Herd Meditations and Retreats
Whether it is a feeling of release and calm or a profound feeling of connection, people leave Unbridled Way Forward’s Herd Meditations and Retreats feeling transformed.
Both opportunities bring you to a peaceful, rustic setting that allows nature and horses to calm your soul. For Anne Marsland and her son, Tate, the Herd Meditation was the healing medicine they needed after a traumatic event.
A Rare Gift
In 2022, Anne’s teenage sons were at home when an active shooter tragically killed five people in their neighborhood. Just a few days before, Anne read an email about Unbridled Way Forward’s herd meditations. As a therapist herself, she specializes in supporting people who are grieving difficult losses and changes in their lives. Because of her expertise, when the event happened, Anne thought the herd meditation was something her family needed to process and heal.
On a warm fall day, Anne and Tate traveled to Unbridled Way Forward to participate in their first Herd Meditation. “With some experiences,” Anne shared, “words feel inadequate. Spending silent, intentional time with the horses felt like soul soothing, soul healing.” She continues: “Communicating without words--using touch, gentle movement, soft eye gazing, feeling the horses' soft fur, warmed by the sun--somehow helped me feel grounded and safe again, after a harrowing act of violence in our neighborhood and on the beloved greenway trail on which I walk daily.”
Tate was moved by the vastness of the pasture as well as the time given to wander around the horses. He also enjoyed sharing his thoughts with the group after the meditation had concluded. Tate is not new to meditation; it is his primary function for mental health. However, Tate shares that Unbridled Way Forward is different: “I chose to visit Unbridled Way Forward because their approach for meditation appeared radical and fresh when compared to any of my previous experiences. I could not possibly forget the time I spent with the horses and the team at Unbridled Way Forward.”
Anne and Tate attended two Herd Meditations together and treasured that sacred time together. She concludes, “I left the horse farm feeling somehow lighter, having released something there I wasn't even fully conscious I was carrying. Being with horses compels us, in a beautiful way, to be right here, right now, truly savoring the moment just as it is. A rare gift indeed.”
An uncommon ground for connection
Like Anne, Coleen Sullins has also attended a few Herd Meditations at Unbridled Way Forward as well as a Gratitude Retreat. For Coleen, part of the experience at Unbridled Way Forward is driving to and from the farm. As she heads out of the busyness of Raleigh, sights of the countryside bring her to the present and prepare her for her time with the horses. And as she heads home, the scenic drive helps her process the encounter she experienced as she re-enters urban life.
Coleen especially appreciates the Gratitude Retreat at Unbridled Way Forward, which provides longer moments of reflection and conversation. A guided meditation begins the experience, followed by time with the horses. A singing bowl peacefully brings participants back to the group for a time of processing and sharing. “The retreat is an amazing tool that has helped me be more centered and grounded in myself, helping to heal with issues and problems in a more positive way.”
Because Coleen had participated in Herd Meditations prior, she began her time at the Gratitude Retreat in the pasture sitting under an oak tree watching the environment and listening intently to the sounds around her. Participants were then divided into smaller groups, and her group elected to stay with the horses. As they were sitting, one of the horses came over to her, leaned down, and put his chin on her head. Coleen felt he was giving her a heartwarming and gentle blessing. “Sometimes we are so caught up in our own worlds,” she shares, “that we don’t make space for gratitude. That moment gave the horse and I an uncommon ground of connection, and it was an amazing experience.”
Coleen is now an advocate for Unbridled Way Forward. She firmly believes that the experiences offered “help you let go of the chaos and find a path to inner peace, gratitude, and appreciation for the things you do have, as well as how to improve your relationships.”
Coleen, Anne, and Tate have experienced many of the incredible offerings at Unbridled Way Forward, such as our herd meditations and gratitude retreats. We believe these offerings can be a positive addition to mental health and wellbeing services for both individuals and organizations. Whether you are seeking healing after trauma, find yourself stuck, or need to pursue space for reflection and transformation, we want to walk with you on your path. Incorporating horses into your healing journey will powerfully connect you to your wisdom, courage, and compassion.