Liz Mitten Ryan is the founder of a retreat with an extraordinary approach to nature and therapy. It’s there that the animals are allowed to roam free on vast acres of land and guests get to interact with them. Applauded by attendees for its therapeutic properties, the retreat even became the focus of an award-winning documentary film.
According to the official website, Ryan is an “Author, Artist and Animal Communicator” and runs Equinisity Retreats from the 320 acres of land she owns at Gateway 2 Ranch, in Canada. The horse lover moved to the ranch in 1999. She has written five books about the therapeutic power of horses, which have won nine Independent Publishing awards at Book Expo America in L.A. The author also donated some of the proceeds to animal and environmental charities.
The retreat provides visitors with “life-changing, healing inspirational, spiritual and personal development retreats with horses and nature.” What makes this location unique is that the horses live as if in the wild and are allowed to roam the land in complete freedom. That’s unlike a traditional farm setting where the animals would be tied up and controlled at all times. The barn serves as a place for them to “return to daily, to rest and re-connect,” per Equinisity Retreats’ website.
The retreat was the subject of an award-winning documentary “Herd” in 2016 by Canadian Filmmaker Stefan More. In the film preview, Ryan recalls having first moved on the land and living in a tent when she found herself “afraid of the aloneness.” But when she started following the “herd” of horses, not only did she stop feeling alone, but she also became inspired to start the retreat, as she shares her belief that “the horses will heal everyone.” Ryan describes her retreat as “some sort of transformational vortex” where people can “find they’re life’s journey.”
Attending Equinisity Retreats has positively transformed the lives of many. Amongst the reviews on the website, one wrote, “This isn’t so much an escape as it is a place to leave things behind that have no place in you anymore.”
And one particularly poignant handwritten note by a woman named Jennifer reads, “Being around the horses and on the land raises everyone’s vibration, making for a perfect prescription to enjoy a more peaceful, joyful, happy life.”
running in for the morning healing
In the documentary, which follows a one-week-long retreat, visitors of the farm express their joy for taking part in this unique therapeutic space. The film shows how visitors interact with the animals and how those interactions help them heal from their troubles.
One woman tells the cameras how she had recently lost a child and found help with her grief there. Another woman can be heard saying, “This place helps you to reflect,” and that spending time there has helped her “find [herself] again.”
To sum up the benefits that come with attending such a retreat, one visitor notes poignantly in the film, “We tend to always have our masks and not be as authentic we should be. But when we become more authentic with each other, we get a deeper connection.”
Watch the video: