Horses are a lot of things to a lot of people. They can be work partners, showpieces, companions. But at Vista Caballo, they?re mirrors. They?re barometers. Spend a couple of days with the horses at Vista Caballo, a 160-acre ranch in the Great Sage Plains of Colorado, and they will give you a window into yourself that you never imagined you could access. And it’s all done by seeing the world?or more importantly, yourself?through the eyes of a horse.
If you’re new to Vista Caballo, this might all sound a bit strange. Even if you?ve spent your whole life with horses, chances are you?ve never seen horses like these. Our horses run free. They can also hang out in our 8-acre corrals or roam our open range near the back of the Baby Grand Canyon. They?re not stalled, and they rarely see a saddle. Vista Caballo horses run when they want, eat when they?re hungry, sleep when they?re tired. They live by instinct. That’s important because it means they respond to the same centered, present spirit in humans. And that’s exactly what our guests come here to rediscover: the center of themselves.
It’s not as mysterious as it sounds. In fact, it’s pretty simple. It’s about the journey that you go on at Vista Caballo, one that begins the first time we speak on the phone.
You see, I’m the Sherpa of this journey. Your guide. Just as every person climbs a mountain differently, drawn to varied paths and different views, every Vista Caballo experience is different, too. But this is a mountain I know well. I know every different trail from bottom to top, and I’m here to help you find the way.
As we plan your trip, I’ll get a feel for what you need out of the experience as well as your personal goals and challenges. Then, when you arrive at Vista Caballo, I’m prepared to help you overcome those challenges and head in the direction of your goals right away.
For example, many of our guests are CEOs?highly structured individuals who spend their days bombarded with requests, and who often have trouble unplugging from all that. When those sorts of people come to our ranch, I might suggest they spend the first hour in the wood-burning hot tub. It takes a full day to travel to our ranch, even more if you’re coming from overseas, as many guests do, so this initial unwinding and rest time can be a crucial first step toward re-centering and preparing for the work ahead.
Next, we often do a tour. Just like horses, humans always experience anxiety in new surroundings and situations. It’s just that, unlike horses, we’re highly socialized, so we don’t flare our nostrils or snort when we’re uncomfortable. In spite of that, we recognize that humans also need to get acquainted with our surroundings; skip that step and there’s little chance you can focus inward.
After that, there’s dinner. When I started Vista Caballo, I knew that for people to truly let go, three things were critical: great beds, great bathtubs and great food. We eat dinner family style in the big house, and visitors get the chance to get to know us.
Once dinner is over, guests head back to their cabins. Here’s where we encourage people to start listening to their instincts. We say, What do you need right now? That’s what you should do. If you’re tired, sleep. Hungry? Eat. A lot of people spend time gazing at a display of stars like none you?ve ever seen: we’re one of the few places left on earth that has zero light pollution. Then there’s sleep, and that’s when you’ll really notice the change that’s already taking place. We’ve had guests go directly to bed and not emerge until noon the next day, fully rested and totally stunned at how deeply they slept.
The next thing we do is get your head out of the everyday world and get you out of your head. Most people believe that they live in their bodies. We’re walking around, we’re eating, we’re watching television, and all that feels like a body experience. But it’s not. We’re on autopilot. Show up in a totally natural environment, with none of the everyday world?s distraction or stimulation to take you out of the experience, it all becomes clear.
This work is about mindset and presence, so we make sure everyone gets there mentally before they meet the horses. It’s clear if we?ve done our job because the horses are the ones who really know.
When guests meet the horses, that’s where the changes become apparent, even stunning. Each guest?s experience, again, is different. Some start out on the porch, just watching the horses. If they?ve gotten really present, it’s never long before the horses have noticed and begun to wander close, even coming directly up to guests and nuzzling them. Other guests start out in a corral with the horses. I?ve even seen guests who began their journey feeling a little horse-shy end up riding bareback. After you do that?win over a thousand-pound, intensely emotionally attuned animal?you know you can do anything. That’s what you take back with you into the world.
Speaking of returning to the world, you complete your Signature Experience with our pioneering 28-day follow-up course that helps you do just that. The Web-based course, designed for the busy life we know our guests will return to, is dynamic and effective, and, of course, easy to use; Vista Caballo would never give you a course that has you screaming at your computer.
It’s all about taking in the full experience and then living it. In 28 days you can create and condition a new pattern, taking your Vista Caballo discoveries and applying them to your life. It’s all part of the journey, and it doesn’t stop here.
For more information, visit us at www.vistacaballo.com.