Let Horses Guide You through Life Transitions Retreats

Introducing my most popular transformational retreat, available from March to November, for 5/7 days

Don’t let Life simply happen to you.

Create the Life you were meant to live, the Meaningful, Purposeful and Fulfilling Life that is aligned with what matters most to you – with the help of my horses.

The Let Horses Guide You through Life Transitions Retreats, based on equine-facilitated mindfulness and equine-guided meditation, will enable you to significantly lower your stress levels, connect with my horses in an enriching, compelling and transformational way and create the long, happy and healthy you are meant to live. 


Brandnew in 2022: Overnight with Friesian Horses and the Made-with-Love Breadbaking Ceremony on Sunday mornings

How well do you really know yourself?

Working as a medical doctor for more than 20 years has taught me a lot about myself, but not as much as dealing for nearly thirty years with a debilitating eye disease that threatens my sight. In my books and during my retreats, and with the help of my horses, my aim is to empower you to discover who you are now, and how to simply but effectively deal with stressful situations.

During the Let Horses Guide You through Life Transitions Retreats in the sun-drenched south of France, 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 my horses, you will develop a new set of skills to help improve the quality of your life.

Equine-facilitated mindfulness meditation can empower you to

  • successfully navigate challenging life transitions
  • find a simpler and more direct path to inner peace
  • compassionately accept yourself and appreciate your unique talents and abilities
  • free yourself from immobilizing fear
  • believe in yourself so that you can make the changes you want to make in your life
  • build strong, long-lasting relationships
  • discover simple techniques to easily and effectively deal with stressful situations

It’s very easy to get here. Fly or take the train from where you are to Bordeaux or Toulouse. Toulouse is the easiest to access from here. From Toulouse, there is a train to Auch, from there a bus to Nogaro. Easiest is to pick up a hire car in Bordeaux/Toulouse. Or use the carpooling website BlaBlaCar.com to get a lift for less than 20 euros. You can also fly to Pau/Tarbes-Lourdes/Biarritz. The best website for planning your trip is Rome2Rio.com.

NEW: Facilitated access for travellers flying to Bordeaux: Pick-up/drop-off from Mont de Marsan train station (subject to availability) Also, pick-up/drop-off available from Pau airport. (subject to availability)

So seize this exceptional opportunity to spend a few nights with us NOW. A warm welcome awaits you amidst the Saint-Mont and Cotes de Gascogne vineyards in the southwest of France.

I look forward to welcoming you here!

Dr Margaretha Montagu MBChB, MRCGP, MedHypDip NLP Master Cert Prof Life Coach Cert Counseling Cert EAGALA Cert

Les chevaux ont ce pouvoir magique de nous connecter à la partie la plus authentique de nous-mêmes et de nous rappeler qui nous sommes vraiment. Dr M Montagu


Testimonials

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! Barbara M.

A walking wonderland! I went on this retreat to reset and escape hectic city life for a few days. I liked that it was a well-balanced program. It was amazing to experience part of the Camino, and we walked through some breathtaking scenery. But there was also time to relax too, I read two books! And we did some yoga, meditation & breathing exercises. I came back feeling energised but also gained some clarity over some things I’d been wrestling with. The host is wonderful. We had some lovely chats over dinner. I can’t recommend her highly enough. Nikki S.

We wanted to write you this message to say hello to you and to thank you again for a wonderful time that we spent with you, Belle, Aurore, Tess and Arcadie. We find you a very warm person. We enjoyed so much talking to you, chilling on your lawn, walking with horses and admiring the tranquillity of your place. We’re both very grateful to have met you. Please, say hello to Ed and Riet for us. It was wonderful to meet them, too. They’re a lovely couple and lovely people. Thank you for giving us the idea of thinking (and, even better, writing it down) about what we’re grateful for in our lives. We’ve completed the list of 100. I even added some more. 😉
We’re sending you kind regards from Luxembourg where you’re always welcome, whenever you decide to come visit. 
Nina B

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

EM

“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

SMurphy

“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

My wife and I have spent 4 amazing days at Margaretha’s house and we had a bliss. She is such a warm person and it was so nice to talk to her over brunch and dinner. Her house is clean and it smells lovely. Every dinner that we had there was so very delicious! One can completely relax and unwind at Margaretha’s place as it is peaceful and filled with good energy. All her three horses are such gentle souls, even though they may seem veeery big. On Easter Sunday we had an enjoyable brunch with two of Margaretha’s friends, a lovely couple. There are so many vineyards within walking distance from the property so one can have beautiful walks. Besides these walks, there is also an option to walk a part (around 10 kilometres, maybe a bit more) of the Saint Jacques de Compostelle walkway. For those who like a bit of adrenaline, there is a city called Nogaro 3 kilometres away which is famous for its motorsport race track, called the Circuit Paul Armagnac. In short – we cannot but recommend visiting her oasis of tranquility. Igor S.

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

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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

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 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 had the wonderful privilege to attend the camino walking retreat. Going into the retreat my only intention was to walk in the nature and get a break from the stress of daily life. What I got in return was lot more than what I hoped for. This retreat made it possible for me to experience a beautiful part of the world which is still unscathed from tourism. Camino walks are an experience in itself and I was able to sample the walks in a small way to help me decide on committing to the whole process. The highlight of the retreat was spending time and getting the counsel of an exceptional women. Margarita is a warm and kind soul. She is also pragmatic and incredibly wise. The time I spent with Margarita opened me to a different perspective of life. I learned a thing or two about mindfulness and I am now equipped with some tools which should hopefully help to manage the stress of modern life. Needless to say, the whole experience was very nourishing and I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. J.Anto

Have you always been fascinated by horses, and longed to connect with them on a deeper level but have always been intimidated by their size?

This exceptional escape to the south of France offers you the opportunity to make that connection and benefit abundantly from the horses’ intuitive and authentic wisdom. You will spend the whole retreat in the presence of these patient, caring, and generous animals. You will be able to breathe with them, touch them, talk with them, walk with them and share your most secret thoughts with them.

A unique and unforgettable experience!


 

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.

A small herd of purebred Friesian horses make these transformational 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 half-timbered, authentic Landaise farmhouse in single, double or twin bedrooms
  • Brunch al fresco, weather permitting.
  • Dinner featuring local delicacies (excluding dinner Day4) I cater for vegetarians and gluten-free diets.
  • Tea and coffee are available 24/7.
  • Free Wifi.
  • Equine-guided mindfulness and meditation sessions
  • Mindful walking meditations with/without the horses
  • Transport to and from Nogaro to the retreat centre on arrival and departure

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.
  • Dinner on Day 4 – we eat in a local restaurant to stimulate the economic growth of the region post-COVID – cost 15-30 euro pp, depending on your choices)
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Personal Health Insurance and/or Travel Insurance (we highly recommend insurance cover in case you need to cancel)
  • Additional sessions available: pranayama, coaching, massage, meditation and hypnotherapy (subject to availability)

Program

9:30 Mindful Walking with the Horses
10:30 Brunch – you can make sandwiches during brunch to eat later in the day
11:30 Equine-facilitated Mindfulness Training
12:30-16:00 Free time
16h00 Tea
16:30 Equine-guided Meditation
17:30 Writing Meditation
19h00 Dinner

Enough free time is available for relaxing and recharging your batteries. None of the activities is mandatory. If you prefer to skip an activity and just relax and read quietly in the garden, you are more than welcome. The program is not set in stone – the weather is the main determining factor of each day’s program. Arrival is at 18 pm on the first day, departure is after breakfast and before 11h on the last day.


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 massage (depending on availability)
  • To ensure everyone gets individual, quality attention and the time to ask questions, I 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.
Do you feel stuck in a rut and desperately long to escape?

If you do, then a 5/7/10-day Let Horses Guide You through Life Transitions Residential Retreat here in the sun-blessed south of France might be exactly what you need right now. We combine equine-facilitated mindfulness and equine-guided mindfulness meditation to help you shape your future.

Accommodation

In the sun-blessed south of France, 3km from a lively village, between two small towns Nogaro and Eauze, hidden in the heart of an ancient forest, you’ll find lush meadows surrounding a 200+-year-old authentic and sympathetically restored French farmhouse. The farmhouse is the much-appreciated, much-loved home of three Friesian mares, a Borzoi (Russian greyhound) and three intimidating cats – they intimidate the dog, if no one else.

Further afield, you’ll find vineyards, sunflower fields, more woods, and more sunflower fields, medieval villages, bottomless lakes, orchards, and of course, the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. And maybe two or three time-travelling musketeers.

This easily accessible retreat venue is within less than 2 hours’ drive from 5 international airports, in the foothills of the Pyrenées mountains, 90-120 minutes north of the Spanish border and 90-120 min east of the Atlantic Ocean.

Here, the horses live outside, year-round. They are not stabled, although they do have access to shelter, especially needed in the hot summer months when they can often be found dozing in the woods or in one of the field shelters. Free-range horses, and eco-friendly!

In only a few other places you will find all the ingredients of a perfect holiday combined with such abundance as in Gascony: fabulous food, outstanding wine, generous people and the breathtaking beauty of mountains, rivers, lakes and medieval villages perched on hilltops.

The Gastronomy of Gascony

Our food is simple but delicious and we aim to give your digestive tract as much of a rest as the rest of you while feeding your body as well and as generously as your mind. Meals are a celebration of the wonderful variety of fresh local produce available from our garden as well as from the local weekly fresh food markets. On Sundays, you can attend a Made-with-Love Breadbaking Ceremony. Both brunch and dinner are served al fresco, weather permitting.

One evening during your retreat, we have dinner at a local restaurant, to support the local economy post-COVID. We each pay for our own meal. (Usually 15-30 euro, depending on your choices.)

If you are vegetarian, or have any intolerances, allergies or dislike some ingredient or food, please let us know during your booking.

Weather

The climate in the summer months resembles that of the Mediterranean coast with long, sunny days and balmy evenings when it is possible to sit out comfortably into the early morning hours. This part of France is protected from the harsh Atlantic winds in winter by the heavily forested department to the west of it, the Landes. It is sheltered from snow in winter by the Pyrenées and it enjoys mild and early springs, beginning at the end of March.

The long, lazy summers, continue well into October and finally often end with an “été indien” (warm autumn) before the onset of winter in late November. Drenched for nearly 9 months of the year in sunshine, Gascony is excellent for outdoor recreational activities and almost year-round al-fresco dining.

While good weather cannot be guaranteed, during the summer months, it is often very hot during the day and temperatures reach into the high 20s °C, with spring and autumn temperatures hovering in the low to mid-20s °C. Mid-summer is very hot and dry, the temperatures often exceed 30°C.

For more detailed weather forecasts, for up to the next 12 days, we recommend the méteofrance website.

Even the weather conspires to make this the ultimate place to relax! 

Retreat Leader

Dr M Montagu

After working for 20 years as a medical doctor in a variety of specialities including psychiatry and general practice, I came to the conclusion that many diseases have their roots in my patients’ inability to handle stress effectively. Instead of treating stress-related illnesses, I decided to look at practical ways that my patients can use to prevent stress from ruining their health. I studied a number of alternative therapies including hypnotherapy and NLP, and eventually combined my education and experience to create the transformational virtual and residential retreats that I host in the south of France.

After having successfully navigated several major life transitions myself, I now specialise in helping other people get through challenging life changes like divorce, retirement, redundancy, starting a business, changing careers, moving to another country etc.

Dr M Montagu MBChB MRCGP Master NLP Pract, Life Transitions Coach Cert, Councelling Cert, Med Hypnotherapy Dip, EAGALA Cert

What to bring

Essential: a sturdy pair of shoes, preferably boots, for all activities involving the horses. A full packing list will be sent to you after your final payment.

Cost

The cost of this 5-day 4-night retreat, as described above, starts at 799 euro per person in a shared twin bedroom, 899 euro in a single bedroom and 1599 for 2 people in a double bedroom. Please enquire about longer retreats. Maximum of 4 participants per retreat

. Our retreats start at 18h00 on the day of arrival to 11h00 on the day of departure.


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, Saint Mont and Cotes de Gascogne vineyards in the sun-blessed southwest of France.

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 

Privacy notice

We take your privacy seriously. Your email address is 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.

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