Massage tables at an Equinisity retreat are not placed in a tiny room with incense and New Age music -- they're in the Canadian outdoors, standing in a ranch paddock with several horses and other animals, accompanied by their unique smells and sounds. Instead of a massage therapist kneading your body, you may find a velvety nose reaching out and offering a sense of quiet togetherness. "Intimacy" is what one retreat-goer describes.

The retreats are located at Gateway 2 Ranch in Kamloops, British Columbia; 320 acres of meadows, lakes, and old-growth forests. The ranch is owned and operated by Liz Mitten Ryan, a self-described "artist, author, horse and animal communicator."

Equinisity retreats are "a transformational journey," achieving spiritual and personal healing and growth through nature -- the land, the plants, the animals. Practitioners guide participants through exercises in meditation, journaling, nature walks and communing with the animals. The daily routine is flexible to accommodate personal preference for inspiration or spiritual development and healing. 

The ranch is also home to cats, dogs, a steer and a few llamas. Retreat participants play and commune freely with the animals, but there is particular bonding with the horses, collectively and affectionately called the Herd. "There's something very evocative about the horse," says Ryan in the film "One With the Herd." "They have such forgiving spirits that they can teach us the essence of life is forgiveness, community, and living now."