Soul Farm Horsemanship Retreats with Mike Zimmerman are an opportunity for riders to forge better communication with their horses, and enjoy a rejuvenating weekend away with their equine partners.
Soul Farm provides accommodations for both riders and horses. Your horse will camp in a private pen, and riders will “glamp” in real beds in our bunkhouse or walled tents, or inside our Soul Farm cottage or farmhouse.
From Friday to Sunday, each horse and rider will have the opportunity to participate in clinics with Mike. While your horse settles in on Friday, Mike will give a demonstration of the communication skills he will be teaching the next day. Saturday morning Mike will lead a group clinic in communication on the ground. Saturday afternoon, mount up and take the communication skills to the saddle. On Sunday morning, Mike will lead a short groundwork session, followed by another riding clinic. Groundwork and riding take place in our open air pastures, or along the paths in the Soul Farm woods. Each teaching will build trust and insight between you and your horse.
The retreat experience also allows for time to relax and rejuvenate. Farm-to-table Soul Farm food is healthy and local. We serve dinner Friday evening, three meals on Saturday, and brunch Sunday morning, along with snacks and smoothies. Take part in optional yoga practices offered on Saturday morning, Saturday evening, and Sunday morning. These all-level practices will focus on stretching and strengthening muscles riders use in the saddle.
Saturday night, after dinner, Mike will lead a fireside chat on horse philosophy. It’s a great opportunity to discuss your pressing questions, and share experiences from the day.
Follow the little gravel road to our grass lane. Mary Anne and Judi are waiting at the end. Park your trailer, unload your horse and settle him into his outdoor stall. A cool drink, snacks, farm tour and new friends also await. Relax for a bit.
Head to the round pen for a communication demo with Mike and one of his favorite horses.
Farm-to-table deliciousness. Mary Anne sets a picture perfect table with retro linens and a mix of vintage china. If the weather cooperates, we’ll dine outside under the trees, by candlelight and lanterns. Our menu features fresh local produce, cheeses, and breads, including salads with fresh homemade dressings and seasonal soups, such as Mary Anne’s delicious, Apple-Butternut Squash Soup.
Relax on the bunkhouse porch, or by our open campfire, with a drink and a friend. Stargazing is supreme. Soon you’ll head to your bed. Is it in the sweet little Soul Farm cottage? A quick drive down the road to the farmstead? Or, will you be closer to nature bedded down in our bunkhouse or walled tents, with soft sheets and comforters? For those who prefer camping in their own RV or tent, we have an option for that as well.
Wake up, surprisingly refreshed. Come on into the Soul Farm cottage, because there are little smoothies waiting for you, along with coffee and teas (some mixed by local herbalists).
Midwest Yoga. The ground is still a little dewy, so we’ll meet in the yoga barn and enjoy a wake-up practice. We will get the muscles we plan to use that day in riding ready to go, and create a clear mind that will be more receptive to learning, and will absorb the great information we receive that day.
A Hearty Breakfast. It might be a vegetable frittata, with a little fresh greens and homemade muffins.
Groundwork Clinic with Mike. Mike will share techniques to assist you in reading your horse, and communicating with your horse. Learn skills on the ground that will aid you in the saddle.
A Joyous Lunch. Mary Anne makes a delicious soup. Watermelon gazpacho has been a favorite. Healthy salads, and sandwiches with locally baked bread have shown up on the lunch table.
Riding clinic with Mike. Take our skills from the ground into the saddle. Riding will be in our open pasture and through our wooded paths. Mike will show you how to keep your horse focused and calm out of the arena and on the trails.
Regroup for optional yoga and guided meditation. Stretch our muscles and learn mindfulness skills to keep calm in the saddle.
If the weather is fine, we’ll be eating al fresco again. Mary Anne makes a wonderful vegetable lasagna, with locally crafted cheese. Maybe we’ll enjoy that, and guests are welcome to enjoy a glass of wine, BYOB.
A bonfire sets the stage for an equine philosophy talk with Mike and Judi. Enjoy a discussion on communication, the herd mentality, leadership and trust, and how it relates to us humans.
Smoothies, coffee and tea.
Our final practice in the yoga barn.
A Festive Brunch. Our brunch menus vary from week to week. A favorite has been our savory vegetable and bean casserole topped with a cornbread crust, greens and sweet zucchini muffins.
A final clinic with Mike. We’ll review groundwork in preparation for a final ride in the Soul Farm pastures and woods in order to practice and refine the communication skills we’ve learned.
Packing up, loading up and goodbyes. Plans for another trip out to Soul Farm, because it really isn’t so far away.