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  • Writer's pictureSandra Mendelson

THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT: Equinisity Retreats bring a whole new meaning to horse healing

If you have ever read Gulliver’s Travels (published in 1726), you might remember that the last port of call on Gulliver’s voyage was The Land of The Houyhnhnms: a civilization of intelligent, well-mannered equines who governed through order and reason, valued friendship and kindness above everything else, and had no word in their language for “that which is untrue.” Nice fantasy, no?

Fast forward to 2016. Close your eyes—and now open them—as you must, if you want to enter Equinisity: The “magical land” peopled by “equine higher beings here to teach and heal humans, offer re-connection and re-vitalization, dispel illusion, shift consciousness and raise personal and universal vibration.” More fiction? Nope. This is reality, for those of us who are ready to embrace what we didn’t think possible.

The home of the Equinisity experience, now in its ninth year, is Gateway 2 Ranch, in Kamloops, British Columbia, where retreats are orchestrated and guided by creator/host/author/artist/animal communicator, Liz Mitten Ryan. From a horse’s perspective—and perhaps many humans’—this place is Shangri La: The resident equines are all part of one birth family with multiple generations living side by side. They have never known a moment of human domination, forced separation or subjugation but have, instead, been supported, treated as equals and greeted with only love and affection from the moment they enter the world. Along with the dogs, cats, and Tesoro, a massive and very Buddha-like bull who also facilitate the program here, they freely roam 320 acres of idyllic forests, hills, valleys, lakes, and pastures and return to their barn where their needs—including the herd’s instinctive need to work, play and rest together—are lovingly met by humans.

The herd is similarly invited into horsey activities, never forced, and they willingly participate with nothing more than love, appreciation, acknowledgment, and carrots as the currency of exchange. Interestingly, when honored and treated this way, they have chosen to do healing work. CHOSEN?

We know of the proven healing effects of horses as a key component of therapeutic programs that address physical and mental handicaps and emotional trauma. We have witnessed the horse’s pivotal role in creating breakthrough rehabilitation of sexually abused children, veterans with PTSD, battered women, and even prison inmates who also walk away with marketable horse handling skills to rebuild their lives after their incarceration ends. But energy healings?

Once you wrap your head around the fact that these horses approach you (as you lie on a table or sit on a stool in the barn) and blast you with healing energy without coaxing, provocation, or a fee for service, you’re likely to wonder: “how do you train horses to do this?” As Liz explains, the horses choose to do this of their own volition:

“A reiki master friend brought her table over and I laid down on it. Two horses, L.E. and Diva, came right over and began doing healing work. We did this for a while, using various healers’ tables and then built our own more sturdy tables and let the horses do it by themselves. It’s important not to interfere with their energy so I just move out of their way and let the herd decide when and where to help."

Pretty matter-of-fact, but her response is indicative of a new equality-based paradigm for living, loving, and working with other species that is starting to emerge in animal sanctuaries worldwide and in programs like Equinisity’s that are popping up in the U.S. Clearly, not all horses are healers (as with people) but if we gave them the opportunity to demonstrate their desires, it is likely that we would have many more equine teachers and healers.

The healing energy emanated by these horses is palpable. But unlike humans, they are devoid of human ego, the need to be right or attachment to outcome. They also show us the power of collaboration and mutual support as they work together in harmony: A far cry from the “independence and complete self-reliance at all costs” ethic that so many of us have etched inside our consciousness.

There are some rules of the road, however, if you want these healers to show you who they truly are and what they’re here to do. In short, you need to meet them where they are: focused in the present moment, in a state of love, gratitude, respect, and honesty. You quickly realize that the space they hold is sacred and human mental garbage and negativity are about as out of place as a heavy metal band in a library. Accessing the love inside you (often with hand on heart) and meditating in the presence of the horses opens up the door to truly connecting with these loving, peaceful, and generous beings who just keep giving and giving and giving.

The clear intention to create healing and a sense of Oneness with all life is the language spoken by the herd. The result is the removal of the obstacles that keep us from connecting on a level that allows miracles to manifest in our lives. So what does that mean to the participant? It means that STUFF SHIFTS…seriously. You may feel pain dissolve or energy pulsing through your body; you are likely to feel a peace so complete and profound that you could rival the inside of a jelly donut. During the course of the retreat you will experience extended periods of time when your monkey mind has seemingly left the premises and you awaken to gifts and abilities you never knew you possessed. Your path and purpose become so much clearer as you realize your heart’s desire. All this as a result of blissfully joining energy with the horses, sharing breath and space as they hold their face next to yours, place their muzzle on your head or other energy-constricted body part, and even lie down with you. Yes they really do this. Trust reigns supreme here.

While “individual results may vary,” healing shifts in multiple areas of your life is typically the take-away, if you give yourself to the experience with a fully open mind and heart. Each one of my co-retreaters went home feeling more happy, whole, motivated and purposeful with the tools to access the peaceful place inside ourselves.

The Equinisity experience tends to draw together like-minded individuals who share a love and respect for all life. As an unexpected side benefit, the weeklong inner journey for each of us also resulted in some profound and lasting human friendships.

Our retreat experience was captured by award-winning filmmaker Stefan Morel and will soon be available as the documentary ’Herd’. The trailer can be seen at:


Sandra Mendelson, HC, CPT, CLT is an author, speaker, animal communicator and channel. She is currently at work on a book about animal consciousness. As a Certified Equine Photopuncture Therapist, LED Light Therapist and Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach, she helps humans create deeper bonds with their animal partners, by identifying health imbalances and accelerating recovery through the use of animal communication, acupuncture with light, red and infrared light therapy, anti-inflammatory nutrition and detoxification.

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