you.

As the gate opens for the herd and horses move, open the gate of your own understanding. Follow and be followed. Guide and be guided. Experience and practice what leadership is as it exists from moment to moment, from in front, from behind, and in coming alongside. Find the intimate and personal nature of leadership in connection, and how it translates in the paddock, arena, or round pen. Opportunities for both observation and hands on experiences with the horses will be highlighted.

Session 2: Inducing a Peaceful State and Creating Sacred Space with Horses  

This is a practice shared between a human and his/her animals to induce a peaceful state and help develop trust. This level of connection builds a core bond and confidence in each other, which can then develop and extend to other areas.

When the relationship shifts from fear to trust, we can help our horses become more relaxed, reduce tension, and become more in tune with their needs. In this session you will learn some of the keys to entering into a sacred space in order to connect with your horse and build a foundation for mutual trust and learning.

About Rosemary

Geraldine Keith

Session 1:  Post Traumatic Growth

Geraldine is a clinical Psychologist who has been in private practice for over 35 years. In this session Geraldine will explore ways working with horses can help people to grow beyond post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  She will also address issues practitioners should be mindful of when dealing with trauma.

Geraldine's own personal journey included a special horse called ‘Rueben’ who helped her come to a place of wellbeing through her relationship with him, as well as manage the grief she felt when he left.

More on post-traumatic growth in the festival blog.

Session 2:  Evaluating the Success of Equine-assisted Psychotherapy

Equine-assisted learning and psychotherapy are gaining popularity worldwide. However, naysayers often question how practitioners measure the results and whether or not progress is real.

Geraldine's strong science background has made her curious about the swift and robust changes in EAL/P clients' wellbeing compared to outcomes from a “talk therapy” approach.  But she feels that in order to gain credibility and acceptance, practitioners of EAL/P need to improve how they document sessions and carry out evaluations.  

Geraldine will talk us through how to define objective measures to assist clients in understanding what they are achieving.

About Geraldine

Rob Pliskin

Session 1: Medicine Walk with Horses

This session is a compact version of a one-day personal growth and spirituality workshop and ceremony based in many Native North American traditions. It will take place with Dune Lakes Lodge horses in their natural surroundings, where participants will experience its key learnings.

As Ceremony, a Medicine Walk begins when you commit to it and ends when you close the circle and return to your Earth Walk. In this workshop its four parts include an Opening Council Circle, Crossing the Threshold, an individual silent Medicine Walk blended with an experiential Medicine Walk with the horses, and a closing Council Circle Mending the Sacred Hoop.

Session 2:  Trauma to Transformation - How Horses Guide Us to Post-Traumatic Growth

This session will be an introduction to the topic of Rob's post-festival, full-day workshop on February 12.  Rob will cover the five components of post-traumatic growth and discuss ways in which horses help support people with PTSD to heal and grow.  

About Rob

Cheryl Cruttenden

​​​​Session 1: Chi and Horsemanship

Connecting with Horse requires attuning to and entering the horse’s realm of present moment awareness. The emotional, mental, and physical state fostered by Tai Chi supports the equestrian principles of posture, breath, and awareness, with relaxation, coherence, alignment, visualisation, and balance all being attributes of open awareness, energy flow, and communication. Breath awareness, gentle core based movement, and correct posture can lower your and your horse’s centre of gravity and reduce TMJ issues and body tension to ensure free flowing, skeletally aligned balance with calmness and enhanced awareness. 

Session 2: Zen-taur Yourself

Horses pay attention to your body as if you were another horse. Every time you interact with Horse (or another person!), your thoughts, feelings, and emotional energetic state profoundly affect how Horse (and people) will respond to you. What you think you are communicating to horse from your head-based ideas may actually be quite different to what you are unconsciously conveying through body language, your nervous system, heart, and gut. With enhanced awareness of your automated re-actions and body based patterns, you can then begin to make changes - being re-sponsive instead of re-active.

About Cheryl

Nadine Vollmerg

Session 1: Introduction to the Masterson Method®

Showing attendees how to work with horses, either through gentle touch and/or with hands off through teaching fine tuning of awareness and perception of the horses responses in relationship to what we are doing. Through this process the horses release tension and learn to trust that we are actually listening and adjusting to them, which automatically deepens our connection with each other in a very natural, beautiful and profound way. This is something attendees can also apply straight away with their own horses at home.

Session 2: Leg Releases (Masterson Method®)

These leg releases invite the horses to release tension from the top down while also releasing endorphins. Participants learn to guide the horses towards this while developing a feel for the active releases from the horses which often happen in stages. This takes a bit of getting used to by the horses and attendees because we frequently got used to the more active way of stretching out the horses legs. This approach is about fine tuning and developing our ability to become inviting, listening, feeling, and allowing of the horses responses and releases.

About Nadine

Jane Crosbie

Session 1: Painting Horses in Black and White

In painting demos internationally acclaimed equine artist Jane Crosbie will cover the principles of equine art, drawing horses and developing a painting through to completion. Class is open to beginners or more advanced students. Session 1 will give you the skills to paint a horse using charcoal.

Session 2: Painting Horses in Colour

Following on from session 1 where we painted the horse in black and white we now paint the horse in colour using pastels. There will be demos showing different painting techniques from traditional to contemporary styles. You will learn how to develop a painting through from start to completion and learn how to develop your individual style with confidence.

About Jane

Ian and Anke Benson

Session 1: Discovering the Partnership

Building the relationship to a horse based on trust and respect. Trust and respect are two very big words that are used a lot in the horse world. What do they really mean? How do trust and respect really work? In this session we invite you to explore with us the true meanings of trust and respect and how it works within our horse human relationship. How can we transfer it into other aspects and areas of our life away from horses?

Session 2: Striking the Balance 

When we are connecting, being or doing something with a horse how do we go about it? Are we balancing our needs with the horses' needs? It is about us coming into balance and allow to the horse coming into balance to truly be and do things together.

This is a practical session with the horses balancing the 'being' with the 'doing'. Does the act of doing interrupt the being or are you doing whilst still being together? This is only one aspect of balance, as balance is a requirement for living here in our physical world while being, in essence, spiritual beings.

About Ian and Anke

Alistair Wait

Session 1: Dreams to Reality

Whilst the idea of making a difference in the world by sharing your love of horses can be inspiring and rewarding, getting the ideas out of our head and into practice can be challenging. While most of us don't do this work for money, it does take money to do it.

Who is this for? People who own a small business or aspire to start a purpose-driven venture at some point in the near future.

Session 1 details

Session 2: EAL Certification Training

An introduction to the Dune Lakes Lodge equine-assisted learning training certification. The one year training programme builds on the transformational processes within NLP to launch students into the field of equine-guided transformational change. 

EAL Certification Training is an attractive proposition for those interested in a career combining helping horses and people through a combined professional development and mentoring programme.

Session 2 details

About Alistair

Lynn Jenkin

Session 1: In the Business of EFL

In order to better human-horse relations we must be able to run sustainably. To do that we need to look at the business side of running an EFL/EAP practice as well as at the fun stuff. Key take always from this session will be an understanding of the three pillars of your business, identifying your greatest challenges, and identifying your greatest strengths.

Session 2: Your ideal Client

When we start in this sort of practice we see the endless opportunities to do good in the world of horses and people or we can get desperate so the "ideal client" is anyone that turns up. Some where between the two is the community you were born to serve - but we can need a little help to identify them. How can you identify your purpose and areas of expertise in order to target your market more effectively?

Join Lynn February 11 for a full-day post-festival workshop on Creating a Sustainable Business Working with Corporate Clients.

About Lynn

Jane Hemingway-Mohr

Creating a viable, ethical and sustainable client base

How to identify and capture clients for your EAL/EFL business. Unfortunately horses and people cannot live on air and love alone. So how do we create a viable, ethical, and sustainable client base? Jane will show you ways to create a step-by-step business plan.

About Jane

Candida Baker

Session 1: So You've Rescued a Horse!

Candida grew up with horses, and rehabilitated her first rescue horse when she was 22. After 40 years of personal horse-rescue, she became President of Save a Horse Australia in 2017. 

Candida will share her knowledge around the process of 'rescuing'; how complex it can be; and the psychological and physical issues a rescue horse can suffer from. 

She discovered natural horsemanship many years ago when dealing with a very difficult horse and since then she's studied the art of how to 'listen' to the horse in order to gain its trust, and understand that it too has a hand, or hoof, in its destiny.

Session 2: Achieving Limbic Resonance with Energy Work & Essential Oils

There is an energetic space Candida has discovered in her work with horses, which is the topic of her next book, The Secret Language of Animals. In this space, there is a psychic communication, beyond time and place, which can occur when people are shown how to drop their 'stuff', and join, through energy work, the horse in a symbiotic session which allows for magic to occur. 

Candida will also discuss the benefits of oils such as Marjoram for trauma, grief and loss, moving through to oils such as Rose for peace and joy.

About Candida

Penny Gifford

A Natural and Holistic Approach to Caring for Your Horse

Penny’s training is to understand the functions of a healthy hoof and natural environment to best work with horse owners to achieve a healthy sound horse able to perform in any discipline barefoot.

During Penny’s seminar, she will cover the requirements for healthy and happy horses in a domestic situation including movement, hoofcare, nutrition, herdlife, shelter, and comfortable equipment that does not cause physical pain as pillars of holistic horse care. 

Penny's story on the Spirit Horse Festival blog. 

About Penny

​​​Gary Cook

Session 1: Music of the Plants

Plants do understand us. But do we understand them? The true value of plant life on this planet is little realised by most folk who take it as a bounty to be harvested without any recognition of what this means to us.

Music of the Plants is a device that allows one to make a connection with the tiny bursts of electrical discharges and convert these impulses into musical notes. We are in fact able to give plants an instrument to play. 

Session 2: Meditation with Plants

Join Gary on a guided meditation accompanied by the music of the plants. Relaxing and meditative, the wondrous sounds of nature will take you on an individual journey of wonder and delight.

See Gary's video on Music of the Plants.

About Gary

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