Cowgirl Yoga™ Equine Coaching

Personalized equine coaching sessions in Bozeman, Montana

Perspective is Reality

How do horses make you feel? Did you have childhood dreams where horses ran free? Were horses part of your life at some point in the past, and you now miss them? Did you always crave a connection with horses, but never had the chance to fulfill that longing?

Good news: You can come to horses just as you are—right here, right now. They will meet you where you need to be met.

If you're ready to explore your thoughts and feelings around horses, and learn how these animals can help you uncover your best self, you'll love equine coaching. Unlike traditional riding lessons, equine coaching isn't about your position and technique in the saddle, or your horse knowledge on the ground—it's about being open to the soul shifts that horses can encourage within a human.

All you have to do is show up, and be willing to listen.

"I found ME in that round pen!" - Chris

Cowgirl Yoga Equine Coaching sessions are led by Margaret Burns Vap, founder of Big Sky Yoga Retreats, and Caitlin Kelly, retreat leader and the "cozy queen" of Bozeman yoga. Your equine partners will include their healing herd of geldings: Skywalker, Java, and Atlas.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu (may all beings be happy and free)

Book Your Session

Equine Coaching & Yoga (1 Day, 9 am-3 pm) – $595 per person, max 2 people
*exact times may vary depending on weather 

Email to inquire about available Summer 2024 dates.

It's Time to Make a Soul Shift

“Without giving away exactly what happens in the round pen, I will say that it was one of the most emotionally powerful experiences of my life.” – Kathy

What is equine coaching,  you might ask?

There are a variety of approaches, but the uniting concept is inviting horses to help facilitate personal growth. This work is done on the ground versus in the saddle. It can be very subtle, or very direct—it simply depends where you are in your life at that moment.

Horses are prey animals and live in the moment; their survival depends on it. They are adept at reading the energy that surrounds them, and especially skilled at giving feedback about human energy, expressions and body language.

In short, they can read you like a for-horses-only book. Their feedback allows your coach to guide you to more self-awareness and authentic emotions, if you are open to what the horses have to “say.”  

“The moment the horse followed me I felt connected, grounded, and settled in his presence. These feelings previously had been lost in me.” – Cynthia

What makes our equine coaching sessions unique?

We combine them with yoga, of course! We truly believe that yoga can help connect horses and humans in profound ways. We’ve seen it happen countless times at our Cowgirl Yoga retreats. We’ve also experienced it ourselves on a deeply personal level.

Yoga opens both body and mind in new ways. When you can incorporate that into how you interact with a horse, there is even more opportunity for body and mind to shift—and your soul, as well.

On this one-day retreat, you'll enjoy:

Personalized yoga sessions

We'll start the day with a yoga session customized to meet you where you are—just like the horses will. Special attention will be given to heart opening poses in order to physically and energetically open yourself to the transformative potential of this experience. After lunch, you'll wind down with yin yoga to give body and mind a place to process what you've learned from the horses.

Meditation & Journaling

Set your intentions through a series of meditation and journaling exercises specifically designed for Cowgirl Yoginis, with our horses nearby. We'll have a fresh journal waiting for you in your goodie bag.

Horse-Human Connection

We'll begin with hands-on, quality horse time—including grooming and massage—to help you get to know your equine coaches.

Round Pen Revelations

This is where the true magic happens. It's different every time. Drop your expectations as you enter the round pen, and build an authentic new relationship with your equine partner. Allow your energy to intertwine with his, and let the alchemy rise.

Moving Meditation

We'll finish the day with another chance to be a leader with your horse, on a relaxing walk together through the forest.

Healthy Lunch & More

Cowgirl coffee and pastries will greet you in the morning before yoga, and we'll break mid-day for a healthy lunch (dietary restrictions will be accommodated).

  • “You are a strong woman!” It was my first time in the round pen. I knew I loved horses and I was very comfortable around them, even ridden plenty of times in my 58 years. But this time, I was only to use my energy to communicate with this amazing, beautiful, 1,000+ lb. animal.

    Chris, 1/5

  • “Just be honest, just be clear. The horse will understand.” I was doubtful, and I didn’t trust myself. Could I be clear about what I wanted? Even if what I wanted was to collaborate? I hadn’t been able to do that in my own marriage, let alone with a creature whom I respected, but who didn’t know me from Adam.

    Chris, 2/5

  • I was timid, tentative - but pretending to be “tough”, acting like “I have this!” Buzzer! Fail! The horse saw right through me. He slowed down and looked at me, and with those gorgeous eyes and so much as said, “seriously? What are we going to do here?”

    Chris, 3/5

  • Then through my confusion I heard Margaret say, “You’ve got this! You are a strong woman! Just tell him what you want to do. Use your strong energy - you can do it!” I took a deep, grounding breath, found my core and “wow!” The glint in his eye flashed and off he went left, then I sent him right and together we went right!

    Chris , 4/5

  • I was blown away! My face flushed, and tears welled in my eyes. My chest swelled and I felt it, like never before! “I am a strong woman! We CAN do this TOGETHER!” I found ME in that round pen!

    Chris, 5/5

  • Being the type of person that would rather throw her arms around the neck of a horse or give big kisses to their noses, the purpose of the round pen session initially escaped me. My idea of the horse-human connection was grooming, feeding, riding and of course lots of love.

    Anne, 1/3

  • However, as I watched Margaret demonstrate, I became curious. Was this because it was Margaret? Or could any of us convey this special type of energy to not only lead the horse from the middle of the pen, but then to turn and walk away from him and have him follow? When she asked who wanted to try, my hand eagerly went up.

    Anne, 2/3

  • As I walked into the pen I quickly realized that not only was it the human energy, it was equally the horse energy and the energy created between the two of us. There was more respect, love and grace in that pen than I ever thought could be. I felt totally in tune to the moment, to the lesson and to that sweet, sweet boy.

    Anne, 3/3

  • I attended at a difficult time in my life. I was grieving and emotionally very fragile. I’m a life-long lover of horses, but over the years raising my family in suburban New York, their presence had nearly disappeared from my life. I was drawn to Montana, and to Margaret, to experience something truly extraordinary.

    Kathy, 1/4

  • In the round pen, Margaret demonstrated the technique of “joining up” with a horse. Each of us had the opportunity to work with a horse, individually. Without giving away exactly what happens in the round pen, I will say that it was one of the most emotionally powerful experiences of my life.

    Kathy, 2/4

  • Margaret gently guided me through my session with the horse, encouraging me to confidently establish leadership of him. The moment that horse walked toward me and chose to follow me was like a ray of light that both broke me into a million little pieces and put me back together again, all in the same tearful moment.

    Kathy, 3/4

  • I have Margaret to thank for reintroducing me to the healing energy of horses and to the joy they have always brought me. In the 7 months since that retreat, I have made horses a part of my everyday life.

    Kathy, 4/4

  • The round pen session was surprisingly one of my favorite parts of my time at Cowgirl Yoga. I say surprisingly because I had completely down played what it was and didn’t know what I was going to get out of it.

    Malia, 1/3

  • The round pen gives you a chance to not only connect with such beautiful horses, but it also allows you feel in control and to go inward - to stop and take inventory of your body, your breath, your feelings, and your stress levels.

    Malia, 2/3

  • As someone who struggles with anxiety, I wasn’t successful right away in the pen but once I took a deep breath, listened to Margaret, and relaxed my body I felt so at ease, one with the horse, confident and grounded.

    Malia, 3/3

  • Did you ever wonder how a person gets a horse to listen, without a halter or lead or lunge line, in a round pen? Well, I always thought it was some magical thing which only happened on YouTube. Turns out it IS a magical thing...a relationship of understanding and respect between you and the horse.

    Jennifer, 1/2

  • Simply put, you and the horse communicating together about what is to be done and how to be accepted into his herd and his head…come join Margaret as she teaches you how to be in motion with the horse while staying on the ground.

    Jennifer, 2/2

  • Merely thinking about my round pen experience, my heart swells and my eyes tear up. In a graceful way, it simultaneously broke me down and built me back up. It taught me so much about myself and the genuine connections we make with horses. I walked away feeling stronger, trusting, confident, gentler, kinder, and filled with hope.

    Cynthia, 1/2

  • The moment the horse followed me I felt connected, grounded, and settled in his presence. These feelings previously had been lost in me. Thank you for an entirely new feeling in a truly safe and supported space. It was infused with love, trust, and honesty. Refreshed my soul and we created joy-beauty-power together.

    Cynthia, 2/2

  • The groundwork was one of my favorite parts of the retreat. It was the first thing I did! I have always felt a connection with horses, but working with a horse in this way helped to deepen that feeling of connection in a new way.

    Colleen, 1/2

  • It was incredible to see my own energy reflected back to me in the way the horse was behaving. Once he felt that I was calm, he began to do what I asked him to do. The coolest part was that I didn’t say a word. We stayed connected, and as long as I didn’t break it, I knew he trusted me to do what I asked. It was truly an incredible experience! I came back as myself, which I didn’t realize I had lost.

    Colleen, 2/2

  • I have always been one of those occasional growing up, weekend destination rider, special occasion rider…but, always having a love/fear relationship with these big, beautiful creatures that I could never quite control. I can’t explain why, but I always felt like something in my soul was longing to connect with a horse, but truthfully I wasn’t even sure what that meant.

    Michelle, 1/2

  • Standing in the round pen face to face, eye to eye...movement by movement…a horse and I became one. I wish I could fully describe how in those final moments in the pen, when you turn your back and walk away, there’s this sense of the unknown…until you feel this big, beautiful, majestic creature walking toward you until its head is nestling by your side. I may have laughed or cried…or both! I did that…I created that connection…truly unbelievable!

    Michelle, 2/2

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Vap Family Ranchette

It’s easy to forget your “real life” when you’re enjoying the Vap family’s private Montana ranch in Bozeman—complete with luxe facilities, onsite horses, and Aspen-rimmed patio yoga. Oh, and did we mention our moose neighbors?

Planning Your Trip

You’ll need to plan some time in Bozeman around this one-day retreat. We begin at 9 AM on your scheduled day and wrap up around 3 pm. We will offer plenty of suggestions for making the most of your time out west, including lodging recommendations.

Women on Topp Interview

Dive into the story of your equine coach, Margaret Burns Vap, and where she’s landed after over 15 years of leading yoga retreats around the world. Discover how she’s revolutionizing wellness trips, one Yeehaw at a time!