For as long as I can remember, I have felt a deep desire to be with horses. Everything about them drew me in, inexplicably so.
As with most children, I began the traditional way, taking weekly lessons in riding schools, learning only really about horses from the saddle. When I was 10 years old I began leasing a flea-bitten grey called Little Duke, who was a rescue pony. My mom would drop me off at the stables and pick me up two hours later, mostly with me having spent the full two hours trying to catch him. I slept well during those years! Little Duke was a cheeky little thing, but he taught me a great deal - mostly how to stay on a pony, who would rather see you face planted in the dirt! In those days there was a movie called "To Ride a Wild Pony"... and I felt we were some kind of version of that. It was all high speed and close calls. He was as wild as could be and I didn't care. I loved him and that was that.
When I turned 12 years old, my parents bought me my first horse, Tzarina, a beautiful Anglo Arab mare. I remember the day she arrived so clearly. My folks picked me up from school and took me to the stables to see Little Duke, but instead of walking to his stable, we walked on to stable number 44 and there inside, waiting for me was the most magnificent horse I ever saw. Her coat was a rich copper bay which shone even in the shade and she had a perfect white diamond star. Her mane and her tail were jet black. She was the absolute love of my teenage life. We spent many hours exploring the forests of Tokai, launching over rivers and galloping the sand tracks of Constantia together. She was a big horse with a huge heart and I just adored her.
When I was 18, I went off to Stellenbosch University and my folks had to make the very hard decision to re-home Tzarina. We were very lucky that she went back to her previous owner who had missed her dearly during the years she spent teaching me how to grow up and listening to all the teenage angst I shared with her while cleaning her hooves and brushing her mane.
After University I travelled to London and lived the corporate life for 10 years. I had a big break from horses and riding, not really because I wanted to, but more because I couldn't find a single horse anywhere in London! As I savvied up I managed to find various riding centres and places where I knew I could get a dose of horses. I remember driving for hours to find places where I could just spend one hour watching the horses. As life would have it, we ended up buying a small flat in Worcester Park and low and behold I was 5 minutes from a DIY stable yard! Every weekend was spent going down to the yard and seeing what I could do. I would help with feeding, turning out, mucking out, grooming, most of which was done in the dark and freezing cold. It was there that I met Peggy, a big bay, Irish Sport Horse cross. A more worked up horse I had never met! I began leasing her and again was very much in the traditional mindset of doing things. By now I was in my 20s and I had started to think for myself a bit. I began to research various ways I could help Peggy to calm down and to not be so anxious whenever anyone was around her. It was then that I took my very first steps away from traditional riding and training.
I left London to come home to Cape Town, South Africa with two things in mind - I wanted to buy a young horse and live in Noordhoek!
Then the magnificent dark bay, Suvari Royale (Vari) came into my life as a four and a half year old thoroughbred mare, who couldn't be raced because she refused to load into the starting gates. Little did I know, but at the time Vari arrived to be with us, I was also expecting my first child. It was Vari who completely changed everything for me. She showed me that no method was ever going to work on her. That no amount of incongruence on my part, was acceptable to her and that if I was to communicate with her at all, I had to truly seek to understand her first. And in order to even begin to understand her, I had to understand myself.
It was Vari who insisted that I change. She insisted that I stop trying to find some outside source to tell me what to do. She told me that I already knew the answers - only I had to learn to trust my inner voice again. To try to remember why I fell in love with horses in the first place.
Every single day she showed up - powerful, strong and unwavering, demanding that I listen to my heart and let go of my conditioning. She was relentless. I had to learn the lesson no matter how long it took or how hard it was. I was told to put her down, to sell her, to find another horse that would be easier. Yet I stayed with her, somehow knowing that despite all the tears and the struggles there was a profound lesson here for me.
As Vari helped me to untangle from the traditional ways of perceiving horses, the shifts I experienced were so incredibly life changing, that I knew I had to share what Vari was teaching me with the world.
And so, on October 1st, 2016, I gingerly created The Gift of The Horse. A little ritual began as a way that I could spend time reflecting on the lessons I was learning, with a warm cup of herbal tea, a desk lamp and my computer. With my job wrapped up for the day and kiddies tucked in for the night, I would shape shift into a night owl and the magic would flow! The more I wrote, the clearer everything became for me. The clearer things became, the more I felt urged to share, the more my hubby was my sounding board! A surfer at heart and a builder by day, he has been by my side, championing me to be brave enough to say what I have to say and to share my truth, even when I can feel myself shaking in my unicorn slippers.
Over the years, I slowly learnt how to edit pictures, make memes, write blogs and create home made videos. I wrote my first book in 2017 and then later went on to write The Gift of The Horse Mindfulness Practice in 2019 - a book that actually took on a life of it's own as a detailed course, which we launched in July 2019, on how to practice The Gift of The Horse teachings. Our Mindful Safety Guide is the next book on our list to complete and publish! We have also begun to grow a few sister pages to The Gift of The Horse, The Gift of The Horse Reiki, The Gift of The Horse Essential Oils, and The Non-Ridden Horses of South Africa.
The Gift of The Horse Equine Reiki practice was launched in August 2020.
If you would like to join us for our Mindfulness Self-Study Practice, please get in touch via Facebook Messenger. You can also have a look under "Study with The Gift of The Horse" section of this website where you will find our brochure and how to join us.
If you would like to order our books, please also send me a message on Facebook Messenger.
If you would like to book an Equine Reiki session for your horse, please contact me again on Facebook Messenger.
For Cape Town clients:
I am available to offer Mindfulness Live Teachings, as well as Equine Reiki. Please contact me for details.