The Art of Presence

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Feeling stressed or out of balance?  Wondering what this horse stuff is all about?

In this 2 day experience, Sally Nilsson, Eric Kolesar and the rest of the Tula Vida horse and human team will introduce you to the wisdom of horses and support you in rediscovering and reconnecting with yourself to become truly present with what is around you.


Dip your toe into mindful self-discovery and learn powerful and practical tools to calm and de-stress yourself – let nature, horses and experience be your teachers, and let your own intuition be your guide.  We are here to support you.

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“Now is all there ever is.” Eckhart Tolle

Horses don’t spend their time worrying about what other people think, or pretending to be something they are not.  They are comfortable to be themselves in an ever-changing world.


With sophisticated nervous systems, horses are very efficient at moving through stress and back into peace and contentment – “going back to grazing” and being in the moment again and again.  


They respond to their environment in each moment, without getting stuck in the past or the future like we can.  They use tools developed over their 56 million years of evolution to use emotions and stress as information, take appropriate action, and then let it go (e.g. fear tells them there is danger, they will run until they feel safe, then they will release the stress so they can let it go).  


Their tools for processing stress are ones we can learn from and practice: simple actions of movement (you see horses shaking, rolling, running, tossing head or swishing tail etc), breathing (they consciously increase and decrease breath and heart rate), connection (horses find support in herd members) and environment (they seek a safe place in the natural world, where eating, playing or resting can be enjoyed freely).  


This peace and ability to self-regulate their stress is contagious – they spread it through the herd and we feel it too (this is called co-regulation, where those around you affect how you feel and be a calming presence).  


We will support you in learning to find peace in the present moment (like a horse) using principles grounded in neuroscience and Heartmath Institute techniques, Mindful Movement, breathing and meditation exercises, energy-based interaction with the horses and other wellness and balance practices.


So not only will you learn tools on the art of being present and what it offers you, you will experience how it feels to be in that state with the horses.

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Our mission is to provide a deeper connection with self, through horses, nature and experience.

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28 & 29 january 2023


8 & 9 July 2023

(ask us for accommodation options in the area and/or the beach afterwards)

What’s included:

We want you to be able to relax and be fully present for this retreat so we are including therapies and tools for mind, body & soul:


  • Morning mindful movement or mindfulness practice with the horses

  • Lunch each day – delicious homecooked, farm fresh meals at Tula Vida

  • 2 days of Tula Vida horse experiences – includes all facilitation, materials & equipment

  • Ice therapy, massage chair, ionic foot detox and blue clay face masks

Whilst not included, we can arrange transport and can also recommend some great places to stay nearby if you need them.

ALL INCLUSIVE PRICE is $350 per person (min. 3 people, max. 8)

No prior horse experience required.

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What They Say

“I connected with deep parts of myself that needed addressing and processing, with the true assistance and guidance of my horse. The experience was life-changing.”


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Recover, Restore and Renew

In these reflective experiences, you will join our extraordinary horses in their home - the vibrant green fields, rivers and rainforest near the Arenal volcano in Costa Rica – and experience becoming part of the herd, tuned in to your own senses, safe and free to be yourself, connected to the great wisdom of Mother Earth for healing, balance and growth.

Let the horses show and teach you how to just “be” rather than doing or thinking.  Take a dive into your own consciousness through the transformative modality of Equine Facilitated Sand Play Therapy and find healing at the deepest levels.  Allow yourself to play in the bubbling, carefree streams.  Cherish and nourish your body with healthy food, gentle movement designed to get your energy flowing, beautiful natural surroundings and healing massage.  Feel held and supported by the natural world.

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About Your Facilitators


Sally Nilsson 

Sally Nilsson is an expert facilitator, certified executive coach, experienced mentor and certified advanced instructor in Eponaquest Equine Facilitated Learning and Equine Facilitated Sand Play Therapy.  


In 2019, Sally co-founded Tula Vida together with her partner Eric Kolesar to offer transformational experiences with the talented Tula Vida horse herd.  Read more about Sally and the Tula Vida Team.


Eric Kolesar

Eric Kolesar is a certified instructor in Eponaquest Equine Faciliated Learning and Equine Facilitated Sand Play Therapy, a 500 hour certified yoga instructor and expert in a multitude of energy modalities.  In 2019, Eric co-founded Tula Vida together with his partner Sally Nilsson to offer transformational experiences with the talented Tula Vida horse herd. Read more about Eric and the Tula Vida Team.

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These Special Horses will:

  • Magnify the parts of you that are hidden inside, the tender and true parts. Through their innate horse communication skills and non-judgemental presence, they show us humans what is buried in our unconscious, beyond the mind chatter and busy brain: the non-verbal part, the intuition, the senses – our true authentic selves.

  • Sense and respond to subtle changes in our body language and energy.  As highly sensitive animals, horses provide immediate, powerful and visual feedback on our presence in that moment so we get to practice and modulate how we want to come across, and how to find true internal peace and balance of the nervous system (self and co-regulation).

  • Welcome you as part of the herd.  Horses are wired for connection and will actively work with you to allow your real and best self to be seen and accepted without words.

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What They Say

“The horses are experts at gently guiding you to live in the present moment and to experience your feelings and emotions without judgment.”


ENJOY DAILY Mindful Movement

We take a holistic approach in all our retreats, supporting mind, body and soul to feel nourished and restored.  The pace of modern life, as well as the challenges of living through the pandemic, can be hard on our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. 

You will enjoy daily Mindful Movement with Eric Kolesar to rebalance your whole being and give you take-away tools manage life stress and live more mindfully – the essential ingredients in adapting to change and uncertainty, as well as keeping your own energy topped up.

“I feel more grounded and connected to myself, through mindful movement and interaction with the horses.” Angela, Therapist

What is Mindful Movement?

Eric started his movement expertise in martial arts, going on to become a 500 hour certified yoga instructor and energy practitioner.  Through his lens as a life coach and equine facilitated learning facilitator, and hearing about intimidating experiences some people have had with “yoga”, Eric has combined the neuroscience, flow of energy, physical benefits of movement and natural rhythms to create what he calls “Mindful Movement”, a powerful and gentle blend of stretches and movements designed to calm and rebalance your body so the energy can flow freely again. 


Imagine standing in a lush green space, birds singing in the background, horses grazing in the distance.  Tune in to the rhythm of nature and breathe out.  Let the tension melt away and experience feeling part of something whole.  Start mindfully and gently moving with the rest of the group, in ways designed to get the energy flowing again through your whole body.  You feel balanced, relaxed, alive.


“The mindful movement with Eric was by far the best yoga experience I have encountered as it was a spiritual and soul replenishing moving meditation not just a work out.” Jennifer, Real Estate Agent Owner


Additional Activities and Excursions

Tula Vida is located next to the stunning Lake Arenal in the shadow of the Arenal volcano.


If you want to add on days or activities, you have the opportunity to either go paddleboarding with Eric on Lake Arenal itself, or go horseriding with Sally and our friend and expert naturalist guide, Enrique Molina, to a private waterfall near the Arenal volcano.  Stand in the shadow of a giant 500 year old Ceiba Tree, the inspiration behind the Avatar movie and finish the day at paradise natural hot springs where you can soak your body and relax in the warm, healing waters.

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What Will This Retreat REALLY Be Like?

This retreat is geared towards feeling truly present and understanding the benefits this brings – and learning to take that home with you.  Each day you will experience uniquely designed activities with the horses on the ground, as well as nature, mindfulness and movement activities.  Lunch will be at Tula Vida each day.


There will be a mixture of group and individual exercises, with processing and down-time in restorative nature, together with healing massage and other experiences aimed at settling the mind, body and spirit. 


The vibrant colours and sounds of the rainforest as the sun rises and sets, and the clean, fresh oxygen and water, all support your body to get back in tune with its natural rhythm and find balance at a deep level.

Who is it for?

Feeling present benefits all of us – and we could all do with more of it!  This may particularly resonate if you are feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, stuck or just needing a break, a mindful experience or a reset.


No prior horse experience is necessary – all levels are welcome.  Tula Vida horse activities will be mainly on the ground.

What is so exciting about this experience?

We are excited to offer this mini retreat so you have time to explore another part of Costa Rica too, have some additional down-time in your vacation or it’s something that feels more do-able in your busy schedule than a longer retreat.


This is the perfect place to be present as everything surrounding you is natural, vibrant beauty. It feels safe, nourishing and warm.   


We have a beautiful corner of the world that we are keen to share with you - we really feel the benefits of living surrounded by nature and a “pura vida” (pure life) attitude of the Costa Rica people, with the incredible support and wisdom of the Tula Vida horse herd.  We want you to feel these too.


Cancellation Policy and Insurance

Cancellations more than 60 days before the start of retreat will receive a refund less a 20% processing fee.  Cancellations 60 days or less before the start of retreat will not receive a refund.  A deposit is required to secure your place.  Payment in full is required 60 days before the event.


Travel insurance is required to attend all workshops and retreats. Travel insurance should cover changes in plans and emergency medical care and evacuation.  Retreat organisers will not be liable for any injuries or illness.


Medical or Mobility Questions

We will do our best to accommodate all ADA or accommodation requests.  However, participants should know that the retreat is located in a jungle in the northern part of Costa Rica.  Please inform retreat organisers of any medical issues which may affect your participation in the retreat so that necessary adjustments can be made where possible.  If you have medical/mobility concerns, please contact Sally to discuss modifications. 


COVID-19 tests

We have at-home testing kits which everyone will take upon arrival to reduce any concerns of transmission (although most people may already be vaccinated in any event).  If tests are required to re-enter your home country, there are many testing facilities nearby (including at the airport) and we can help you arrange this.


For other questions, terms & conditions see Frequently Asked Questions in our FAQs

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Explore our other options...

There are different options here at Tula Vida, tailored to suit your needs. We offer individual, group and family experiences with the horses. Perhaps you are looking to design your own experience, or would love an internship...we can help with that too. Take a look at the options below, and if you don't see what you are looking for just get in touch.


Custom Experiences

& Internships

Design your own experience, our little slice of paradise in Costa Rica is the ideal place to reboot your internal system with whatever it needs.

Image by Caroline Hernandez

Groups & Families

We love families at Tula Vida and offer family experiences so you can unwind, connect and really enjoy your time together.



Need some time to rest or

re-energise in a beautiful natural setting, surrounded by bird song? This is the place for you.

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