Bootique Camp

Walking the horsesHorses Leading The Way To A Happier, Healthier You… Naturally!

Bootique Camp is a programme developed alongside De-Stressage at Bowhayes Farm by Lucinda McAlpine. As with all things at Bowhayes, the horses lead the way and it is their natural lifestyle and its health benefits that have served as inspiration for this unique approach to a regime that can help those looking to re-sculpt their bodies as well as their as their minds.

The horse as a species is a free roaming, free grazing herd animal and therefore requires constant movement, constant grazing and a social life to operate at its optimum. The 22 horses at Bowhayes are provided with as natural an environment as is possible within the constraints of the necessary paddocking system and it is while operating this approach to horse management that we have discovered the benefits extend to the humans that care for them.

Bootique Camp has been formulated to encapsulate all the principles that we believe in whilst managing the horses.
Sweeping the yardFirst and foremost, we believe that to function efficiently we must be happy and in control of the decisions we make in our own lives – doing what FEELS right! Horses are sentient beings and living in close proximity to them allows us to adopt them as role models for a ‘more feeling, less thinking’ approach.
Secondly, we believe that the physical and the mental/emotional are closely linked. When either of these is in a poor state it can affect the other as well. For example, being overweight can have an impact on self esteem, fluctuating sugar levels can cause mood swings and equally depression can lead to low energy levels. Our horses are maintained to move to their full movement potential and allowed the freedom to roam 24 hours a day. Bootique Camp offers clients the incentive to walk around observing the horses and becoming part of the team. Yard duties are minimal but can provide additional exercise to raise the heart rate and so increase fitness. The farm is built on a hill and so just a walk from the gate to the farmhouse provides a cardio-vascular workout! Our 5 dogs are also more than happy to accompany our guests on a walk around the stunning Blackdown Hills. Riding is also an excellent form of exercise and our ‘Yoga on Horseback sessions form an essential part of the programme. A simple series of exercises on the lunge can improve posture and increase core stability. Changes can be immediately visible – some clients have remarked on how they instantly feel taller and have increased mobility. It figures therefore that changes are then made to the way the body burns sugars and stores fats.

Thirdly, we believe that to produce optimum performance the horses here must WANT to do what we ask and have FUN doing their job. Nothing on Bootique Camp is compulsory and clients are entirely in charge of how much or how little they participate in. The key lies in listening to your body and its needs. Sessions on the lunge encourage self-awareness and suggestions can be made for activities, additional treatments or even rest periods.

Healthy eatingWith regard to diet we again take our lead from the horses and follow the ‘grazing’ approach, much favoured by celebrities such as supermodel Cindy Crawford. We believe in a hearty breakfast but follow that with small snacks throughout the day thereby maintaining energy and blood sugar levels, which in turn helps to raise metabolism and stops the body from storing fat. Combined with constant gentle exercise clients have found that within a short time their clothes have become noticeably looser! Our horses have the opportunity to browse the diverse range of grasses and herbs in our pasture and are the masters of self-selection, instinctively knowing what is good for them. A visit to Bootique Camp starts with a trip to the local shops to choose some food that appeals to you and will become part of the next days’ snacks. A repeat visit may be necessary as your needs change! You may even find that you are less hungry and that the period between snacks increases. Optimum hydration is also important and, as we do for the horses, water is constantly available. We also believe in the anti-oxidant powers of tea and the kettle is almost always on! Dinner can be provided but many clients find that they do not want to sleep on a full stomach. We do not believe in self-denial or over-strenuous exercise – we want you to have fun here, getting to know a fitter, happier you!

CappucinoNon-participating partners are always welcome and all packages can be tailor-made to work around family commitments. As with the horses we like to ensure that your social life is catered for too! We are lucky to have an excellent pub in the village and of course many of the attractions of Devon and Somerset close by. Our accommodation is self-contained with its own sitting room so that you can have privacy whenever you want. Please take a look at our Bed and Breakfast page for accommodation details.

A typical day at Bootique Camp

The day begins whenever you want! It is important to us that you choose how early or late that might be. We trust that you will enjoy our comfortable rooms and get a good night’s sleep in the peaceful surroundings so that you awake fresh, ready for the exciting day ahead.
BreakfastAfter perhaps a cup of tea, a glass of orange juice or vitamin drink and a cereal bar you might be armed with a dog to take for a walk up the hill through our beautiful woods, joining the footpath and making a circuit back to the farm to kick start the day’s exercise. On your return you will be offered breakfast – we find that boiled eggs are often popular – to set you up for the day’s activities.
After breakfast we will go out to check round all the fields and meet all the horses, giving them their feed balancer. Getting to know their characters and behaviour is intriguing and develops each day. General maintenance jobs around the farm may need to be done which you are welcome to participate in if you so desire.

Next we prepare a horse for your lunge session and once he is ready you climb aboard. The session will last as long as your fitness dictates. Lucinda, who prides herself on knowing when to stop before you hurt, will guide you gently through the session! You will feel the impact of the session but hopefully be left looking forward to the next one.

We will almost certainly then break for a cup of tea and a snack having returned the horse to his field. The day may then bring a mixture of horses being worked by Lucinda for you to watch and perhaps meet yourself. If the weather is clement we might go out for a hack in the countryside if you would like. The level of activity is up to you!
We have also found that other treatments are complementary to our lunge sessions and we can highly recommend our associate, Bowen practitioner Kate Weeks. We have contacts to a vast array of health and beauty therapists so appointments for a bit of pampering can be worked in to a programme if required.

The day outdoors finishes whenever you want –we have lights in the indoor arena so Lucinda very often works after dark in the winter months. However we quite understand if you prefer to curl up in front of the log-burning stove indoors. We like our clients to stay warm and comfortable and the cabins adjoining the indoor arena provide a cosy respite from inclement weather whilst large windows still allow you to observe the horses’ work.

Once again the evening is your choice. Dinner can be provided or you may prefer to continue with light snacks. Yoga classes are available locally most nights at various venues. We have satellite TV, a DVD player and Wi-Fi in our accommodation and Lucinda will be available to discuss the day’s events and of course to plan for the next day. A luxurious hot bath and bed might not be a bad idea!


“Two inches off my waist in 5 days! Wow !!!”

“Thanks to my newly re-sculpted body, my thin clothes are out of the attic again – this time for good”

“Following the horses’ lifestyle has led me to feel fitter, stronger and more toned in mind, body and spirit”

“Fun, fitness and laughter all the way on Bootique Camp! No pain, no weight gain! In fact my favourite shirt is loose now!”

“Thank you SO much, Lucinda. I have found my abs again and Hilly and Barty are definitely the best looking personal trainers I have ever worked with !”

“I so enjoyed being part of the team and got so busy running around after Lucinda that I never even noticed how much more exercise I was doing.”

“Bootique Camp has boosted my confidence and kick-started my metabolism – the effects are continuing and I have been able to include the principles into my everyday life. I am transformed!”

“ You only have to look at Lucinda to see it works!!”