What They Say
“You should know that I carry the life lessons of our time together with me in the forefront of my mind always. The peace and serenity I learned to summon envelops me and empowers me to deal with life's rough edges.”
David, December 2021 (Healers)
"The level of connection that I experienced with the horses gave me a sense of peace that I will never forget. I have never felt so present in a moment. It felt like they allowed me to explore concepts in a safe manner without having to be fearful. Being around them enabled me to work through subconscious thoughts & to bring them to the surface in a safe, non-judgemental way. I was not expecting such transparency.
The most impactful part was working with the horses as they gave me the opportunity to process my subconscious thoughts, but equally impactful was being given a secure, containing space in such a euphoric setting."
Charlotte, November 2021 (Healers)
"The Sand Play was hard but definitely helped and the horses (Cosmo especially) definitely changed me for the better.
My horse honestly changed my life and my attitude. I was never really a horse person but this experience was just different for the better. It’s definitely converted me into a horse person. The way the horses are looked after is just so special and I think it brought the horses’ personalities out more. I would 100% recommend!"
Sophia, November 2021 (Healers)
"This is my second retreat with Sally, Eric and Gretchen and my third time visiting all together. Having been trained in Sand Play and being a trauma trained therapist, I understand exponentially how very valuable this work is to help all of us self-regulate and develop patience and compassion for ourselves and others in our lives - animal and humans. I recommend this equine facilitated experience to anyone who wants to let go of old wounds and develop a deeper connection with themselves."
Nancy, November 2021 (Healers)
"Interacting with horses on the level we did was a new and eye-opening experience. It required an open mind at the outset but that was well rewarded! Eric and Sally and Gretchen are incredibly wise, intuitive, and a pleasure to be in the company of at all times throughout the retreat. I am in awe of their life experience and their ability, individually and collectively, to convey their life lessons to us. I had no idea that i could learn as much as I did from the horses. I am truly educated! This retreat opened my mind to self-reflection that I’d really never addressed. I leave with powerful tools that will impact greatly upon my coping skills at home."
David, November 2021 (Healers)
“I truly feel the heart of the horse is the heart that will help us understand our roles to each other and how we live our life. This retreat provides the arena to find that heart beat in ourselves. We are all strangers until we aren’t. Being surrounded and learning from the horses enabled me the vulnerability to not only remind myself of what I want and need but to also realize everyone has a story and we are all part of the herd. Tula Vida helped me experience in so many different ways throughout my retreat to listen and believe in myself. Until you walk beside and feel the heart beat of the horses yourself you cannot realize how life changing it really is.”
Debi, September 2021
"What an amazing experience with a magnificent horse!"
Mike, September 2021
“Tula Vida truly exceeded my previous experiences with horse retreats in the best way. I so appreciated Sally's and Eric's openness and willingness to let us get involved with the horses on a very deep level. Touching, feeling- loved it! In the safest possible way. The peace in this herd was truly outstanding and healing!!”
Anke, August 2021
“This was my first retreat and I could not have been happier. I was looking for an opportunity to refocus myself and to reconnect with my spouse. The Tula Vida Team helped me work on myself while allowing my spouse to have his own experience.
I was amazed by the intuition of my horse. He helped me to identify my true feelings. Additionally, after the retreat, my spouse and I have been able to share our experiences. In our case, it has brought us closer together.
If anyone is interested in exploring a deeper relationship with themselves, I highly recommend this retreat.”
Anne, August 2021
Cara, May 2021
“I had a profoundly insightful and healing journey during my session with Eric and the horses at Tula Vida. The experience helped me with my healing processes, and clearly exposed aspects of my subconscious that allowed me to connect more deeply with, and trust in, my inner wisdom. Ultimately, I left with greater clarity, and feeling more confident and in touch with myself.
The session began with an introduction to equine therapy and the horses, and setting an intention – I chose to focus on releasing a resurfaced trauma. From the moment we began talking, I could already feel the effect of being in the horses’ presence – so much that I decided to change my intention from its “negative” focus on release of something “bad” that had happened, to a positive focus on stepping more into my empowered feminine. It was amazing to see – and experience – how the horses pick up on our emotions, how that in turn affects their behaviour, and so how they act as mirrors for us to look deeply into ourselves to observe how our thought and emotional patterns affect us. It also made me reflect deeply on the connection between “inner” and “outer” worlds: how we affect one another when relating, and the kinds of feedback loops that we generate – through body language, subtle expression, and energetic vibration.
An example of this was an exercise we did to “lead” the horse that had chosen to work with me (Mr Big) to various points around the site. I witnessed how he would not move when I either became anxiously fixated on the goal of reaching the destination, or when I had feelings of doubt and insecurity about arriving at that goal. In the first case, he picked up on my mental fixation, tendency to attach to and rush towards achieving outcomes, and impatience. In the second case, it was my lack of self-confidence and belief in my ability to “lead” him, and insecurity as I turned to look back at him, that inhibited our progression. These feelings I had went hand in hand: when I could not get Mr Big to “move”, I would find myself becoming doubtful and judgmental about my “failure”, and then “try” even harder in that detrimental, overly future-focussed way. In both cases, witnessing how Mr Big was reacting to my inner state, brought to the surface my tensions and mental/emotional tendencies, in a stark way that facilitated my self-examination and then release of the behavioural patterns which were no longer serving me.
As the session progressed, I found myself becoming more aware, present, and letting go of painful stories as well as judgments about myself. Horses know how to be so present in the here and now. I found myself identifying where I get stuck in stories from my past, and occasions where I allow things that have happened to me to inhibit how I relate in the present, due to fear of those cycles repeating. I left feeling more centred, peaceful, connected and ready to embrace my life and new opportunities in a fresh way – like I’d been through a big resetting process.
I’m very grateful for the experience, and to meet all the beautiful souls at Tula Vida – human, horses, and the vibrant nature around the farm. Thank you!”
“I recently visited Sally Nilsson, Eric Kolesar and Nora Kenney at Tula Vida with my husband Dave. I have known about Sally and Eric's healing work for some time through my Sand Tray teacher Gretchen Morgan, and have become increasingly interested in learning more and pursuing equine healing work. I am a trauma psychotherapist in New York City, and have felt the need for some healing directed at me! I couldn't have had a better experience and plan to return in November of this year.
Sally and Eric, and Nora as well, are true healers - they understand the healing power of their herd of (now 9) horses, the dynamics of the herd, the individual personalities and healing gifts of each horse, and fluidly assisted us in tuning into their energy to tune in with our own. The connection we made with this wonderful herd of experienced, patient healing horses, who welcomed us right in! and being led through exercises and activities which helped enhance our mindful attention, regulating our nervous systems, especially after this difficult year, and breathing deeply into the peacefulness of the jungle were made possible through the facilitating work of both the humans and the horses at Tula Vida.
Any experiences of self-doubt, sadness, regret, or anxiety were really left at the gate, and we did not pick them up on the way out. It was a healing experience that is still with us.
The accommodations at Mystica, five minutes away, couldn't have been more lovely. Gorgeous grounds, wonderful food, and great service. We were also assisted in taking some fantastic tours! I recommend this experience to ANYONE who needs a deeper connection with themselves, and to release negative energy, and bring in healing light.”
Nancy, May 2021
“Working with horses to gain a deeper understanding and insight into oneself is a remarkably rewarding experience. Add Sally and Eric’s guidance and insight to this and it’s a recipe for a wholly unique, mysterious dive into the inner workings of these equine teachers and what they can offer us. Sally’s gift of empathy, her incredible ability to listen and her abundant curiosity all lead to a fabulous undertaking that must be experienced. Eric’s history and background of spiritual pursuits, along with his gentle and wise nature adds much to this work that is profound.
There are endless ways to spend time and work on personal growth in this fast paced, technologically addicted world. Take this opportunity to grow within a paradise that is the one and only Costa Rica.”
Phoebe, May 2021
“It was an incredible experience for both of us and I think you guys opened a whole new world for my daughter with the idea of connection and healing without words!”
Mother & Daughter, May 2021
“My husband and I felt immense power in this experience. I had the most profound healing I have ever had. I have been to so many workshops before, but this was incredible – my interactions with Galan (my horse) had a profound impact. Somehow I guess I knew that there was a place inside of me that needed further expansion, and there was a part of my heart that was still closed, and my resonance with Galan created this space to finally open up my heart and finally be present with it – I was still opening up the whole week afterwards and could finally be just where I was, the perfect full circle.
Sally and Eric, I truly am so thankful for you both, for your work, for following your mission and purpose. My blessings to your work. This healing is powerful and the amount of love, is real.”
Grace, April 2021
“My experience with horses is limited and I have to admit I was a bit afraid. Sally was great, starting us off with a little bit of history about horses and then explaining why horses do horse things, which really helped me understand more about how to interact with horses and put me more at ease. I loved a phrase that Sally used, "going back to grazing" as a way of describing coming back to a state of center and grounding.
After an introduction to the horses, we were asked to choose a horse we wanted to work with. I was sitting watching my partner having an experience with her horse, when another horse (Mr. Big) came up to me and started rubbing his face on me. It was a humbling experience being with Mr Big because he had free reign to be anywhere on the property and he chose to stay and interact with me. I had initially chosen a different horse, but I was offered the opportunity to work with Mr Big and I immediately said yes. Because of the time we spent together connecting before starting, we were able to do the exercises in the arena together with ease.
I had a lot of one-on-one time with Mr Big, in and outside of the arena, and I can't imagine how it could have been any better, unless he started talking to me.
We ended our time by walking with the horses to their overnight pasture and had an opportunity to see them run and jump and along the way. It was a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to coming back and learning more from Sally, meeting Eric and being with the horses again.”
Philip, April 2021
“Working with the horses illuminated truth by supporting the cultivation of inner presence. Sally and Eric’s co-facilitation provided a safe container to explore the limiting patterns woven into my subconscious mind. After our sessions, I felt rejuvenated and anchored in clarity. Very grateful for this experience.”
Jenn, March 2021
“We spent a full day at Tula Vida and felt like we could spend an entire week. The set up, the build up, the great authentic food, the informative explanations, the connection with the horses (and ourselves) was transformative for both adults and children. It was a great reminder to pause, connect, breath and tune in. And it felt great. My highlight was connecting with Suzy (the horse) and feeling the reflection of my own emotional state with her. Incredible.
On top of the experience with the horses, Sally and Eric are kind, insightful and overall amazing hosts who shared with us their knowledge, wisdom and some pro tips about Costa Rica. Overall we had an amazing experience that is somewhat difficult to put into words as it is deeper than that…"
Anon (family of 4), January 2021
“Working with horses taught me so much about myself, they make excellent teachers. It was a wonderful and insightful experience. For me, it’s all about being really present, heart energy and focus, and so much more. Gitana (my horse) agreed with this realization!”
Dave, December 2020