The Retreat division of Leaves and Lizards

Our Mission is to restore a more natural state of “being” by creating experiences where people can (re) connect with themselves, each other and nature in a safe non-judgmental environment.

Equine Facilitated Learning encourage us to look within ourselves to find balance, regain strength, renew spirit and rediscover our power. Eponicity programs usually incorporate horses in some aspect. No need to be a horse lover to open the door to connection, just bring your curiosity!

Horses teach us to be authentic with ourselves and within our communities. The special horses at Leaves and Lizards will lead you to a place of peace and understanding. We offer multi-day workshops, riding treks and one day mini-workshops.  Workshops are suitable for individuals, couples, corporate groups and families. No riding or horse experience is necessary.

Deborah Draves Legg and her husband Steve Legg left their life in the USA in 2006 and created Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Retreat in Costa Rica. A 25 year career as a registered nurse prepared Deborah for the challenge of creating this healing retreat in Central America. Horses found their way into her life serendipitously after the move. Deborah is an Advanced Eponaquest Riding Focused and Power of the Herd Instructor In 2015, Sally Nilsson made the move from corporate attorney in London to a new life in Costa Rica. As a certified professional IPEC coach and Eponaquest Riding Focused and Power of the Herd Instructor, Sally partners with Deborah in designing and facilitating Eponicity retreats.

Click here for testimonials

How you do anything is how you do everything…

Is the same thing showing up for you all the time? Want it to stop? STOP. TAKE A PAUSE. “Awareness is the greatest agent for change” Eckhart Tolle Turn on the light to awareness!  Start with personal coaching with Sally.

Click here for the full brochure of Sally’s Coaching Services

 Be Connected – Be  Recharged  – Be Authentic – Be Inspired  – Just Be!

Retreats  –  Sabbaticals (Individual or Family) – Group Events- Workshops 

 We offer private, by request, retreats as well.

Click below to understand more about EFL

Read about an Eponicity experience - see how experiential learning changes lives. Click to read an Eponicity experience blog

Interesting Blog Post from a well known intuitive who attended an Eponicity Retreat. Interesting blog post from a well known intuitive who attended an Eponicity retreat

Read about our workshops in Houston PetTalk Magazine Read about our workshops in Houston’s PetTalk Magazine


Read About Kristen’s Experience. Click the photo.

Astonishing. Exhilarating. Revealing. Transformational.  All words that accurately describe my experience in the Eponicity workshop.  In our every day lives, we hope to learn about ourselves in bits and pieces.  We try to grow in small ways hoping they’ll add up, eventually, to something bigger, something meaningful.  But imagine doing all this in one week. Enter Eponicity.  I arrived afraid –  what if I couldn’t keep up with the “horsey stuff”?  I hadn’t ridden since I was 12 when I was told I was awkward and untalented. What if I held the group back or worse… ….What is the process?  It’s hard to describe because it’s an evolution, different for each person.  It starts with sitting blind-folded in a circle and waiting for a horse – your horse – to choose you. From there a friendship evolves through exercises, rides, coaching, and social experiences.  Your horse lovingly gives you what you need and, in turn, requires that you shed what you do not.  Today, I describe myself as arriving in Costa Rica a garden snake and shedding so many skins, I left as a python. It’s not just the horses.  It’s also the people – the brilliant trio of Danielle MacKinnon, Debbie Legg, and Sally Nilsson.  They are more than a team, rather a seamless interweave of talents able to work with each of us to tease out our raw, beautiful humanness and, from there, dip our toes into the pool of our authentic selves. I am home now, a different person.  No one around me can quite name it. Some say I’m gentler, others prefer ‘more directed’ or ‘better grounded’.  The words don’t matter because the truth is I’m more me.  And becoming me is a never-ending process that I’m honored to have begun with Eponicity at Leaves and Lizards. Julie Davidson


“My mother told me when we boarded that airplane bound for Costa Rica that ‘this place will change you.’ … I brushed it off. She warned there was something, not exactly sure what, but something about the community, the air, the rain forest, the animals, that seeps into your soul and mixes it up a bit. For every person, the effect is slightly different. For most, it’s downright cathartic. I lost myself in the jungle and purged my soul. Erin M.G.

Cultural events are a special part of the experience!

We are honored to be part of the award winning documentary, “Freedom Tracks“, directed by Leila Pages. The documentary explores human horse relationships and the capacity of the horse to help humans connect.  Here is the trailer.


What to expect in a Costa Rica horse adventure:

The Horses: The Costa Rican horses, Costarricense de Paso also known as Criollo, are a combination of several Spanish horses (Barb, Andalusian, Arab) and the Peruvian Stepping Horse. This magical combination has created horses with a smooth, comfortable gait. They are fearless, sure footed, hardworking and extremely versatile. The horses at Leaves and Lizards are cared for and trained using natural/relationship based horsemanship techniques. We use Dr. Cook’s Bitless Bridles.  Options range from the highly spirited Criolla to low key Quarter Horses and anywhere in between. The riding style is Western. We will help you choose just the right horse. Maybe your horse will choose you! In Spanish it is called `Vinculo’ ; it is an explainable bond between two souls. Join us in Costa Rica for the best horseback riding experience of your life! The Environment/Weather: Costa Rica has around 30 different micro-climates.  Leaves and Lizards Retreat is located in the region of Humid Rain Forest. We are located on the Caribbean slope and our weather is wetter, the rain forest greener and denser than on the Pacific Slope. You may get wet on one or more of your riding days at anytime during the year. Temperatures are 80’s in the day and 70’s at night almost all year round. The Nature:  You may feel like you have entered into the ‘Land of Oz’ during your journey. Our rides take you cantering across rolling hills, through rain forests, fording clear rivers, and trotting down isolated country roads through sleepy villages. Views from the hilltops are breathtaking. The Arenal Volcano dominates the vista, look the other way; you’ll see 3 more volcanoes in the distance and across the Northern plains Lake Nicaragua shimmers on the horizon. You’ll be sure to spot all sorts of creatures, including curious monkeys (without wings), happy sloths, dozens of species of flamboyant tropical birds, poison dart frogs and maybe even an ocelot or other wild cat-just to name a few! Your guides will teach you about the environment and how the flow of energy works in the complex circle of life in the rain forest. The Energy: There is something indescribable about the energy here. Some say it is a shift in consciousness. The real world slips away as you canter across rolling hills on forest edges. You find the Costa Rica motto, ‘Pura Vida’ (pure life) has a special meaning on the back of your horse. The Guides:  Some rides include a bilingual naturalist guide and a local cowboy and horseman. Your guides will become fast friends and lifelong kindred spirits. They will offer you guidance and encouragement to improve your horsemanship skills and facilitate a Vinculo (special connection) with your equine companion. The Culture: The Costa Rican’s call themselves Tico’s. They are friendly, welcoming people who are proud of their country and are incredibility hospitable. Horses are a part of the culture and used for work on farms and ranches. Community events such as Rodeos, Topes (dancing horse parades), Cabalgatas (group cross-country rides) and Endurance Rally’s are yearly events in many communities. Experiencing the culture and people of Costa Rica is an important element of the Eponicity experience at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat.

Books about our horses by Dr. Rosalyn Berne.

“When the Horses Whisper” shows the capacity of horses to help us heal the human heart.

Waking to Beauty

When the Horses Whisper

When the Horses Whisper

It expresses in human language what horses have to say when given the chance to speak. It is a story about the sacred bond between us, and the communication made possible when the horse-human relationship is based on love. Conversations with fifteen horses, most of who live and work in Costa Rica, are featured along with their photographs, capturing them as individual beings in service to humans on a shared evolutionary journey. This journey amounts to the “re-membering” of our whole selves in the wholeness of creation, especially the parts we split off, deny, and place in shadow because they are too painful. Horses, as the book shows, can help us see these lost parts, and call forth our courage to reclaim them. For the author, these included the loss of a newborn daughter, the mental illness of an adult son, letting go of a thirty-year marriage, and childhood sexual abuse. The story recounts the equine healing work that helped in reclaiming her authentic self. This book is testimony to the power of horses and equine healing work in transforming life’s losses into a deeper human wholeness and a further communion with the non-human world.  



 Due to the smaller stature of Costa Rica horses, in general, we have a 250 pound weight limit.

A special thank you to all the professional photographers that have contributed photographs for this website. 

http://www.ninafullerphotography.com/ http://www.tinathuellphotography.com/ http://www.charlottevenema.de/ https://www.sandysharkey.com/ https://www.facebook.com/Sue-Ratcliffe-Photography-104178356314561/ robknightphotography.com http://www.shehewe.com/ http://www.audreypages.com/cms/home   SaveSave SaveSave