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Connecting with horses: mindfulness, yoga and horsemanship with Karine Vandenborre

9 July 2015 - 14 July 2015


For this transformative five day course, we will be working with Karine Vandenborre, a professional riding instructor and horse trainer from Belgium.
During these five days, we will look at how we can use mind, body and breath to connect with horses.
This intensive course is suitable for people with no previous experience with horses and who simply want to learn how to communicate with these wonderfully sensitive animals as well as those with some experience with horses who want to improve their connection with them. Some experience of yoga or meditation is recommended.

Horses are very sensitive animals and are naturally attracted to people who are connected with themselves and their surroundings.
They need calm and clear communication to feel confident and relaxed. And it is only when a horse is confident and relaxed that it is possible to deeply connect with them.


In the horse sessions, you will learn how to develop a true connection and how to communicate with horses in a centred and sensitive way, with respect for his whole being and without any use of force. This part of the workshop will include work at liberty (where the horse is loose in an enclosed area with their handler) and groundwork (when the handler is leading the horse with a rope), but does not include riding. You will be taught how to use your body in a soft but clear way to communicate with your horse. You will learn the importance of intention before technique, and how to let  horses have their own opinion. Finally, you will learn how to use the techniques taught in the yoga classes when interacting with the horses.

In the Sati yoga classes, you will will explore the balance between strength and softness within ourselves with a view to strike the right balance when interacting with our horses. You will also learn yogic breathing techniques that can be used to increase concentration and improve communication with the horses.  Finally, through the practice of mindfulness meditation, you will learn how to become more aware of your emotions and how to develop a non-reactive mind, an essential life skill when dealing with horses, animals who are acutely aware of the emotional state of their handlers (whether acknowledge or not) and react to it.

The course starts on Saturday evening 9th of July and ends on Thursday 14th of July in the morning.

Cost of the course is 740 euros. A 370 euros deposit, payable online by Paypal or by bank transfer, is required at the time of booking.

Proceed with booking

Cost of the course is 740 euros and includes:

  • Five nights accommodation (sharing in twin/double rooms, single room supplement is 25 euros / night)
  • All meals (delicious organic vegetarian food, all vegetables grown on our farm)
  • About 30 hours of tuition in horsemanship, yoga and meditation
  • Return ferry to the island (normal price is 15 euros).

Number of participants on this course is limited to 8.

Karine is a professional riding instructor and horse trainer from Belgium.


She has been riding horses since she was 13 and knew early on that all she wanted to do was helping horses…  She started working with horses professionally twenty years ago, and has experimented with many different training methods, both classical and “natural”.  These studies, and her own experience and insights, are the foundation of her Horsefulness training system.
Horsefulness treats horses in a horse-friendly, respectful manner, without force, punishment … or bits. It consists of four main parts: Liberty work, Groundwork, Gymnasticizing Groundwork & Bitless Riding Art, the first three of which will be explored in this workshop.
Karine’s dream is that every horse lives a happy and healthy life where they are understood,and respected. She hopes that horses can find inner peace in a humanworld and also have fun with “their human”.
Karine teaches lessons and clinics internationally and has developed an online coaching program, for horse owners. She also trains Instructors and trainers.


Ciara has been practicing yoga for over twenty years and has been teaching since 1999. She has studied with a number of senior teachers throughout the world, the equivalent of more than 1000 hours of direct teaching. She spent over a decade intensively practicing the ashtanga vinyasa system wich the studied with a number of senior teachers all over the world. She has also been influenced by the precision and subtleties of classical hatha of the Atma Vikasa style of Acharya Venkatesh.

Over the last ten years her practice has evolved into a deep, slow mindful integration of asana, breath work and meditation inspired by Rossella Baroncini,  a direct student of Vanya Scaravelli, with whom Ciara has been studying since 2005.
This deeply influenced her practice and lead her to explore more specific teaching in the growing field of secular mindfulness, and in 2014 she successfully completed a year long mindfulness teacher training course with Martin Aylward and Mark Coleman of the Mindfulness Institute (UK and US).

Christophe has been studying and practicing yoga since 1994. He originally trained as an Iyengar teacher in the late 1990s, but his practice and teaching have since been influenced by a number of other yoga styles, particularly ashtanga vinyasa and the atma vikasa style of Acharaya Venkatesh (from Mysore, India), his main teacher for a number of years.
Pranayama (yogic breathing) has also been an important part of his practice from early on.
More recently, his quest for a more balanced practice led him to study the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha, whose teachings on ethics and meditation he found to complement his hatha yoga practice.  He regularly practices anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing), vipassana (insight) and metta (loving kindness) meditation and attends retreats in various traditions of Buddhist meditation.
Christophe is certified by the Independent Yoga Network as a senior (1000 hours) teacher.
He is also a very experienced horseman and a trained Equine Assisted Learning facilitator with EAGALA.

Saturday *
5.30 pm Depart Roonagh Pier for Clare Island (time to be confirmed)
6.30 pm Arrival at Macalla Farm, settle into accommodation
7.00 pm Dinner followed by introductory talk
8.30 am Evening meditation

Sunday to Wednesday
8.30 am Meditation / breath awareness
9.00 am Morning yoga with Ciara
11.30 am Brunch
2.00 pm Horsefulness training with Karine
5.30 pm Afternoon yoga class with Christophe
7.000 pm Dinner
8.30 am Sitting meditation

Thursday *
8.00 am Meditation / breath awareness
8.30 am Closing session
9.00 am Breakfast
9.30 am departure from the centre for 10.00am ferry

*timetable for first and last days subject to change as they depend on ferry times.


9 July 2015
14 July 2015
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Macalla farm


Christophe Mouze