The Self, The Art & The Horses

Inspired by the golden soul of the Palamino horse, Dorado.

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Feel like some fun and creativity?  Join us for a morning series of visual art practice, supported by the insightful Tula Vida horses and surrounded by the vibrant green nature of Costa Rica. 

We are excited to be partnering with renowned psychotherapist and artist, Inna Danieli, who will introduce you to a therapeutic process of using various techniques of art journaling and will help you discover the hidden truths that emerge from the unconscious mind when given the opportunity. 

The sessions will guide you towards your own healing and uncovering the SELF through the authentic interconnection between the environment, horses, your inner self and your life. 


No prior art experience required. 

“It is a joy to be hidden and a disaster not to be found” D. Winnicott

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Caring, Connection & Creativity

Horses are masters at what we call “holding space”.  The art of being fully present, engaged, supportive and yet unobtrusive at the same time.  They do this for each other in the horse herd all the time.

The Tula Vida horses are particularly good at holding space for humans and at enhancing or emphasizing the insights or reflective nature of your creative process.  

As a recent visitor experienced:  “The horses were with me thought the entire session…even removing unwanted objects from the space (my life). They were there holding space, helping me shift my awareness in the ways that they do so well.  It blew my mind.”  Cindy Wind

This is an opportunity to enjoy being creative in a beautiful place, while also connecting with these sensitive, wise and peaceful beings who have much to teach us….

Your Experience

Each day Inna Danieli will introduce a creative technique and a theme for your art practice – see below for a daily overview.  

We are offering a week-long retreat option that includes the art journalling each morning and Tula Vida horse experiences (or other excursions such as paddleboarding, hiking, sauna, massage etc) in the afternoons.

This event is also open to both the local community and passing visitors – join us for just the one session that takes your fancy or sign up for as many as you like!  

Daily Themes and Art Techniques


Date: August 12, Friday - Morning, 9am

Session 1: Growing Hope 


Description: This session will help you connect to the hopeful part of self through a guided art process of creating a growing tree while being supported by the horses in a pasture filled with magnificent trees. The grounding effects of roots and growing branches will help you transfer the experience on the page into real life hopes, dreams and goals. 


Duration: 2-3 hours 

No prior experience in art (or horses) is needed.


Date: August 13, Saturday - Morning, 9am
Session 2: Healing with Lines

Description: Introduction to the meaning and power of a line through the Neurographica coaching technique developed by Pavel Piskarev. The presence of the horses will enhance the experience by amplifying the sense of mindfulness and the connection. Feel the power of process that allows the brain to heal through mindful rounding the sharp turns on paper and in life. Learn how to use art in a decision-making process and conflict resolution. 

Duration: 2-3 hours 

No prior experience in art (or horses) is needed. 


Afternoon, 2pm

Session 3: The Wisdom of Not Knowing and Practice of Letting Go  

Description: This session is designed to explore your relationship with attachment, sense of control and practicing “letting go” technique. We will begin with mindful reflection of the environment and the presence of the horses. We will use images, colors and lines to spark our imagination when dealing with a typical life scenario of an unplanned challenge. You may discover a magical coincidence in your art work as described by Rakefet Hadar in her book of “Layers of Meaning”. 

Duration: 2-3 hours 

No prior experience in art (or horses) is needed. 


Date: August 14, Sunday - Morning, 9am

Session 4: Mindful Path to Self

Description: This workshop starts with a mindful walk in the horses’ natural environment rich with flora and fauna, and will combine exploration and reflection of your experience in creating a small format book of your life though the lens of Mother and Me. The connection to self will include some hidden and some exposed pages in your mini-book of life. 

Duration: 2-3 hours 

No prior experience in art (or horses) is needed. 


Date: August 15, Monday - Morning, 9am

Session 5: Awaken the Layers of Self 

Description: The presence of horses deepens our ability to look into our souls and discover unconscious forces such as thoughts, feelings and senses that usually are hidden from our view. During this session you will set your intention for diving deeper into a mindful self-exploration process. The art will help you surrender to visuals, unconscious thoughts and body sensations while you create a multilayer reflection of your true self. You can bring inkjet printed photographs of your ancestors or any photographs of old personal or family belongings (houses, artifacts, documents, personal items, poems etc) to include in the process.

The process for today requires a basic knowledge/ familiarity with the art journaling process and so requires joining at least one other art journaling morning of the week prior to this one. 

Duration: 3 hours 

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thursday 11 August: Arrival and dinner at a local restaurant

(if you would like to add on a few days at the beach before or after, let us know!)

thursday 11 August – wednesday 17 August:


We will do our art journaling with horses in the mornings and in the afternoons we will enjoy: Tula Vida horse experiences, a continuation of the art (if desired), 90 minute massage, wood-fired sauna by a jungle river.


Meals will either be at Tula Vida or local restaurants. 


Accommodation will be in comfortable local Airbnbs run by friendly hosts in the small village of Sabalito, around the corner from Tula Vida and the horses. 

If you want to add on additional activities for extra days in this area you may enjoy a primary rainforest hike to see bubbling volcanic mud pools, paddleboarding on Lake Arenal, horse-ride to a natural waterfall and/or a trip to soak in local natural hot springs - or spend a few days at the beach!

Wednesday 17 August: Departure (if you would like to add on a few days before or after, let us know!)

PRICE: $2,750

Includes: accommodation, meals, activities, local transport

Excludes: flights, alcohol, tips

Tula Vida is located in a small village surrounded by lush pastures and rainforest overlooking the Arenal Volcano and Lake.  It is about a 1.5 hour drive from Liberia airport (LIR) – where we recommend you arrive.  The other international airport is in San Jose (SJO) and is about a 4 hour drive.


The Story of this Retreat

Inna had her first taste of the healing and supportive nature of horses at one of the Heal the Healers retreats in Costa Rica.  This is where she met Dorado and, in her words, he changed her life.  

The Self, the Art & the Horses experience, created by Inna who loved him dearly, is inspired by and in honour of the golden soul that is Dorado - a lifelong healer and former member of the Leaves and Lizards and Tula Vida herd.


Dorado impacted the lives of many people in his years as a horse healer & teacher, working with children, families and adults until he passed away in early 2021.  

Brave, Noble, wise soul

Watching, teaching, loving whole

Dorado – golden light of grace

As spirit horse now takes his place.


Phoebe Hoffman, who is a professional animal communicator and good friend of ours, shared what Dorado told her at the time: “He saw there was a need for Tula Vida to have support in the spiritual realm and he willingly volunteered.”  So while he is greatly missed in physical form, we still feel his presence here every day.

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

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What They Say

“Astonishing. Exhilarating. Revealing. Transformational.”


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About Your Facilitators


Co-Host – Inna Danieli 


 Inna Danieli, LCSW, MBA is a US licensed psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, trained in Jungian Sand therapy, trauma treatments including expressive arts as therapy, equine therapy (EAGALA) and equine based learning techniques. Inna has been using art journaling personally and professionally since 2017. Inna lives in NJ with her husband and daughter and works with adults, adolescents and children at her office and the horse farm. 


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

“I feel so empowered to make choices with what I have learnt here this week.”


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Stay in the stunning local area

This part of Costa Rica is surrounded by lush pastures and rainforest overlooking the Arenal Volcano and Lake, Costa Rica, about an hour from Liberia airport (LIR).

You will have clean and comfortable accommodation run by friendly hosts in the small village of Sabalito, around the corner from Tula Vida and the horses.


This natural and tranquil experience has plenty of Pura Vida (the locally used expression for pretty much everything good, which translates as Pure Life!)

Additional Activities and Excursions

As well as sharing experiences and exploring the natural world with your horse, you will have the opportunity to see some of the local area and eat out at some local restaurants.  Tula Vida is located next to the stunning Lake Arenal in the shadow of the Arenal volcano.


Add on additional days and 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.