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New Beginnings Mustang Gentling Retreat

A one week intensive mustang gentling and wellness retreat

Dates:

Option 1: April 12-19th, 2024

Option 2: June 7-14th, 2024

Address:

130 Old Cranston Road

Sterling, CT 06377

Create a genuine connection

Join us in a transformational experience for yourself and the mustangs! This retreat will focus on the basics of training theory as well as how that relates to us in our daily lives. We will spend a lot of time in nature focusing on introspective journaling and meditation as well as fun and active community building activities with the group. We'll be working with freshly wild horses to create their first impression of what life with humans will be like for them. We will help you choose an unhandled mustang on Friday at the BLM adoption event in Swanzey, NH (or Annville, PA for the june event), bring the horse home to our facility in Sterling CT. You can meet us at the event or drive up with us if you're planning on adopting, otherwise attendance is optional. Using positive reinforcement and awareness based training techniques, we will work towards having your horse trained in the basic behaviors such as haltering, leading, picking up the feet and loading into a trailer so you can bring her home with you. Not sure if you're ready for horse ownership? No worries, you can work with one of our adoptable horses or just observe from the sidelines.

Cost including meals and camping accommodations (split into three payments)

Adopter: $2950 (choose a horse to adopt at the event and work with all week)

Participant: $2450 (be assigned one of our adoptable horses to work with - training levels may vary)

Observer: $1950 (Audit training sessions without being assigned a horse, but participate in all other activities)

Also included: 6 week live virtual course on mustang training basics

Accommodations: we are offering camping in tents with wood stoves or there are local airbnbs and hotels you can stay at if you'd prefer. NOTE: tent shown below is a stock image, our campsites are under construction. Every other picture is our beauiful facility!

Dates

Option 1: April 12-19, 2024, where we will attend the Swanzey, NH Adoption event and begin our training the day after we bring the horses home.

Option 2: June 7-14th, 2024, where we will attend the Annville, PA Adoption event and begin our training the day after we bring the horses home.

Daily activities will include:

8am: Breakfast (yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, coffee, tea, juice)

9am: Morning meditation and yoga classes

10am: Lecture

11am: Training sessions

12pm: Lunch break (make your own sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, sides, beverages - vegan and gluten free options available)

1pm: Training demo

2pm: Training sessions

3pm: Afternoon Activity (hiking, journaling, off road excursions)

4pm: Free time or additional help with training

6pm: Dinner (we will be coordinating with a local restaurant depending on dietary needs and preferences)

7pm: Evening Activity (creative projects, discussion groups, movies, etc)

  • Gentling Retreat: Adopter

    983.33$
    Every month
    Adopt your own mustang
    Valid for 3 months
    • Gentling Retreat: Participant

      816.67$
      Every month
      Work with one of our horses
      Valid for 3 months
      • New Beginnings Mustang Gentling Retreat
    • Gentling Retreat: Observer

      650$
      Every month
      Participate in all activities except horse training, where you will audit our training sessions
      Valid for 3 months
      • New Beginnings Mustang Gentling Retreat

    Daily Schedule

    Tentative - subject to change based on weather and other factors
    Thursday April 11

    Optional - come early, settle in and set up your camp site. No dinner or other activities.

    Friday April 12 - Daily theme: Beginnings
    Option #1: Meet us at the adoption event at 8am in Swanzey, NH
    Option #2: Meet at our facility at 5:30am and drive up to the event with us
    Option #3: Skip it! If you're not adopting, attendance at the adoption event is optional
    *Breakfast and lunch will not be served on Friday because we will be on the road, so plan to stop at a restaurant or store and buy your own breakfast/lunch/snacks
    Once we arrive back at our facility, we will unload the horses. We ask that you let them settle in and do not interact with them. We will be doing safety briefings and giving tours of the facility to attendees who are here prior to the official start of the retreat at 6pm. In the mean time, you're encouraged to settle in, set up camp, explore the property.
    6pm: Welcome and opening ceremony with campfire with food (various appetizers, cheeses, meats, fruits)
    7pm: Get to know each other game night and ice breakers


    Saturday April 13 - Daily Theme: Grounding
    Training objective: Cultivating Awareness to Create a Safe Environment
    8am: Breakfast
    9am: Morning meditation and yoga class 
    10am: Lecture - Operant and classical conditioning, learning quadrants, stress signals, calming signals, nervous system regulation, engagement level
    11am: Training sessions with the mustangs
    12pm: Lunch break
    1pm: Training demonstration - the four quadrants & the basics of clicker training
    2pm: Training sessions with the mustangs
    3pm: Afternoon Activity: build your own terrarium. We will hike through the property to look for plants, mosses, rocks and more to build our own terrarium
    4pm: Free time or additional help with training your horse
    6pm: Dinner
    7pm: Evening Activity: movie night under the stars

    Sunday April 14 - Daily Theme: Creativity
    Training objective: Become comfortable sharing space and touching
    8am: Breakfast
    9am: Morning meditation and yoga class
    10am: Lecture - eliciting and shaping behaviors
    11am: Training sessions with the horses.
    12pm: Lunch break
    1pm: Training demonstration on creative approaches to train a behavior
    2pm: Training sessions with the horses
    3pm: Afternoon Activity: journaling sessions with prompts and discussion
    4pm: Free time or additional help with training your horse
    6pm: Dinner
    7pm: Evening Activity: Paint your horse or pet. Jody Whitsell has been painting vibrant, colorful and creative portraits for nearly 25 years and now she's helping others learn to paint. You will provide a headshot of your horse or other pet by Friday and she will put an outline on canvas and walk you through creating your own masterpiece step by step

    Monday April 15 - Daily Theme: Empowerment
    Training objective: Self haltering
    8am: Breakfast
    9am: Morning meditation and yoga class
    10am: Lecture - empowering your horse through choice. Start buttons, stop buttons, anchor behaviors.
    11am: Training sessions with the horses.
    12pm: Lunch break
    1pm: Training demonstration on two way communication techniques
    2pm: Training sessions with the horses
    3pm: Afternoon Activity - off roading tours
    4pm: Free time or additional help with training your horse
    6pm: Dinner
    7pm: Evening Activity - Campfire discussion: species appropriate lifestyle for both horses and humans

    Tuesday April 16 - Daily Theme: Compassion
    Training objective: Hoof handling
    8am: Breakfast
    9am: Morning meditation and yoga class
    10am: Lecture - building trust with a prey animal mindset
    11am: Training sessions with the horses.
    12pm: Lunch break
    1pm: Training demonstration - hoof care, trimming basics, introducing your horse to the farrier
    2pm: Training sessions with the horses
    3pm: Afternoon Activity - moving emotions through the body
    4pm: Free time or additional help with training your horse
    6pm: Dinner
    7pm: Evening Activity - guided meditation

    Wednesday April 17 - Daily Theme: Voice
    Training objective: Leading & Maneuvering
    8am: Breakfast
    9am: Morning meditation and yoga class
    10am: Lecture - what positive reinforcement looks like in various situations - emergencies, other people handling your horse, rehoming, etc.
    11am: Training sessions with the horses.
    12pm: Lunch break
    1pm: Training demonstration - taking one of our horses on a hike and seeing what comes up and addressing it
    2pm: Training sessions with the horses
    3pm: Afternoon Activity - journaling sessions with prompts and discussion
    4pm: Free time or additional help with training your horse
    6pm: Dinner
    7pm: Evening Activity - improv games

    Thursday April 18 - Daily Theme: Vision
    Training objective: Trailer loading and obstacles
    8am: Breakfast 
    9am: Morning meditation and yoga class
    10am: Lecture - goal setting and training plans
    11am: Training sessions with the horses.
    12pm: Lunch break
    1pm: Training demonstration
    2pm: Training sessions with the horses
    3pm: Afternoon Activity - slack line obstacle course
    4pm: Free time or additional help with training your horse
    6pm: Dinner
    7pm: Evening Activity - vision boards

    Friday April 19 - Daily Theme: Connection
    Training objective: Trainer's choice
    8am: Breakfast
    9am: Morning meditation and yoga class
    10am: Training sessions with the horses
    12pm: Lunch break 
    1pm: Closing ceremony

     

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