About Us

Dove Retreat

Nurture in Nature / Equine-assisted Therapy & Wellbeing with The Healing Herd


I qualified as a counsellor in 2006 and have been practicing as a Counsellor ever since. My passion for ponies and horses started as a young girl living on the Blackdown Hills, after my father decided to send myself and my sister along to a riding school. It was further cemented when our parents bought us a sweet little Exmoor pony, named Dillon. My riding was all for pleasure and as for many, came to a halt as a teenager when life brings other paths. It was not until I was into my forties before I came back into the world of horses to reclaim this hobby to enjoy once again. After riding a friend’s pony for many months, I was itching to have my very own horse at home to develop a relationship and connection with. Tonto came into my life in 2009, is very much still here now, and will always hold a special place in my heart.

I started my professional interest in equine assisted therapy in 2014 after seeing American Miniature Horses and donkeys going into Hospices, and truly understanding the therapeutic value that they can have for people- I greatly desired to do something amazing like that too! After being gifted little Merlin from Dartmoor, a young miniature Shetland pony, I then acquired Sydney, our American Miniature Horse, as a companion for him from a local business for rehoming ponies. We later gained Cookie from this business as a female friend for my daughter’s riding mare. It was love at first sight for Darwin the donkey when he was just a fluffy foal in Wales. We visited him with his mother and waited for him to mature and come home with us to join our growing family.

I completed the LEAP qualification in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy in 2016. After this insightful year of training, I welcomed Pixie -our lovely loan Dartmoor pony- and our beautiful palomino horse Summer, who came to us from a friend relocating abroad.

My riding horse Tonto is a skewbald Irish Cob, and without him, none of this would have happened. They say ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’, and he has been that and so much more. Tonto has taken me on a personal and horsemanship journey- I have so much love and respect for him, and we just never stop learning together.

We are fortunate to live in rural Somerset and have stunning wildlife and countryside all around us. We feel blessed to be able to offer Equine Assisted Therapy & Wellbeing in Nature, as a way to support and nurture Mind, Body & Spirit.

In 2019 we also started to provide specific sessions in a more light-hearted way, so that you can simply enjoy the tranquil countryside and take joy from the companionship of these beautiful animals and with the family of white doves which have taken up residence in the hay barn. There is such a magical and healing quality to these sessions, held by nature and all the creatures that share this space with us. These sessions are perfect for visitors and tourists that are seeking special experiences that brighten the heart.

In 2020 we are going to be offering ‘Retreat to Nature’.ย  24hr overnight stays in a wagon that provides off-grid escapism. We manage careful discretion for those who want to duck out of the busy, all-knowing public scenes.ย  The perfect opportunity to let go of all that stress and pressure of day to day routine, a chance to unwind, relax and re-connect to your True Self.

The future beckons us with much excitement and there is a whisper in the trees that maybe we will be fortunate to be able to offer ‘Folk Love & Lore in Nature’. These will be ceremonies for celebrations of love, life and memories.