Written by  2013-11-30

Josepha's curriculum

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When Josepha was 4, people asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She always said: ‘horse rider’ on which people replied that this is not a real profession.
It shows grown ups do not always know best…
Josepha’s Curriculum in a nutshell
1974 before reaching  the age of 1, saying ‘horse’ as one of the first words, while speaking far ahead her age
1974-1980 being dragged on a daily basis to every place that had or involved horses by her grandfather, himself a passionate horse lover since birth, who drove Belgian cold blood horses for farmers as a child and worked the Belgian Cavalery stables as a young man. His idea of good riding was the Spanish Riding School of Vienna.
1980-86 spending al free time between a carnival's owner pony herd, close to her house. Josepha learned about herd dynamics, mother foal relationship and the special sensitivity that belongs with stallions.
1986-89 taking weekly lessons at the riding school while helping out as groom and helping educating young horses for backing and riding. Josepha's instructor and teacher luckily had a nowadays rarely seen classical equitation back ground. He too had the Spanish Riding School of Vienna as example of correct horse training and riding.
1989-90 She was asked to teach the children’s classes each week at the riding school at only 15, which she did with zest each week
1990 applied for Horse Riding High School in Deurne the Netherlands but could not deal with how the horses were handled and had to leave
1991 worked as a groom at a racing stable in Brussels. Parting with stallion Vita Light who was sold to UK and the misery of the very young horses in general according the Josepha made her go back home
1991 tried to live without horses because of the pain it brought Josepha to see them suffering everywhere she went
1993 In a fit of passion bought her first horse: the Ferrari like monster Holsteiner Astaire, to safe him from more abuse
1998 bought small farm together with partner Ralph to keep horses at home
1999 Ralph bought her childhood sweetheart Jimmy, who enjoyed his time of retirement while being pampered. Exhausted as he was from his hard life as a riding school horse, Jimmy passed away 11 months thereafter. Josepha still has difficulties talking about Jimmy to this day and she works restless for all the Jimmies in the world.
1996-98 worked in child protection, which later in helped Josepha to recognise mental traumas in horses
1998-2000 worked in fitness world, which later on became a huge part of how Josepha developed her training method for horses discovering the both Equine and human body are very much a like.
2001 received severely traumatised but highly trained ex bullfight (rejoneador) Don Jamie from sevilla. Josepha then started the in-depth study of the European old riding Art Masters (of which Antoine De Pluvinel is her favorite) and got to know Baroque riding and feel high School movements.
2000-2005 worked with the police and justice department as co-ordinator, which gave Josepha many insight in the different levels of society but also showed her that some forms of horse keeping are very much alike with human prison keeping, in fysical form: little rooms with bars on each side of a long corridor but also mental form: having no say over where you are placed and what you do.
2000-2006 took weekly lessons from in her region well known classical dressage trainer Marlou van de Broek and was one of the few allowed to ride her personal and precious white Belgian warmblood dressage horses. Also had several lessons from grand-prix dressage trainer David de Wispeleare, followed several instruction weekends from former Spanisch Riding School of Vienna chief oberbereiter Arthur Kottas Heldenberg, was introduced to the biomechanics of the seat and Centered Riding by Lisanne Thomas who later became a close friend, started evidence based positive reward training via Miriam Nieuwe Weme (who also became a close friend) and followed a diversity of clinics or lessons with Ellen Schuthof, Margreet Bouwmeester, Sue Leffler, Heather Moffett, Monty Roberts, Lisbeth Wijnants (Antoine De Bodt system) and Beda Steman (Doma Vaquera & Garrocha) amongst others. Josepha says: “It does not matter whether one’s views on horse training or handling differs from an other trainer. Knowledge can always be used and adjusted to ones own way and vision. We should celebrate our differences rather than fight over them”
2004-2011 started and ran the succesfull first bitless tackshop in the world: Equihof
2004 started helping others on request with Horse problems and started teaching riding lessons without planning to
2005 came in to contact with Bittless Bridle pioneer Dr. Bob Cook, received one of his famous bridles and found a big piece and corner stone of her future training technique and philosophy
2006 further developed her own training method which she then called Natural Riding Art which is a reference to the Riding Art of the old Masters and the Natural laws, needs and movements of the Horse instead of that of the human.
2007 started the Natural Riding Art forum study group together with Bianca Kersten and Miriam Nieuwe Weme which was renamed Art of Natural Dressage on the request of Miriam to be also inviting to people who did not ride their horses but nevertheless trained positive reward based. The forum has over a thousand wordwide members and millions of hits. www.artofnaturaldressage.com
2007 successfully took a riding teacher exam for an international acknowledged organisation called ‘Centered Riding’ for official teaching as instructor.
2007 reintroduced Antoine De Pluvinel’s soft cavesson, also still used in the Spanish Riding School today, also designed a cordeo for in hand work, lunging and riding. This cavesson bridle remains a best selling item and ships world wide.
2007 published first book ‘Bitless without trouble’ in Dutch
2007 was invited to give seminars, demos and clinics about Natural Riding Art on many large horse events and stables in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany
2007 was invited to teach in several countries outside Belgium and the Netherlands including a 10 day tour through South Africa
2007-2009 developed ground breaking new type of courses ons horse training and was asked to write many articles for several Equine Magazines including one from Poland.
2009 Founded with Ralph the new small and private Horse & Human training centre TAONARA (The Academy of Natural Academic Riding Art) renamed Equus Universalis in 2013.
2009 assisted international personal fitness coach John Grady with a fitness program developed for riders. www.fit-clinic.eu
2009-2011 was asked to be guest teacher on the subject of horse training, behaviour, history, bit effects and saddle fitting at the Dutch Horse Academy www.paardenacademy.nl
2010 was asked to give a seminar about Natural Leadership to the MBA’s of Rotterdam’s Erasmus University
2011 founded the Natural Leadership project: www.natuurlijk-leiderschap.info
2011 founded a school with a two years instructor’s course of which class of 2012 started in March that year.
2012 founded together with her student instructors The Equus Universalis Foundation www.eeuf.net
2013 gives several clinics in Madrid, to amongst others several grand prix dressage riders, and works with several horses with problems.
cadmos will publish Josepha's book in German and Bueckerburgse Hofreitschule magazine interviews her about her work.
Gives a lecture at Ghent's High School on correct and beneficial training of Horses
2014 Josepha and her Equus Universalis are asked to perform at Belgium's largest horse fair Horse Expo in February and the Benelux's largest Horse fair Horse Event in September
Two classes of the instructor School Graduate
2015 Josepha's book gets published, Equus Universalis gets sponsored by Flexible saddle, Josepha and William Savat (Equus universalis instructor trained by Josepha) are asked to perform at Europe largest Horse fair Equitana at 18 and 19 March


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