Finding Our Way Home: Embodied Group Learning with Horses

Work That Reconnects & Equine Guided Learning

From September 22-25th, we will gather for a workshop focused on group atunement and leadership blending Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects and Equine Guided Learning guided by Lydia Violet Harutoonian and Yoshi Babcock.

The Work That Reconnects (WTR) is a dynamic, interactive body of work developed by beloved elder Joanna Macy, inspired by her scholarship in systems theory, deep ecology, and Buddhism as well as 50+ years of international activism. Practiced internationally, this work has helped thousands of people to engage in The Great Turning, reinvigorating our capacity for action and resilience. In a time when we face so much, we engage in this experiential resource that allows us to create an inner spaciousness for healing, connection, and a bold solidarity with the Earth and each other.

Equine Guided Learning (EGL) is a form of experiential learning in which participants partner with horses for personal growth and healing. This form of learning occurs on the ground through a variety of intimate and interactive activities with the horses. EGL is therapeutic in nature and fosters healing but is not considered therapy. It is a form of coaching where we partner with horses that focuses on inner and somatic self-awareness and self reflection in the moment.

Why Horses and Work That Reconnects?

Horses gently but firmly teach us how to stay in the moment, become aware of and modulate our own energy, and create harmonious partnerships by setting healthy boundaries. With horses, we learn all of this through our experience with them and can transfer these teachings into our relationships with humans.

Horses can also teach us leadership skills. They are social animals with sophisticated herd structures. Their focus is to aim for the herd’s optimal survival. Cooperation, adaptability & flexibility are the keys to survival in an ever-changing environment.

Through our time with the horses, we will integrate these subtle and soft social skills that make a big difference in our capacity to regulate with other humans, become aware of our tendency to function with power-over, and will help us develop power-with.

The first session with horses will be focused on personal awareness, grounding in our own relationship with ourself.

The second session will focus on our role in the ecosystem of a group, how we work together in an emergent, cooperative way, and will be an experience of embodied systems learning.

This is a great opportunity to re-learn how to be a part of a group after the years of isolation from the COVID-19 Pandemic, honouring our unique gifts and skills and finding our way back to collaborating.

Happy Hooves Equine

Happy Hooves is a horse riding and training facility in Dexter, Michigan nearby Earthwell Retreat Center that teaches people and horses how to ride together harmoniously. You can read more about the founders, Crystal & Adam, and the project here.

We will organize rides to and from Happy Hooves for all participants.

About Working with the Horses

Michigan in September is warm-hot during the days, so we would advise to dress appropriately for the temperature but also to protect your skin and feet at the stables! Breathable clothing that isn’t too loose, covers your skin and keeps you cool and comfortable.


All activities will happen from the ground. While we will have a lot of contact with the horses, we will not be riding them, and we will be guided by professionals at all times.

The group is limited to 25 participants so that all participants have the opportunity to work with the horses in an intimate way.

Earthwell Retreat Center

EarthWell Retreat Center is located on Anishnabee lands in Manchester, Southwest Michigan.

ARRIVAL is Thursday, September 22th at 11am in time for lunch and afternoon session.
DEPARTURE is Sunday, September 25th at the end of lunch.

The facilitators/producers of the retreat are not responsible for your rides to and from the airport. We will offer a spreadsheet for everyone to input their airport arrival details to organize taxis to the retreat center with each other. We do have a vehicle if there is an extenuating circumstance.

There are 5 cabins with single beds in addition to several camping spots. The retreat is limited to 25 people because of the work with the horses and the capacity of the retreat center. Camping is possible but doesn’t change the cost and is BYOG (bring your own gear).

There will be three nourishing meals per day provided by Roaming Goat Cafe. Here is their retreat specific menu.

Cost & Registration

$950 Standard Ticket with Payment Plan Option

$1,200 Supporter Ticket

$875 Earlybird Ticket available for purchase until August 15th!
At checkout use coupon code equineconnection2022

To apply for a scholarship ticket, please fill out this form: ​​

For questions or inquiries, please email

$950 Standard Ticket

$1,200 Supporter Ticket

Covid Protocol

The Covid-19 pandemic is a shifting landscape, and we will do our best to navigate the variety of needs present in our communities. For this retreat, you will be asked to show either your proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test from within 72 hours of our first day, AND everyone will be antigen-rapid-tested when they arrive to the retreat center and must test negative to attend the retreat. Masks will be welcome and optional.

Facilitators and Guides

Lydia Violet Harutoonian

Lydia Violet Harutoonian


Lydia Violet Farshid-Harutoonian, M.A., has studied dedicatedly with deep ecology…
elder and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy for the past 13 years, learning how we can metabolize planetary despair, anxiety, and community traumas into energy for resilience, action, and community healing. She runs The School for The Great Turning creates access to an education that will empower humanity’s life-sustaining legacy.

Lydia is also an Iranian-Armenian-American multi-instrumentalist weaving together Southern blues, American roots, and Iranian folk music traditions. With her live band she combines fiddle, banjo, and luscious harmonies to offer a soul-folk revival experience. In the past year she has collaborated with world-renowned artists Climbing PoeTree, Rising Appalachia, and Lyla June. ♬

Yoshi Babcock

Yoshi Babcock

Clinical Psychologist & Equine Guided Leaning Coach

Yoshi Babcock came to the States as an exchange student from Japan in 1997…

continued her education to become a psychologist. She earned a master’s degree in Humanistic Psychology and became a licensed psychologist in 2005. She has extensive experience with neuropsychological testing and conducting psychotherapy with clients of all ages dealing with anxiety, trauma, self-esteem issues, and cultural differences. Yoshi also has experience in working as a clinical research assistant at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Traditional Asian Medicine in Sendai, Japan.

While working in Japan, she experienced the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011. In search of healing her trauma, she started riding horses and discovered the therapeutic aspect of horses. Her strong passion for connecting with horses led her to earn a certification as an Equine Guided Learning (EGL) coach and facilitator in 2017. She also trained under Natural Lifemanship for Trauma-Informed Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Yoshi aims to combine humanistic philosophy with modern neuropsychological findings and utilize alternative approaches, such as eastern medicine, EGL, and psychotherapy. 

Erin Halloran

Erin Halloran

Entrepreneur, Business Owner, Equine Guided Learning Coach

Erin Halloran has spent a large portion of her career in the Health and Wellness Industry…


She founded her first successful holistic skin care business in 2005. Today, her businesses have grown tremendously due to her unique approach and ability to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle. She has a passionate team and loyal clientele and that is devoted to healthy and clean living.

She has a lifelong passion for horses that spans over 40 years, giving her an in-depth understanding of their behavior and potential for healing and helping people. After becoming a certified Life Coach and Equine Guided Learning Coach, she co-founded EquuSpirit Partnership in 2010, designed to empower individuals, groups and organizations toward sustainable change and enriched living through partnership with horses. She has worked with thousands of individuals and has over 10 years working experience with corporations and focus groups teaching and facilitating Equine Guided Learning.

Erin is also passionate about empowering youth though working with horses and assisting in the healing of individuals who have experienced trauma or abuse. To enhance this type of community outreach and expand the impact of Equine Guided Learning, she co-founded Horse Powered People in 2013.

She believes in the healing power of nature, animals and healthy living. She has two children and a hobby farm of her own. She enjoys gardening, yoga and horse back archery in her free time.


If you are interested in bringing this work to your area, we would love to hear from you.
Please fill out this short survey, and we will be in touch soon!


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts April 23rd, 2022 and live sessions end on June 11th , but you will have lifetime access to all recordings and practice tracks!
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like – across any and all devices you own.

What Folks are Saying About

School of the Great Turning

"Participating in this course has brought more love, meaning, and vitality into my heart. This journey felt as if I was falling in love for the first time, staying up late researching wanting more, more, more!"


“Thank you so much for this class and all of your sharing. Yesterday was an accumulation of so many emotions, but I am so happy to have shared my story. I truly believe in the Music As Medicine project and excited to see it grow.”


“I am lingering in the joy of our time together…I loved being in community with everyone y’all gathered. Thank you! With tears and solidarity in everything we are doing…”


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