So you have an idea of why I do what I do with horses and people, I would like to share some highlights of my journey with you. My life with horses started at 35 years old. Before that I worked in large international companies, often in the role of project manager. The work and people were great, I was happy, and yet a little voice inside of me always said there is more to life than working 9-5 for the next 30 years until retirement.
When horses came into my life a childhood dream was awakened. Since I can remember, I have always wanted to work with animals and be out in nature. So when I lost my job due to an internal restructuring I took the opportunity to listen to my heart. In pursuit of learning as much as I could about horses and in retrospect about myself I have been to a lot of great places and met a lot of wonderful people – Australia was the starting point of my journey where I worked on a farm caring for the horses and learning about natural horsemanship. My journey took me to France and the USA where I learnt from brilliant horsemen and worked on ranches caring for and training young horses. In Montana I discovered the books from two amazing horseman, Tom and Bill Dorrance. The title of one book “True Unity – A Willing Partnership” described the type of relationship I wanted and to this day it is the basis of my interaction with horses.
Although I had not planned on bringing a horse back to Switzerland, I thankfully did so anyway. Hummer is beautiful black Quarter Horse with whom I had developed a deep connection with in Montana. In the beginning I motivated Hummer more from the outside with pressure. As the relationship turned more and more into a willing partnership, everything became lighter and easier thanks to the foundation we had built on mutual trust and respect
Coming back to Switzerland and seeing how horses were stabled and fed, I quickly realized how many of the horse problems and health issues were created by humans, as I had not encountered most of the problems until now. I would guess that 60% of today’s problems with horses could be prevented if we could change the living and feeding situation of horses. My goal was to help make the world a better place for horses. So I started by helping riders become aware of what a horse truly is – a highly sensitive sentient being in and of its own right – what its needs are and the importance of meeting those needs to ensure a healthy and well-balanced horse. I have worked with a lot of riders interested in improving the communication, finding solutions to problems or simply those wanting to strengthen the horse-human bond. I really love this work because it is so rewarding to see the changes in both the horse and human.
One day I found myself holding the book “Tao of Equus” from Linda Kohanov, a pioneer in equine-facilitated personal development in the USA. I had discovered and bought her book in a tiny bookstore in Dillon, Montana. Already then I was so inspired by the stories of what was possible with horses from a personal development standpoint that I decided to become an EponaQuest Instructor one day. So, in 2011 I ended up travelling to Arizona a few times to complete the instructor program.
Spending time with wild horses touched me deeply in many ways. It’s hard to put in words when you come in direct contact with a wild animal. It’s like coming in contact with a pure and untouched essence. To me wild horses symbolized what I wanted to help coaching clients achieve – to take off their mask and return to their true essence, to who they really are and want to be. That is why I selected to use photos of wild horses for my first book.
The wild horses also influenced my riding lessons. Most riders have not had the chance to see what a healthy and well-balanced horse looks like and behave. I wanted to help riders realize how they influence their horse’s well being by how they interact with their horse. Riders seem to take certain problems into account with their horses such as a spooky horse, one that does not want to leave the herd or trailer load. Horses only have their behavior, and in the worst case health issues, to let people know that their needs are not being met. Because horses tend to suffer in silence and because people are not ready to take responsibility for their contribution to the problem, horses don’t have the opportunity to shine. Each horse is a gold nugget, if you know how to access the gold nugget, every horse can shine.
In 2015, a beautiful mare called Riverdance came into my life. She was not in the best shape when I got her, but that did not matter. I gave her the time she needed (about 2 years) to heal physically and emotionally before I started to ride her. In that time she learnt so much from Hummer that she too became light as a feather to ride. Riverdance also learnt to put in her two-cents worth when she had a different opinion than mine. In my observations I have noticed that many horses don’t get asked, they are just expected to do what the humans have planned for them, whether it suits them or not. People are too worried that horses can take over when you start involving them in the decision-making process. It could be a problem if you don’t have a good relationship with your horse, but in my own experience I have not found this to be true. As mentioned earlier, a horse is a sentient being in its own right and thus has the right to it’s own opinion that must be taken into consideration by the human.
Canada was on my list since 2012 because I had seen a video of a retreat center that took the healing power of horses to a whole other level. I wanted to learn more and spent an amazing week there with a herd of horses. The philosophy was also based on a willing partnership between humans and horses.
In 2019 I needed a break and put my horses on pasture. I loved it so much and had an opportunity to set up a business here. I moved to France in November 2019. My vision is to establish an international retreat center with horses to give people an opportunity for healing and personal transformation.
I am thankful for my journey and all the wonderful people and horses that have accompanied me on the way.