Step Outside: Horses, Mindfulness and Somatic Awareness

Step Outside: A Workshop and Retreat Combining Horses, Mindfulness and Somatic Awareness

Immerse yourself in the wonder of the natural world to build space and stillness.
Take time to listen to your body and support it, quiet your mind, connect to your purpose.

Join us to learn and be empowered.

June 23rd, 2018 | 9:30am until 6:30pm

On an idyllic farm in Sparks, Maryland.

This inaugural retreat will provide participants an opportunity to take their awareness practices to a different level through mind-body-spirit and natural world connection with horses as guides.

The day will move between inside and outside spaces; inner and outer personal work will include:

  • Guided equine sessions, working with horses to learn about the impact of energetic communication.
  • Yoga nidra, which rebalances the nervous system and provides deep relaxation and the physiologic effect of 2 – 8 hours of deep, restful sleep.
  • Presentation and discussion about gut feelings, intuition and how gut health affects the mind-body continuum.

June 23rd, 2018 | 9:30am until 6:30pm

Address and directions to the farm provided at registration.

Sign up instantly by sending payment through PayPal – Credit Cards accepted.

Retreat Day


Please Note: Checks to Horses for the Soul are accepted, and must be received by June 10th for the Early Bird rate, and by June 20th for regular registrations. If cancellation is made by June 20th, 50% of registration will be refunded.  After June 20th, canceled registrations will be non-refundable. Inquiries and registration by check, please email




  • Doors will open at 9:15am and coffee, tea and light snacks will be available.
  • The retreat will include a delicious, seasonal lunch, sourced locally.
  • Participation in this first-time event will be limited to 15. (We will keep a waiting list and consider running additional workshops if interest is high).
  • Anyone over 18 is welcome and encouraged to join us.

WHAT TO BRING: A yoga mat. An open mind. A raincoat, so it won’t rain.

WHAT TO WEAR: Comfortable workout clothes or jeans. Sturdy shoes or boots. A hat.  Sunscreen.

WEATHER: This workshop will happen rain or shine.  In the case of extreme rain, the work with horses can occur in an arena just a few minutes away.

ON THE WORK WITH HORSES: This is not a riding, horsemanship or horse training clinic. This is about working side by side with horses to tap into intuition, clarity of choice and purpose and the effectiveness of our communication and commitment.

How does it work?

Horses are highly sensitive with a keen ability to detect the slightest shifts in the energy around them, and they naturally respond to and reflect the energy in their environment. Everything that your innate energy and body language does to impact people in subtle ways is going to immediately impact a horse in a stronger way. The energy of your genuine feelings, soul’s longing or emotional state will be received as information to the horse, and the horse will respond. Through activities with horses at liberty and basic groundwork exercises, the horses’ feedback and observations by the coaches can help to identify the habitual somatic language you are subconsciously speaking and uncover the underlying emotions that trigger it.

If you would like to contribute any amount – large or small – for anyone not able to pay, donations will be most gratefully accepted and scholarships will be offered as available.  A portion of all proceeds from this event will be donated to the Holistic Life Foundation, which nurtures the wellness of adults and children in underserved communities.


The Facilitators with Your Equine Guides – Zorro, Taj and Daisy:

Ashley Smith left a corporate job in HR to pursue a career in which she could work with horses to improve people’s lives, and in which she could help increase appreciation for horses and the natural world. As an Equine Guided Coach, she trains self-awareness, communication, professional and personal development through horse-human interaction. She holds an advanced certification in Equine Guided Education, a somatic based method of coaching with horses, which emphasizes sensate, experiential learning that encompasses body, mind and spirit.

Ashley has worked in California, Washington, Maryland, Italy and Jordan, and has facilitated experiences for individuals, groups and teams which foster understanding of self and other as well as connect people with their sense of purpose in life, the land, the sky and everything in between.

Gina Sager is  a retired board-certified general surgeon, named one of Baltimore’s Top Docs in October 2000. She permanently left the practice of traditional Western medicine in May 2002 to explore her long time interest in holistic healing. She has studied and practiced Buddhism in the Tibetan tradition, studied the ancient wisdom traditions including Traditional Chinese wisdom and 5 element theory at Tai Sophia Institute, and completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training in Integrative Yoga Therapy at yama studio in June 2005.

She completed several professional training courses with Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society. She has studied and practiced Ayurveda for over 15 years and completed a professional Ayurvedic Nutrition training course with internationally known teacher and author, Amadea Morningstar. She has just completed her first year of training in Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine. She teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, seasonal cooking, yoga and yoga nidra in Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties.;

Allyson Hocker spent years working in skilled nursing facilities and hospitals as a licensed Nursing Home Administrator caring for some of our nation’s most chronically ill patients.  Motherhood and health issues of her own caused her to begin to research and embrace a more holistic approach to being and staying healthy.  She continues to learn and share about root health issues like: balanced blood sugar, inflammation and gut health and how life changes and plant-based supplements can support those.