Wellness Retreats with Horses

Equine Guided Growth

If you are stressed to breaking point and desperately need to get away from it all, pack your bags and join me here in the sun-blessed south of France. I live 90 minutes north of the Spanish border, in the foothills of the mighty Pyrénées mountains, in a 200-year-old French farmhouse with a small herd of free-range Friesian horses. Choose from five unique 5, 7 or 14-day wellness retreats:

Walking the Camino de Santiago Wine Tasting and Wellness RetreatMore Info
Clean Your Body Clean Your Mind Intermittent Fasting Weight loss and Wellness RetreatMore Info
Connect with Horses Mindfulness and Meditation Retreat – dramatically lower your stress levels with the help of HorsesSee below
Write Your Story Writers RetreatMore Info
Claim Your Magical Future Wellness RetreatMore Info
Illuminating Christmas/New Year RetreatMore Info
Both 5-day and 7-day retreats start on Saturdays

Brandnew in 2022: Forest Bathing (shinrin-yoku) and Overnight with Friesian Horses

If you feel overwhelmed, click on the button below for instant stress relief as well as the support you need to develop a powerful long-term stress management strategy:

Introducing SemperEquus’ most popular wellness retreat:

The unique 5/7/14 day Connect with Horses Mindfulness Meditation Retreat

Are stress and self-doubt ruining your attempts to live a long, happy, healthy and fulfilling life, full of purpose and meaning?

11225Bonjour, I’m Margaretha and with me in the picture is my soul-mare Belle. I live in the south of France with my horses, where I host residential retreats with the help of my horses, including the confidence-boosting and stress-reducing Connect with Horses 5/7/14 day retreats (see below.)  I am also the author of 4 books, all horse-inspired, life-enriching and subtly French flavoured.

My Connect with Horses Retreats, based on Equine-facilitated Mindfulness and Equine-Guided Meditation, in the south of France, will dramatically increase your self-confidence and enable you to significantly lower your stress levels by connecting with my horses in an enriching, compelling and transformational way. 

Working as a medical doctor for more than 20 years has taught me a lot, but not as much as dealing for nearly thirty years with a debilitating eye disease that threatens my sight. In my books, during my masterclasses and during my Connect with Horses residential retreats, my aim is to empower you to

  • compassionately accept yourself and appreciate your unique talents and abilities,
  • free yourself from immobilising fear and substantially increase your self-confidence,
  • communicate more efficiently and with more assertiveness,
  • eradicate limiting beliefs and replace them with inspiring beliefs,
  • develop more successful problem-solving skills,
  • believe in yourself so that you can make the changes you want to make in your life,
  • build strong, long-lasting relationships,
  • create a solid and reliable support network so that you can ask for help before you feel totally overwhelmed,
  • set firm boundaries and say NO without feeling guilty or needing to explain,
  • discover simple techniques to easily and effectively deal with stressful situations and
  • celebrate your success without needing to apologise for being brilliant.

Now you too can discover the secret of exceptionally calm and collected people, by attending a Connect with Horses Mindfulness Meditation Retreat in the sun-drenched south of France. During the retreat, you will first and foremost, be able to rest, relax and recharge your batteries. You will also benefit from attending this retreat because, with the empowering help of our horses, you will develop a new set of skills to help improve the quality of your life.


Spending time in nature and moving during hours in the forest or in a field helped me see where I wanted to move in my life. I gained clarity about my direction, my projects and desires in different areas of my life. I got very enthusiastic and I love that feeling! During the evenings we shared dinner and had very interesting conversations, you gave me new ideas and new points of view that were really enriching. I liked listening to your wisdom and exchanging with you. Thank you for this experience! B. M.

My stay with Margaretha was so enjoyable. Learning how to overcome my weight problems permanently with intermittent fasting was invaluable. My goal is in sight. Walks along the Camino were delightful and relaxing. Looking forward to a return visit. M. Ede

A huge thank you for making my retreat so special, it was without doubt one of the best weeks of my life. The experience was truly life-changing! G Sugden

Thank you so much for allowing me into your home for the last few days. Your kindness, patience and generosity have touched me deeply. The time that Belle, Aurore and Tess let me spend with them and the lessons they taught me have been truly healing and extremely cathartic. You have created something really unique and magic here and I am in awe of the power of it. May it always bring you as much peace and fulfillment as it did me. With deep gratitude, A Campbell


“Thanks again for sharing your life with us! I had such a wonderful time at your place and in your company. I feel revitalised, relaxed and blessed. All the best and big hugs for you and all the cats, horses and dog.” E.G. Meijling


“A powerful and wonderful life experience, with caring guidance by Margaretha. One can truly experience a mindful meditation with the horses who are definitely spiritual. Also, your senses become reinvigorated with the beautiful food and wine, whilst sitting and listening to the unique sound of nature’s calmness.” S. Murphy

Thank you so much for a wonderful week. The way you welcomed me was heart-warming. I find myself often dreaming about your piece of paradise and all my new friends there. Margaretha- I learned so much for which I thank you! CM Munroe

Thank you so much for the beautiful day on Saturday. It was a truly special and treasurable experience that I feel very lucky to have had. Your horses are such lovely characters and it was fun getting to know them a little. They have stayed in my mind. I would love to come back again…B. Gracias

I feel so incredibly lucky to have had this chance that worked out so amazingly in divine timing. I know that you are, yourself, going through a stressful time and so that is why I am even more grateful that despite that, you were there to help me through this transition. I am also inspired by you and how you have faced your challenges, and I appreciate so much that you are also so human, with vulnerabilities just like we all have. Thanks also for sharing these moments with me.  A Alyahya

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is s-janssen.jpg

I will be eternally grateful for these memorable deep relaxing sincere moments of introspection with you & the horses. A real eye-opener! Thank you for everything. S Janssen

With so much uncertainty, it doesn’t make sense to plan any international travel just yet however painful that might be. It was because of that and my dire dire need to have a break that I did some research and the Universe pointed me in Margaretha’s direction. Not only did I have a truly wonderful time being totally looked after, but I have made a lovely new friend that I hope will be part of my life for a very long time. Margaretha offers a variety of retreat options and being the sole retreatant, I took a 10-day hybrid retreat with food, wine, walking, a weeny bit of yoga, some writing, horse stroking and as many interesting conversations as I wanted (or none if I wasn’t up for talking). I read (a whole book which I haven’t done for a very long time!), relaxed, slept and walked a couple of stretches of the Camino de Santiago. We visited a social community project where Margaretha volunteers (fantastic!) and I had lots of coffees and lunch with her friends. I even remember one saying “next time you come we’ll take you…” It was just what I needed to be made so welcome and spoiled. So a huge thank you Margaretha and to all the lovely people you introduced me to during my time in the Gers. If anyone is looking to catch their breath in a little corner of paradise with its own in-house angel, this is it. M Richards

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is laura-sml-1.jpg

 I really needed the time to find myself again. After a few days there I started sleeping better, I feel more relaxed and I am dealing with my pain in a better way. Margarita was the best, she’s extremely accurate in what she does, great instincts. Definitely an experience that we should all have. Now I want to take my friend as well. I cannot express in here how much I learned about me and how to handle situations in my job. L Ramirez

 I created these retreats with my horses to help you internalise how exceptional, powerful, gifted, beautiful, strong, generous, appreciated, valuable, talented, brilliant, admired, respected, courageous, special, caring and lovable you are, either on your own or in a group, so that you can benefit from the presence and support of like-minded people, from the lasting friendships that form and from the readiness of your fellow-guests (who may in their normal lives never have the opportunity to honestly express themselves) to say what they really feel, in this safe environment.

The horses make these self-development retreats UNIQUE. All activities happen with everyone’s feet firmly on the ground – there is no horse riding during these retreats.

Included in this Retreat:

  • Simple but comfortable accommodation in an 18th-century farmhouse in single or twin bedrooms with shared bathroom.
  • Brunch al fresco, weather permitting.
  • Dinner featuring local delicacies (we cater for vegetarians)
  • Tea and coffee available 24/7.
  • Transport from Nogaro to the house.
  • Free Wifi.
  • A free copy of the e-book Mindfulness and Meditation Options The book has links to useful articles, websites, TED talks, Facebook groups, guided meditations etc. that can be used during and after the workshops.

NOT included in this Retreat:

  • Transport costs to local airports and train stations – there are 5 international airports (Toulouse, Bordeaux, Tarbes/Lourdes, Biarritz and Pau) less than 2 hour’s drive from here
  • Transport from local airports to local train stations (Auch and Mont de Marsan)
  • Transport from local train stations to Nogaro.
  • Personal Health Insurance and/or Travel Insurance (we highly recommend insurance cover in case you need to cancel)


9:30 Walking Meditation with the Horses
10:30 Brunch
11:30 Equine-facilitated Mindfulness Training
12:30-16:00 Free time to spend with the horses
16h00 Tea
16:30 Equine-guided Meditation
17:30 Writing Meditation
19h30 Dinner

The program is not set in stone – the weather is the main determining factor of each day’s program. Retreats usually start on Saturdays – other options are available on request.

To make 100% sure you benefit from this retreat, there is still more:

  • To facilitate transport arrangements, or to explore the region, you are welcome to arrive a day or two early or leave a day or two after the workshop – we offer bed-and-breakfast accommodation on a day-to-day basis, at 69 EU per room per night, but only to our workshop guests,
  • Non-participating partners are very welcome, there is a lot for them to discover and do in the immediate vicinity.
  • the option to add a day to walk part of the possibly life-changing Way of St James, following in the footsteps of pilgrims who have passed this way for a thousand years on their way to Santiago de Compostella in Spain.
  • the option to add a wine tasting trip to a local wine cellar
  • the option to add a 30 min Swedish /Russian massage in our massage studio
  • To ensure everyone gets individual, quality attention and the time to ask questions, we limit our groups to a maximum of 4 guests – which means you will need to reserve early to be one of the fortunate guests who come here each year.

So seize this exceptional opportunity to spend a few nights with us NOW…to help you make your trip a special one, please let us know you are coming by making a reservation. A warm welcome awaits you amidst the Armagnac and Cotes de Gascogne vineyards in the sun-drenched south-west of France.

Do you feel stuck in a rut and desperately long to escape?

If you do, then a 5/7/14-day Connect with Horses Residential Retreat here in the sun-blessed south of France might be exactly what you need right now.

Our retreats start at 18h00 on the day of arrival to 11h00 on the day of departure. We combine equine-facilitated mindfulness and equine-guided mindfulness meditation to help you shape your future. All meals (simple but nourishing) as well as comfortable accommodation, mostly in single rooms, or in double rooms, are included. The cost of the 5-day retreat starts at 799€ (899€ private room) pp. The cost of the 7-day retreats starts at 1099€ pp. Maximum of 6 participants per workshop.

Ready to make a reservation? Or just need more information? To make an inquiry or to pay your deposit and secure your booking, please contact me with the dates that suit you at welcome2gascony(at)gmail.com 

Deposit: To confirm your booking, a 25% deposit is required. Balance of payment is due at least 30 days prior to the start of your holiday. Please note: As our deposits are not refundable and our cancellation policy is firm, we strongly recommend the purchase of adequate travel insurance.  Any cancellation received in writing up to 30 days before the holiday starts will result in a loss of 50% of the holiday price. Any cancellation made in writing less than 30 days before the holiday starts, or once the holiday has started, will result in a total loss of funds. Depending on availability, you can choose to transfer your booking to another date without incurring any additional fees. We reserve the right to cancel the holiday (if we do so your deposit is refunded in full).

Please read our terms and conditions

More about Equine-facilitated Mindfulness

Equine-facilitated Mindfulness is a variant of Equine-assisted Experiential Learning, a results-focused approach to personal development that enables you to develop more successful problem-solving skills, communicate more effectively, build healthier relationships and significantly increase your self-confidence.


“This new discipline helps even and especially those who have never been anywhere near a horse to boost their self-confidence dramatically. No riding is involved, all activities take place with participants feet firmly on the ground. All activities are followed by a debriefing session led by an experienced equine-assisted coach (moi) and a horse expert. Reasons for participants’ choices and behaviour, and the horses’ reactions to said behaviour and choices are discussed and parallels are drawn with real life. I have worked as a medical doctor for many years. I have yet to come across a more effective discipline to help people become more assertive, confident and positive about their future. So it is with great enthusiasm that I invite you to join me at our house in the south of France, 90 minutes south-east of Bordeaux, where we host our Connect with Horses residential equine-assisted personal development workshops.” Dr Margaretha Montagu

Maybe YOU have always loved or been intrigued by horses but are too scared to approach them? Or maybe you have had unfortunate experiences with horses but always remained drawn to them? Or you might be a horse rider who wants to overcome your fear of riding after a horse riding accident?

Equine-facilitated Mindfulness can help you:

  • communicate more effectively,
  • build stronger and more satisfying relationships,
  • feel better about yourself and dramatically increase your self-confidence,
  • be more assertive,
  • gain a solid sense of self-worth,
  • eradicate limiting beliefs that block your progress,
  • enhance your problem-solving skills,
  • thrive on change and challenges,
  • free yourself from immobilising fear,
  • discover and define your purpose in life,
  • deal with stress and avoid the dangerous effects, stress may have on your mental and physical health,
  • re-evaluate your life from a new perspective.

More about Equine-facilitated Mindfulness

More about Equine-guided Meditation

Equine-guided meditation is a mindfulness meditation method that is practised in the presence of one or more horses. Initially, when I started sharing this practice with our workshop participants, I decided to call it equine-facilitated meditation. My intention was that it would be a focused form of meditation, the horse serving as the focal point, instead of a candle, for example. I thought that the horse or horses would facilitate meditation in a passive way. I did not intend that the horse or horses would take an active role as in actually guiding the meditation.

To help our workshop participants reach that state of thoughtless awareness when the mind is calm, yet completely alert that I understand meditation to be, I usually start an equine-facilitated meditation session by directing them to a peaceful spot somewhere near the horses. I begin by asking them to concentrate on their breathing. At first, we breathe normally, gradually letting our breathing slow down until it is regular, smooth and slow.

I then ask them to focus their attention on one of our horses. I encourage them to engage all their senses and even imagine that they are in fact a horse, that they can see, hear, smell, feel and even taste what a horse sees, hears, smells, feels and tastes. I suggest that they imagine how it would feel to have four legs, four hooves and a tail. I ask them to imagine that they are seeing the world through a horse’s eyes, physically, mentally and sometimes metaphorically,

I encourage them to look at their individual problems as a horse would look at a problem, as a member of a herd, interdependently and individually. Sometimes, when I personally reach out to the horses, they respond in kind, offering me solutions to problems from their perspective. Guests are often surprised to find that when they are sitting near the horses, it is much easier to quieten their minds and enter the meditative state than it is at home. Especially if they do not have much meditation experience.

Horses’ ability to be at once fully present in their bodies, in their environment as well as in the moment, facilitates mindful meditation by giving us a perfect example to follow and to focus on. Our workshop participants found the sessions very useful and continued to practice equine-facilitated meditation at home, by imagining that they were still in the paddock with the horses or by watching a Youtube video made for this purpose. So it worked quite well, until the day I decided to add a loving-kindness meditation at the end of the session.

That day, everything changed. We were a small group, not more than six. We were sitting in a circle in the paddock closest to the lake. Belle, Bass, Aurore and Tess were with us in the paddock, grazing peacefully nearby. I lead the loving-kindness meditation, starting with the focus on each individual. I then moved the focus to a loved one. I then moved the focus to the horses. I asked the participants to send waves of loving-kindness to Belle, our boss mare. Before I had voiced the second sentence, Belle had walked over to us and was standing just outside the circle. She had never approached a circle before. It was intimidating because we were sitting flat on the ground and Belle is enormous: 1m65 at the withers. As I started the third sentence, she came over to me and made it quite clear that she intended entering the circle…

More about Equine-guided Meditation

Get in Touch

Thank you for visiting my website and blog. Enquiries of all kinds are welcome. I will respond to all e-mails asap, so if you don’t hear back from me within a reasonable time, please contact me again (sometimes e-mails disappear into black holes in cyberspace!) Your personal details are confidential and will not be sold, shared or distributed to any third party company.

I hope you enjoy browsing this site and return often. The site is updated frequently. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to send me some feedback. I am always interested to hear the views of my visitors (positive or negative).

We are open during our summer months.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you require any further information. I speak English, French and passable Dutch – please feel free to write to me in any of these languages.

For general enquiries, please contact me on welcome2gascony@gmail.com or fill in the form below:

Privacy notice: We take your privacy seriously. Your details are not passed on or sold to any third parties whatsoever, you are not subscribing to any mailing lists and we promise to only use your details to contact you directly ourselves.

%d bloggers like this: