Healing with Horses, Mustique
Luxury healing retreat with equine-assisted coaching & horse-riding on a Caribbean island
Horse-riders (keen or rusty) who want to regain their inner sense of play and find freedom in their lives
Those who don’t love horses or have never ridden one before
These individual, week-long luxury healing retreats combine the magic of individual life coaching with the beauty of working with horses to help you get away from the ‘busyness’ of life and reconnect to yourself. They’re led by mentor and life coach Jessica McGregor Johnson and equine-assisted growth and learning specialist Liz Saint, and your base is a simply stunning villa on the private island of Mustique. Private group retreats are also possible by arrangement if you’d like to come with your friends.
Mustique is a private island that feels very far away from the rest of the world. Jessica McGregor Johnson has been around horses since she was three and Liz Saint has worked with them for over 35 years – together they know just how powerful they can be as a coaching tool to reflect back our current reality.
There are no treatments or spa facilities at the villa but guests are welcome to book the facilities at the Cotton House hotel. You need to be fit enough to ride out for two hours each day, and you need to have some basic riding experience to attend. It’s not the most affordable retreat on the planet.
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These retreats combines optional morning meditation and gentle yoga with daily morning horse riding (including swimming with the horses in the sea), afternoon life coaching and early evening equine-assisted coaching sessions.
Jessica McGregor Johnson has been coaching and running retreats for over 13 years. She originally trained privately with Andrew Hunter, a coach and trainer in Spain, and went on to study NLP with Christopher Howard Trainings, but she calls herself a guide and mentor rather than a coach because she gives advice, drawing on her wide life experience (from getting married to the wrong person to being a hang gliding addict to spending four years living in an ashram) to offer guidance every step of the way.
Liz Saint (seen riding) is an Equine Specialist and Life Coach who has worked with horses for over 35 years. In 2013 she qualified as an EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning) Equine Specialist and since has then has been using horses as a healing and coaching tool for personal transformations. She’s passionate about working with horses in the process of unlocking the human heart.
Before breakfast Jessica leads an optional morning meditation session to help you start to build awareness of what your mind is up to. There’s then a gentle stretch session to get your body relaxed and ready to be with the horses.
The two-hour morning rides will be over a variety of trails on the island as well as taking the horses on the beach and swimming them in the sea. On these rides you may do some individual coaching, for there’s nothing like that rhythmical feeling for relaxing the mind and getting insights.
In the early evening there will be a group coaching session with the horses. Each evening focuses on one participant and the rest of the group will, under the expert guidance of Liz, support the session. These sessions can bring great insight into your current situation and what’s stopping you creating the life you want.
In the afternoon there is time for private individual coaching sessions with either Jessica or Liz. Guests set an intention for what they wish to get out of their retreat and these sessions will be focused on serving that intention.
There’ll be plenty of playtime to take both horses and yourself for a swim at the beach, or to enjoy that all-important quiet thinking time in the gardens or by the pool. You’ll be asked to set an intention before your retreat, so you get the most of your experience.
You stay in the Cotton House Hotel or an impeccable, state of the art luxury private villa where every guest has a beautifully appointed all-white ensuite bedroom with luxury bathrooms. The rooms are huge and beautiful, with splashes of tropical colour and fantastic views, and every need taken care of here by a butler, housekeeper, maid and gardener. The gardens are beautifully kept with a variety of private spaces to hang out in too, including gazebos by the pool.
Be clear on what you want to get out of the retreat – set an intention so you make the most of it. Dive in 100% – the more you put in the more you get out of it. Bring only casual clothes – there is no dress code – this is where the rich come to truly hide away and there are no expectations or paparazzi!
When to Go
The weather is a pretty constant, with temperatures ranging from 24 – 29 C throughout the year, so the island is pleasant to visit year round. The group June and December retreats are timed for the quiet seasons, but individual retreats can be arranged at any time.
You eat in beautiful dining areas both inside and outside the villa – the outside area is covered, and sports a stunning view over the sea. The inside dining room has an all-white décor and feels very fresh, cool and tropical. There’s one evening out, when you go to one of the lovely local beach bars.
A private in-house chef freshly prepares all the meals, usually using ingredients brought in from nearby St Lucia. Menus are devised to suit the group, but will always include a mix of meats, fish and vegetables, with vegetarians, vegans and those with special dietary requirements catered for if requested in advance.Breakfasts will have a selection of cereals, fruits, eggs, bread or toast, tea and coffee and fruit juice. Main meals may be picnics on the beach for lunch or a BBQ at the villa or a sit-down supper some delicious specialities created by the chef. There are no food or drink restrictions, but you’re asked to drink alcohol in moderation. There’s a variety of soft drinks available and wine is included.
Mustique is privately owned and run by The Mustique Company, which oversees and runs everything including the private villas. It has established a range of services for the local community including a primary school, medical clinic, library and church.
The Primary School has students aged from 5-11 years who are taught by local and international teachers, and a range of adult education programmes are taught in the community centre to encourage employment on the island and further afield.
All ingredients are brought in from nearby St Lucia – none are sourced on the island – but Mustique run preservation and conservation programmes to ensure the protection and production of native flora and fauna habitats. Much of the island remains undeveloped, leaving great swathes of natural habitat for the local wildlife. Some of the roads have been left as dirt tracks to minimize the footprint, and a comprehensive recycling programme has been initiated to ensure all waste is environmentally treated and recycled.
Jessica has a pro bono programme that offers coaching to local people in her home country of Spain who would not be able to afford her programmes.
Airport: St Lucia
Transfer time: 30 mins by plane