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!  

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

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, February 11 for a full-day post-festival workshop on Creating Sacred Space. 

About Judy

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

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

​​​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

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

About Alistair

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

Geraldine Keith

Equine therapy and post traumatic growth. Part1 Saturday Part 2 Sunday.

Concepts case presentations and calibrations. Two experienced clinicians (Geraldine & Rob Pliskin) contemplate the gifts the horses give as expert companions to our clients and our practice.

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.

About Geraldine

Lou Reid

Session 1 & 2: Trapped trauma in the body

Lou takes a holistic view to finding and unblocking traumas and life experiences that have caused pain for a horse that effects its ability to move forward in every aspect. Using energy between horse and human with a hands on and off intuitive approach to communicating with a horse to feel for physical injuries or stored psychological, emotional and spiritual pain. Understanding how to read the physical body for signs of trauma or pressure within the skeleton causing pain or discomfort within the body. Being mindful of stressors and triggers for your horse and working through them psychologically to help change the horses thoughts and emotions around those things which cause behavioural issues or cause the horse to progressively regress in training or schooling or become 'stuck' or blocked in some way. Understanding the spiritual being and nature of a horse and how all the human interactions with them can scar them deeply on an emotional level and create walls that may never come down or allow us to work with them in the way we wish to and the possibilities moving forward from that point.

About Lou

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

Sol Petersen

Mindfulness for the Human Animal

Mindfulness is a word you will find almost everywhere these days in relation to health and healing, being with horses and even corporate success!

But what actually is mindfulness and how can we develop it? The Buddha said, ’Mindfulness is the sole path to liberation’. But Mindfulness is much more than simply awareness. This presentation will explore mindfulness, its relation to our very embodiment and how a Mindfulness practice may enrich our relationship to horses and even the human animals.

Tai Ji – meditation in movement

Tai Ji is a way of cultivating our true nature – the harmony of body, heart, mind and spirit. An ancient Chinese martial art and moving meditation, the correct practice of Tai Ji over time leads to deep mental and physical relaxation, profound coordination of mind and body, and the liberation of the flow of energy (Qi). Developed over the last 700 years, Tai Ji has stood the test of time. In our high stress world it is one of the most direct and easily embodied approaches to bring peace, alertness and creativity to the mind, and health and longevity to the body.

Sol will offer a daily class of Tai Ji and meditation

Structural Integration

Structural Integration is an innovative approach to well-being that recognizes the natural order inherent in the human being. When the musculoskeletal system is rebalanced and realigned and optimal movement restored, our innate self-healing abilities stimulate a new vitality. The Structural Integration Series is a sequence of 10 sessions designed to restore natural structure and function. Specific myofascial techniques, movement repatterning and guided awareness are some of the tools the practitioner will use to guide a client to a new imbalance. The essence of structural integration is to foster growth, an expansion of body awareness and conscious choice to bring aliveness, alignment and fluidity to daily body use.

Sol will be available to give demonstrations of the Structural Integration method.

About Sol

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

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

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

Deb Kent

Deb Kent, originally from the UK, is a former teacher and registered psychologist who has been working with children, young people and their families in education, social services and more recently disability services for over 20 years.

Most recently she has been working alongside young people with complex behavioural, social and emotional needs in a secure care and protection facility. The challenge of supporting these "hard to reach" young people lead her to combine her love of horses with her clinical work. After experiencing the many positive outcomes of EAL Deb trained in EAGALA last year.

Deb is also trained in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and committed to a strength based, holistic approach in her equine assisted work.

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