Equine Assisted World with Rupert Isaacson

That the Netherlands is a forward thinking country we can all agree – especially when it comes to matters of social welfare. Given that the country also helped give the world things that give great pleasure - like coffee, tulips, the Stock Exchange, New Amsterdam (New York City), not to mention liquorice, gouda cheese and gin (alright, there might have been a bit of a colonial process at work for some of these, but nonetheless…), its perhaps no surprise that all things equestrian-assisted, from straight up Therapeutic and Adaptive Riding to Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to other neuro-cognitive approaches, have been funded in the Netherlands on a state level for decades. It’s also a country with a strong tradition in fine horsemanship. The Dutch Warmblood, the Gelderlander, the Frisian..’nuff said.

Carola Beekman`s Maheo Program (meaning Proud in Polynesian), located in Arnhem, in the Eastern Netherlands, treads the line between cutting edge Equine Assisted Work for autism, trauma and neuro-cognitive work, and the use of the Old Masters System of Classical Dressage, especially the work in-hand and in the long reins, not just to keep her horses in optimum mind and body for the job, but also as its own therapy for her adult clients; training them to be horse trainers, maintainers and rehabbers.

Carola’s background goes beyond the equine and therapeutic however – for years she was a teacher in the regular school system and eventually got her principal’s license, so teaching actual academics - maths, science, languages, all through the horses and her barn environment, is also part of the service at Maheo.

Finally, where Carola has perhaps gained most of her experience, is through her own struggles with mental and emotional health. Rather than try to present herself as somehow perfect, she – in true honest Dutch fashion – is refreshingly open and frank about thee struggles and the insights they have given her, as we will learn.

So listen on; Carola Beekman has a lot to teach us out here in the Equine Assisted World.

Contact Carola
Carola offers Horse Boy Method & Movement Method workshops. Find her at:

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What is Equine Assisted World with Rupert Isaacson?

Here on Equine Assisted World. We look at the cutting edge and the best practices currently being developed and, established in the equine assisted field. This can be psychological, this can be neuropsych, this can be physical, this can be all of the conditions that human beings have that these lovely equines, these beautiful horses that we work with, help us with.

Your Host is New York Times bestselling author Rupert Isaacson. Long time human rights activist, Rupert helped a group of Bushmen in the Kalahari fight for their ancestral lands. He's probably best known for his autism advocacy work following the publication of his bestselling book "The Horse Boy" and "The Long Ride Home" where he tells the story of finding healing for his autistic son. Subsequently he founded New Trails Learning Systems an approach for addressing neuro-psychiatric conditions through horses, movement and nature. The methods are now used around the world in therapeutic riding program, therapy offices and schools for special needs and neuro-typical children.

 You can find details of all our programs and shows on www.RupertIsaacson.com.

Rupert Isaacson: Welcome
to Equine Assisted World.

I'm your host, Rupert Isaacson.

New York Times bestselling
author of the Horse Boy.

Founder of New Trails Learning
Systems and long ride home.com.

You can find details of all our programs
and shows on Rupert isaacson.com.

Here on Equine Assisted World.

We look at the cutting edge and the best
practices currently being developed and,

established in the equine assisted field.

This can be psychological, this
can be neuropsych, this can be

physical, this can be all of the
conditions that human beings have.

These lovely equines, these beautiful
horses that we work with, help us with.

Thank you for being part of the adventure
and we hope you enjoy today's show

Welcome back, everybody, to Equine
Assisted World, where we talk to

people who are helping our species,
humanity, with the assistance

of these incredible beings that
we call Equus Equus, the horse.

And the reason, as you know, that we
call it Equine Assisted World rather than

Therapeutic and so forth is because it's
such, it's, it's grown so exponentially

to such a wide field in the last 10
years or so, that To limit it to just

one form of a therapeutic approach of
course would not do justice to the to

the, to the universe and mosaic of really
interesting work that is out there.

And so with that in mind we, as you
know, look internationally for the first

time on the show, we're going to be
talking to somebody in the Netherlands.

And the Netherlands is an interesting
place because it's both a very

forward thinking and Some would
say liberal, others would say

enlightened country both in education,
therapeutic approaches and so forth.

And also it's rather rule based.

So, navigating that rather
interesting mix of how to...

Supply and deliver services
is not without its challenges.

And yet at the same time, one is dealing
with a country where the acceptance

of alternative therapeutic approaches
and so on is well established.

And someone who's been at the center
of that for the last decade or so

is my guest today, Carola Beekman.

Carola Beekman from the Netherlands
who has bootstrapped a really cutting

edge approach to equine assisted work
there over the last decade or so.

And her organization, Maheo, , which
is near Arnhem in the eastern part of

the Netherlands is doing work both in
and outside of the mainstream and in

and outside of horse training, not just
working with special needs that brings

really some unusual and very, very
valuable contributions to the work.

So, Carola welcome to.

Equine Assisted World.

Thank you for coming on.

Can you explain to us the word Maheo?

What does it

Carola Beekmann: mean?

MAheo is an Hawaiian or Polynesian
word and it means proud, right?

I saw it in a In a movie about a
troubled girl who went to a farm with

horses and that place was called Maheo.

And I always told myself, if I ever get
my own place, it will be called Maheo.

Rupert Isaacson: So proud,
proud to be yourself, proud and

Carola Beekmann: yeah.



So to become proud of who you are.

So we help you to become you
and be really proud of yourself.

Rupert Isaacson: That's a
wonderful place to begin.

Carola Beekmann: Thank you
so much for inviting me.

I'm happy to be here.

Rupert Isaacson: Can you tell us
who you are, and perhaps how and

why you got into this funny old
business of the equine assisted world?

Carola Beekmann: Sure.

I live in my with my husband and my
daughter in a little town called Drempt,

which is about 20 kilometers from
Arnhem, in the east of the Netherlands.

And I started my career as a teacher and
already during my my days in college, I

chose the path of the special needs kids.

One of the reasons was, is I am myself
as I was myself, a special needs kid.

And yeah, after a 20 years in working
in schools, first as a teacher, then

as a special needs coordinator, coach
for teachers, et cetera I did my

school principal educational program
and decided that There wasn't a school

that I would like to lead because
the way I wanted it it didn't exist.

So, that was one of the reasons
why I quit working in schools.

And in the meantime I've been
also always been a horsey girl.

I was the kind of girl who had her
walls plastered with pony posters

and would Get any moment to, to go
to a pony near to feed it a carrot or

something and to give it a, a brush
or whatever I was allowed to do.

So, I also really became
interested in horse training.

So at the end of my career as a
school teacher, I was combining it

with being a horse riding instructor.

And for that, I did clinics abroad.

Went to all kinds of interesting places
like South Africa, Kazakhstan, Qatar

Texas South Africa and Finland too.

And that was cool.

And then there came a moment where I
could combine the two, the special needs

kids and the training of the horses.

And yeah, that's when
this all got started.

Tell me,

Rupert Isaacson: you say that you
were a special needs kid yourself.

That's really intriguing.

What type of special needs kid were you?

Carola Beekmann: Well, it was first of all
I really struggled to learn how to read.

That was one of my earlier struggles.

The other one was concentration.

I was really good at concentrating
where the fly in the classroom was.

I'm not as much paying attention
to what I was supposed to do.

I was also one of those kids who
never, never could figure out when,

which subject would be like after a
short break on a Thursday, everybody

would pull out their geography books.

And I was like, why are you doing this?

And it turned out that every Thursday
after the short break, we got geography.

I had no idea.

So, the whole Time, uh, awareness.

It just wasn't there.

And the other thing that happened later
in is that I got really badly bullied.

And it became so bad I got so
stressed out that I lost all my hair.

So, at the age of 12, 13,
I was completely bald.

I just had one or two little hairs here in
front, and the rest of my hair was gone.

Pure due to the stress of being bullied.


Rupert Isaacson: a very, very
hard thing for an adolescent

girl to go through, as you said.

So you say, you're saying right
at your, as basis, puberty hits.

you lose your, your hair in
school that had to be something

of a nightmare, surely?

Carola Beekmann: Definitely.

And not just for me, for my
parents as well, of course.

I heard that later especially from
my dad, how much he worried about

me, but yeah, there were definitely
suicidal thoughts at times.

But I couldn't figure out how to
Leave this life without hurting other

people around me like my family.

So That's what kept me going because
I didn't want to hurt other people

But yeah, it was a a tough time.


Were you involved?

Yeah, and

Rupert Isaacson: Does this
help you get through that?

Carola Beekmann: Yes, actually I was
in a pony club, it was just starting

because I remember one time we had
a jumping lesson and I was always

there with my helmet on, right?

So nobody really knew or saw.

And we had a jumping lesson and I fell
off, my helmet fell off and one of the

dads rushed to me to come and help me.

And he was just totally in
shock because I was bald.

So yeah, I around that time, I
started to spend a lot of time with my

neighbor's horse or a pony, actually.

Yeah, and that definitely helped me to
have my happy moments outside of school.

And also, I was blessed in a way
because I was, um, in my secondary

school in my own small town.

Which was a blessing and what's
the opposite of blessing again?

It was also not so good
because yeah, curse.

Thank you.

I lost the word.

Because you know, people in a village,
they cause they gossip about you,

but also it's sheltered, right?

So the kids in my school, they, they
know they knew who I was and, and

yeah, accepted me for what I was.


In my secondary school, which was during
that time, I made that decision when I

was both, um, yeah, it was okay there.

It was of course still hard, but the
girl that used to bully me was, didn't

go to that same secondary school.

So I was yeah, we were separated
because of the school change and yeah,

then I slowly started to heal again.

But yeah, that pony, every
minute out of school, not having

to do homework, I was there.

So, so you and, and

Rupert Isaacson: the pony young just tell
me quickly I, I don't mean to make you

dwell on a painful time, but obviously
this is, gives one, no, it's okay.


How long did it take for you to get to
a point where your, your stress levels,

your cortisol levels could come down
enough that your hair could regrow

and you could feel the confidence to
then go on and clearly, you know, do

well in secondary, you know, Later
education and so on to the point where

you could be thinking about becoming
a school principal because obviously

that takes quite a lot of confidence.

Can you just do a little bit
of how that shifted for you?

Because I think that will inform a
lot about the equine assisted work.

Carola Beekmann: Well, I, it took
me about until the end of my second

grade in, in secondary school.

So about two years to, to get
my, my feedback on the ground.

anD that the main thing why I
remember that so clearly, because

then my my grades really went up.

I remember the, the headmaster of my
primary school said I, I should go to

the lowest level of secondary school
because I couldn't deal with more.

And luckily my parents supported me and
I went one level up, um, and I really

struggled the first two years because
of all the stress and all the, well,

I now know all the cortisol and Yeah.

At the end of the second year,
my, my grades went up and I

started to feel more okay.

And during that time I was really
active in in the pony club and we had

competitions nearly every Saturday,
which we went to in a big truck, load

up all the ponies and go somewhere
around in our area to go out for a day.

And those Saturdays
were a blessing for me.

to, to hang out with the horses
and with my friends and do

the dressage and the jumping.

So I, I kind of lived for those Saturdays.

Yeah, they, they really
helped me through that period.

Rupert Isaacson: That, that is
somewhat surprising because, you

know, my, my memories of competing as
a teenager which I did a lot of too.

I found it quite stressful.

How did you deal with, given that
you were suffering from stress, you

know, to the point that your, your
hair had fallen out and so on, did

you not find the same stresses in the
competition world of riding, or did

you somehow manage to make some sort
of separation in that, in your mind?

What was going on there?

Carola Beekmann: Yeah, I, I guess for me,
the, the joy of being with my pony club.

With all my friends and also
especially for the dressage

part of it, I was pretty good.

So, I, I didn't really have to
struggle to get all my points

to, to get to the next level.

And I think that also did a lot with
my confidence because well, once

I was like 16, 17, I wrote it at
the highest level of my pony club.

And I could kind of start helping
and coaching the younger kids.

So, I think for me, the, my mom, in
hindsight, my mom said you, you were

really nervous every Saturday morning.

She couldn't say anything
to me and I would snap.

I don't really recall that.

How unusual for so it must be true.

So, so yeah, there was definitely some
stress, but I think it was like more

like a stage fright kind of stress.

Not really that, uh, trauma stress
it's, it's, it's a different feel.



Rupert Isaacson: I hear
you at least for me.

And there's a bit of a clue in
what you were saying there too.

You said that you were really
enjoying being with this group

of friends in the Pony Club.

So you found community and some sort
of tribal, familial support there.

Why do you think that?

And Go ahead, you go ahead and I'll
come back to this question in a minute.

Carola Beekmann: Yeah.

The interesting one is that the girl
that bullied me in primary school.

Was at the same pony club.

Because we both were a bit older.

Yeah, we, we got along.

It, it was my mom who really could
never forgive her for what she did

to me, but for her and me, myself, it
was a non issue at that time, really.

So you managed to make it.

I, I, I questioned.

Yeah, I, I actually.

I never asked her, but I actually don't
think that she remembers it like that.

She bullied me.

And later on, when I went to
college to become a teacher, I I

also learned that problem is with
the one that bullies and not.

The victim of the bullying that really
gave me a different perspective on her.

Like she, you know, she lived on a farm.

The rest of us all lived in the
village, so she might have felt like

an outsider herself and needed to, I
don't know make herself bigger and more

important to feel seen or whatever.

So, but yeah, we made peace with it
and we did pony camps together and

competing together and it was all good.

Yeah, my mom, my mom held a grudge,
which I can also understand.

Rupert Isaacson: That's a
really, really good insight.

I think it's quite rare for somebody
to have gone through that full cycle

of being the victim, going through
the suffering, making peace with it,

forgiving the perpetrator then making
peace with the perpetrator and going on

to forge a new relationship with them.

At that young age, that must...

obviously inform a lot.

Of the work that you do now, the
fact that you could, do you feel that

because you managed to, um, go through
and not stay in the victim role?

That must give you insights now into
the populations that you're working

with in the equine assistive world.

Would, would you

Carola Beekmann: think?

Yes, absolutely.

There's always a deeper,
um, meaning behind behavior.

You know, people are not mean just
because they're mean or you know,

there's always a story behind it.

And for me, it's always very
interesting to, uh, find the story,

like what is hurting you, what is
frustrating you, what's, what's

the story behind your anger or.

your dominance or in other
cases why are you so introvert?

What, what's the story behind it?

And that's always.

For me, a trigger to really get to
know the person and then help them

through whatever is bugging them that
makes them behave the way they behave.

So yeah, definitely.

Rupert Isaacson: So you, you also told
us that you had a natural penchant,

which I guess also must have helped,
as you said, with your regaining

of confidence in the dressage.

I do know that you went on to have and
pro and still do have quite a full career

in dressage training just so that people
listening can understand your background.

Cause we're going to talk about
how you've brought that into

your equine assisted work.

Can you tell us a little bit about
the dressage path that you followed?

And then we can return to that
in the context of, of the equine

assisted work in a, in a moment.

Carola Beekmann: So of course in
the pony club and as a young adult,

I just did what everybody did, the,
the, the English way of writing.

And then I stumbled upon a horse,
which that didn't work for.

And I got to know a an instructor
who, uh, came from the academic

side of the horse training.

So really.

From the old way of horse
training and, and instead of.

A horse for the dressage to make
us look good and fill our egos with

being beautiful and doing cool stuff
totally reversing it and saying,

okay, this is dressage for the horse.

So we look at this horse, we
see what this horse needs.

And then we use these particular
exercises to build up this horse.

So, strengthening the hind legs
flexibility, balance, all that stuff

really tailor made to the horse.

And that is what really got me excited
again, also because of the, after

the birth of my daughter, I wasn't
interested in, in the competition anymore.

One, because what I saw at
the competitions is how other

people mistreated their horses.

That really made me sad.

And the other was really
practical with a, with a baby.

You don't have time at least.

I couldn't make the time to compete.

So, reversing that process, like, okay,
looking at each individual horse and what

do you need to gain your strength and
flexibility, but also their confidence

is yeah, a big shift I made in the
horse training and that of course is

in a, has a strong relationship with
how I work with the kids I work with and

the adults is not this is the program
you we're going to do this program

and you need to fit in the program.

No, we're, this is who you are.

I have this framework, uh, but we're gonna
totally tailor make it to your needs.

So that's for me, a big parallel
between the horse riding and

equine assisted work we do.

Rupert Isaacson: Tell me, tell us a little
bit about this horse that changed your,

your way of looking at the dressage.

What, what was going on with this horse?

What was the story?

Carola Beekmann: Yeah.


His name was Macho.

I got him when he was two and
a half and he was my first

horse after my pony career.

He didn't know anything, so I had to train
him myself and it was a huge struggle.

Nine years later, after many people had
told me to get rid of him because he

was dangerous and whatever I found out
that he had trauma from his castration.

Both still physical pain as in
back then not being sedated enough.

So he consciously went through that and
it made him really stiff in his hind legs.

He really wanted to keep his
junk as quiet as possible.

So he, he, he walked really still with
his hind legs to, to keep it all as still

as possible, so didn't hurt that much.

So after treating that, I already
had an 11 year old horse and then

I could finally start training him.

But yeah, it's, it's needed
to be that tailor made way.

To really get him to teach him how
to use his hind legs properly and,

and get the flexibility there and
get him the confidence that he could

move now and it didn't hurt anymore.

How did you find that was a long journey?

Rupert Isaacson: How did you find
out that it was stretched and that's

an interesting things I want a lot
of horses must go through that.


So yeah.

What did

Carola Beekmann: you find out?


So yes, to say it's like one
in six horses are still in some

way suffering from their scar.

So how did I find it out?

I had a massage therapist with him.

She does she had to therapy
and she said he, he responds

differently than other horses.

And that was already when he was 10
or 11 and, and I said, because, you

know, I was trying everything, you
know, I had saddle maker fits for

his back, whatever, I tried it all.

And then I said, well, okay, you know,
I have him since he was two and a half,

uh, nothing really special happened.

So if there is something, it
must have been between his

birth or maybe his conception.

And two and a half.

So what happens in that
period, his castration.

So she, during the massage, she
went with her hand towards, um, his

private parts and he just freaked out.


The problem is right there.

And then I had I brought him to
an holistic fat and I had to put

some, Um, special cream on the scar
to, to, to soften the scar tissue.

So that was one part of it.

And he got like, silver pearls,
homeopathic pearls for the trauma release.

And, uh, I didn't know back then what
I saw but he started to yawn and, and

chew and lick and yawn and yawn more.

So now I know what that all means,
but back then I didn't, you know, the.

stable owner.

She came and stand with me.

She's like, wow, what's going on here?

And I was like, yeah, he's being treated.

So she already knew more
than I at that time.

So yeah, that was the start
of his healing process.

And he died one day before his 21st
birthday, but I got him up to, well, doing

all the highest level massage movements.

He was still crawling, crawling a
bit forward, but up to that level.

So, yeah, he, he had a good
life after his 11th birthday.

So, but before that it
was a big suffer for him.


Interesting that you, you,
and I was grateful that I.

Continue to search.

Sorry, I interrupted you.

Rupert Isaacson: I'm just finding it's,
it's very interesting that you, you

had this early trauma yourself, which
you then recovered from through horses.

And then you ended up with a special needs
horse who had had trauma, physical trauma.


But of course the emotional trauma is
obviously a given with that kind of an

injury and injury and invasion, you know?

So, so you said that you
found your way through.

Also with the training with him, so beyond
the actual treatment of the injury and the

trauma, as you said, the release of the
trauma, you also found your way through

academic approaches to horse training.

When you say the old way, I presume
you mean the Baroque way, like the old

masters way, would that be correct?


Carola Beekmann: exactly.

Yes, exactly.


So what would you

Rupert Isaacson: say marks that
out so differently or particularly

differently from the other more
modern conventional forms of horse

training that we'd see today?

What's, what's the main difference
that you would think in terms

of the benefit for the horse?

Carola Beekmann: Because you're doing
it for the horse and not for a test.

It's a completely
different way of thinking.

You know, you can, you can write a
particular exercise because you're

up for competing and that exercise
needs to be shown in your dressage

test, or you can write that particular
exercise to build up your horse.

And I, for me, that's.

the main difference that I, I see, or I
always look for what does this horse need?

And it can be in hand or lunging,
liberty ridden in the long lines.

What makes this horse feel
better, uh, mentally, emotionally

what do they like to do?

But also what makes them stronger
and, and, and flexible physically.

So, I think the, the
different perspective.

Rupert Isaacson: Right.

But given that we're all horse nerds,
we can, we can, on this show, we

can, we can dive in a little deeper.

I'm sure viewers listeners would
like to know what exercises did you

do with this horse to Create the
well being that hadn't been there.

Can you remember sort of the basic
program that you put him through?

I know this obviously would have
gone on over a couple of years, but

nonetheless, can you sort of summarize
for us what exercises did you do?

A, B, C, D, E and F.

How did you build him up in
mind and body to well being?

Carola Beekmann: Yeah.

So, in the beginning, it was
a lot of work on the circle.

So, I could teach him a proper
lateral bending and forward down

and stepping under of the hind leg.

And that was his main issue is that
he had such lack of flexibility

in his hind leg because he was
used to working, walking so short.

so I really had to teach him that
he could lengthen his stride and

really step under his belly on the
circle to get that flexibility.

After the circles, I
went to the shoulder in.

First I did a lot of it in hand.

So without the weight
of of the rider on top.

And yeah, so the shoulder in that
both trains, the lateral bending,

the forward down and more exaggerated
stepping under what we call on

three tracks of the inside hind leg.


anD when he could do that, we advanced
to the horn chaussein, which trains

again, the lateral bending, but in
this case, the outside hind leg to

step under, which is a, where the
body is slightly different movement

than an inside leg stepping under.

And from that, we progressed
to half parts and work periods.

And in that way, got more collection,
more weight to the hind legs.

And what I did is after he was good
with a particular exercise in hand, I

would start doing them written as well.

So I would add my own weight and
get, give all the aids from on

top instead of from the ground.

And that really gave him a
lot of confidence because he,

he knew he could do the move.

He had the strength and the balance
and well with me on top, he needed to

get a bit more stronger and a bit more
balanced, but because he already knew

what to do, it really gave him the
confidence to, to do those movements and

doing more and more of that movement.

made him stronger and more confident.

Yeah, he became a different horse.

Rupert Isaacson: So did you find
that the in his physical strength

and Suppleness and dexterity.

It's really interesting that
you say it had a a mental and

emotional knock on effect.

Because of course, a lot of
people have encountered, say,

sport dressage sort of feel.

Okay, that's not dressage,
that's stressage.

You know, it's interesting to hear
about the dressage being done.

Really is the therapeutic
work for a horse.

Would you compare that say to martial
arts, like you could use a martial arts

move to fight, or you could also use it
to heal an injury you got in a fight,

depending on how the, how the martial
arts teacher was looking at that.

Is it something similar to that?

Carola Beekmann: Yes, absolutely.

And, and the other way
I compare it to is yoga.

You, you make them flexible and
strong in a way that you say, Oh, do

you really need that in daily life?

Because you have that extra
strength and extra flexibility.

Daily life gets much more
easy to, to get through.

So yeah, it's both the martial arts
concept and the yoga concept for me.


Rupert Isaacson: That's, that's
interesting because obviously in a lot of

the therapeutic riding well to date, at
least traditionally, that sort of horse

training does not seem to have been a.

A part of of the approaches.

In fact you know, one of the things
that struck me quite often when I was

looking at it in the early days was that
horses were often clearly in pain or,

you know, stiff and old and arthritic and
had been donated to therapeutic riding

places because they were quiet, um, but
seems to be hurting in their bodies.

And I think, I think a lot
of people have seen this.

Do you feel.

Is, is it something unusual your
approach to this equine wellbeing?

We're going to go into your,
your, your equine assisted

work in a, in a, in a moment.

Or do you think this is
something that's great?

Is it something that's more there in the
Netherlands or would you still say within

the, within that equine assisted world,
within the Netherlands, your approach

through this kind of old masters yoga
for the horse is something a bit unusual?



What, where do you feel it's at

Carola Beekmann: now?

Yeah, there's definitely more and more
attention for horse welfare in the, in

the, in the assisted quite assisted world.

In the Netherlands, there are
studies being done, there are

Rules and regulations, of course,
because we are the Netherlands.

But the, this way of training yeah,
I'm, I'm definitely pioneering in that

and I'm trying to bring it over to the.

The, the traditional writing
for people with special needs.

And there's definitely interest, but
we, we have to see how we can build

it in because of the time limits, as
you well aware of these horses need to

work and there's not always, or always
not timed for extra time for training.

So we, we, we are
building a system as you.

taught me through Athena, like, okay,
how can we serve the clients and train

the horses sort of at the same time.

So, I'm, I'm getting my feelers out
here and there's interested and we are

we're going to start off with the, the
horse boy one with those instructors.

And from that we will deepen and
widen their knowledge hopefully

in the, in the near future.

Rupert Isaacson: So, so you feel
that one can serve the client.

And the horse at the same time
without there having to be a

time conflict in the training.

Can the, can the training itself
be the therapeutic session

that you do with the client?

Carola Beekmann: Yes, absolutely.

Like the the way we do
the, the back riding.

The horse moves at least in a healthy way.

And if you make a lot of transitions
and turns during all the play.

You're also training the horse
while he is carrying a kid and

you on top, same for long lines.

If you if you do it in, in in a way
that you can serve your clients,

you can also serve your horse.

Because again, you, through the
ways that you taught us all The

horse moves in a healthy way.

And when you, can you
talk, talk to us how you,

Rupert Isaacson: how do you use the the
lunging, the lo, the in-hand work and the

long reigning when you're serving clients?

Can you for, for, I think
for a lot of listeners, this

might be something quite new.

Can you talk us through?

Like a session where you would
be using those techniques as

part of the client session.

So I think in a lot of people's minds,
it's still leading horses around

in circles with somebody on top.

How are you, how are you using things
like lunging, long reining and, and in

hand work when you're serving clients?

I think that would be really
useful for us to know.

Carola Beekmann: Yeah.


for example, for the, for the long lining
you know, Ideally you go out on trails.

I don't have many here.

I can go around the village, but I
do a lot of my work in the arena.

So yeah, I lose, I use all sorts of
play equipments and also the, the

the letters in the arena and I add
numbers there and then we can just.

Yeah, we do games like tag or hide
and seek and all kinds of variations

in which the horse needs to go to
the left or go to the right, do

a little trot, do a little walk.

I even have one that can do a few
countersteps in the long lines.

So you get the kid on top getting
a lot of nice movement imbalance.

Rhythmic and the horse through all
the changes of direction and all the

transitions from walk to canter to hold
to pot gets his training in the meanwhile.


And there's a big difference between
that and, and leading the, yeah.

So when you're leading the horse, it goes
a bit forward, too much forward down.

And the child on top or the adult on
top will lean forward with that with,

and then they, they have to engage
their psoas muscles, which gives them

a stress reaction because those, that
muscle and that stress reaction is.

Directly connected.

So, you want the horse to be in
a, in a nice horizontal, even

a bit heel up position to give
the, the person on top the right.

Balance and rhythm that

Rupert Isaacson: you talk about, can
you, you said the, so if, if they end

up, if they talk forward and they end
up engaging the psoas muscle some people

might think, Oh, well, that's good.

They're engaging a muscle, but
you said, no, actually that

creates a stress reaction.

Why, why is there a connection between
this thing up the psoas muscle?

If the horse is on the shoulders
like that and stress what, what's

going on there physiologically.

Carola Beekmann: Yeah.

So when, when the horse is on the
shoulder, so, well we, the, also the,

the geeky term is walking downhill.

The rider on top or the
person on top starts to lean

forward to find their balance.

And to, to be able to do that, you have to
engage your psoas muscle, but that psoas

muscle is a very important muscle that is
connected to your fight flight response.

So when you are in danger, you
need to engage that muscle to

either flee or start fighting.

Or freeze is another response and
a very extreme response is faint.

So you, and that creates cortisol,
a stress hormone, and that is

what our population of clients.

really struggle off.

They have way too much cortisol, uh,
flow flowing through their bodies.

So we want the other hormone,
which is called oxytocin.

And that is the happiness hormone or
the communication hormone which helps

us to relax and wash out the cortisol.

So, you need a horse that is at least
horizontal and preferably hill up moving

in a hill up or uphill, sorry kind of way.

So that the,

Rupert Isaacson: The person
on top can relax the saddle.

I see.




So, that's interesting because
I guess in, in, in a lot of the

traditional therapeutic environments,
it's, it's been the opposite.

It's been about leading horses rather
than say, putting a horse in the

long range to affect that balance.

And you're putting your clients on top
of the horse while they're in the long

range so that they can achieve that.

oXytocin, uh, and response and the release
of the psoas muscle, is that correct?

So, that's, that's interesting work.

Do you also, can you get, can
you get your clients to a point

where they can also be the one?

Not just sitting on the horse in the long
range, but maybe doing the long reigning

or doing the lunging or doing the in
hand work, can you, can you, can you

make them part of the team in that way?

Carola Beekmann: Yes.

So I have a couple of girls who are
in their late teens, early twenties,

and they really are getting interested
in, in in the horse training part.

So with them yeah, I teach them how to.

How to launch and how to do a shoulder
Indian hand and how to do a horn.

She's Indian vet in hand.

And I tell them what those
movements do for the horse.

And that really also builds up
their own confidence because

they are now training a horse.

How cool is that?

So, and in the meantime, they're
moving around a lot outside in nature.

Helping themselves getting a lot
of happy hormones, the oxytocin

and gaining confidence and
becoming a part of a community

here that takes care of our horses.

So I always boost them up like, okay,
thank you for training my horse.

And now they can do a better job
at helping the small children.


Rupert Isaacson: yeah.


So your, your old can end up
serving your younger clients

and the horse at the same time.

Carola Beekmann: That's
what I hope to achieve.

So now it's still separate.

They train the horses and the younger
teens come at a separate time, but yeah,

in the future I could see that happening.


That those two moments will
start to merge together.

Rupert Isaacson: That's that's
obviously very evolved work to

bring this old Baroque way of
training maintaining the horse into

the therapeutic sphere like this.

What got you to make the shift from,
okay, I'm a dressage person with

my own background in some trauma.

I've got this horse that's had
trauma and I've healed this trauma.

I now.

Decided to not go off and become
a school principal, but I've been

working with special needs kids.

One would think, Oh, no brainer, you
know, to bring all those things together.

Yet clearly that happened at
a certain point in your life.

At what point, when did, when,
what you make the decision?

Okay, I'm going to pull all this together.

Carola Beekmann: It must have been 2013
or 2014 when within a couple of days one

neighbor came to me and said, I read this
book, I, I'm got it from the library.

You would love it.

And it was The Horseboy, the
Dutch version, of course.

And then a few days later, another
neighbor came to me and said, I saw a

documentary, it will blow your mind.

And again, it was The Horseboy.

And I was like, okay, this
is two times in one week.

There's something there.

And so I read the book and couldn't get
my hands on, on the documentary, but okay.

I saw a little clip on YouTube and and
because I was already in education,

really working on the special needs side
of the spectrum, um, and seeing more

and more kids just not fitting in the.

Normal schools, um, and
my big passion for horses.

And then, well, I read about this guy.

His name is Rupert Isaacson and
he is eating children on a horse.

And I was like, okay.

And then my dressage mentor at the
time came to Texas where Rupert was

at the moment and did a clinic there
and they did a webinar together,

like reaching out to the community.


If you love training horses.

You love special needs
kids, come and join us.

And then I I sent an email
and I heard nothing back.

And I sent another email
and I heard nothing back.

And then I went to the Facebook
page and sent a message there.

And then I got an answer like,
we've been emailing you but

you didn't get back to us.

Like, okay, so.

This really took some
tenacity to get together.

I didn't want to give up and
obviously you didn't either.

So, and then we met basically
at a horse training event in

Amsterdam and you did a demo there
for horseboy one and my colleagues.

I was already an
instructor in that program.

And my colleagues said, this is.

This is your niche.

You, you need to talk to this
guy because this is totally you.

And I was not as brave
back then, but I did it.

They pushed me towards you and we
had a chat and yeah, then everything

started to evolve from there.

I remember the, one of the first
things you asked me, like, can you

arrange my book tour next year?

Because your second book
came out in the Netherlands.

So, and I said, how are you?

Having no idea what that meant,
but I was ready to jump in.

So yeah, then I went to
Texas, I think early 2015.

And yeah, I did all the
training upside down.

So I started with horseboy
five, which is the camps.

And you told me later on, that was a
big test because I arrived and you said,

okay, dump your big suitcase in a corner.

Pick your small suitcase.

We're going on a camp in about two hours.

And you told me later on, like, okay,
that is a test because if people start

to push back and say, no, I need to do
worse by one and then two and then, and

then you would have sent me back to the
airport, but yeah, I rolled with it.

So, I got to stay, which
I'm very grateful for.

Us too.

Rupert Isaacson: So
that's how it all started.


The, the, the, the, the, the question
though, in my mind is it's a brave step,

you know, to say, okay, I'm going to
switch careers and I'm going to switch

careers on a act of faith, um, to do
something that's quite difficult to

do in a freelance way, self employed.

After you've been, you know, employed
through the school system, you've

had a paycheck, you've had a, you
know, and, and suddenly no, that's a

completely, completely different way
to, to begin to make one's livelihood.

Because you know, one of the things
one often sees is that, you know, that,

that it's a temperament thing that some
people are very, very well suited to a

sort of entrepreneurial or, or sort of.

Freelancing pioneering sort of
way of making a living and other

people absolutely are not and need
that security and but there's,

you know, both are equally valid.

What made you take that
leap of faith that you felt?

Yeah, yeah, I can make this work after
you've been in the school system.

You'd had a paycheck.

You'd had that safety net.

What made you abandon that safety net?

Carola Beekmann: Well, I did it gradually.

I, I started to cut back my school
days and, and on the other side,

build up my, my own business.

So I did it in a safe way.

And, and I don't know how it is
in all the other countries, but in

the Netherlands, we have a constant

How do you say that?

Lack of teachers.

So I would, I could always
fall back, be a teacher again.

So for me, that risk didn't feel as big
as for some others, it could be because,

you know, I would always have a job.

They would, they are always in
need of teachers and especially

well, with my experience and
with a special needs component.

If I say today I would like
to work in a school again, I

think I will have 10 job offers.

So, for me, it felt safe enough.

And on the other side, my
husband has paycheck every month.

So, yeah, we, we felt like
we could, we could do this.

And yeah, there are months,
years that I don't get to buy

any new clothes for myself.

But luckily I'm not a, I'm not
a very needy person in that way.

So I, so I don't get to spend a lot
of money on me, but yeah, that's fine.

I love to be in service.

And not very high
maintenance myself, luckily.

So yeah.

Rupert Isaacson: So you, you, you dive
in you start your therapeutic program.

Tell us about the, how you got
that off the ground because a lot

of people will be listening who
are considering making that leap.

What were the first, tell us the
stories of those, those first

years, who were the clients that
Jump out at you in your memory.

What, what was the type of client you
were mainly finding yourself meeting?

And what were the challenges both in
terms of the organization of it and in

terms of your horses and that sort of
thing that what the unexpected stuff.

So, you know, who did you find in front of
you as a client, how did you get it going?

And yeah, what were the challenges?

Carola Beekmann: How did you meet them?


So, in the early days.

Most of my clients were either very
young and non verbal kids with autism.

aNd for me, the biggest challenge,
the very biggest challenge was to

get over myself and start asking
for help because this you can't

do by yourself, it's not possible.

So, it took me a long time to, to, Get my
act together and start asking for help.

And the funny thing is I posted
something on Facebook, like, okay,

I'm going to do this who would like
to, to volunteer here and there.

And I got like within an hour, six
horsey people I knew from back way

when, or from now that says, yes,
I would like to help with that.

So, that was a big challenge
for me because I was so used

to doing everything by myself.

so That was a big, uh, thing for me.

So yeah, the, the challenges of these
first couple of kids yeah, becoming

verbal which is it's still miraculous
every time you see it happen.

Yeah, luckily we never get used to that.

It never becomes normal
because it is special.

wHere was the

Rupert Isaacson: first
time you met the horse?

Talk to us about that, that moment
and what, what, what, what was

happening with that child, that story?

Carola Beekmann: He was
a boy the very first one.

His parents called him a runner.

They were actually afraid to,
to come because he would just

run away everywhere in any way.

He was obsessed with traffic signs.

So if there was a traffic sign somewhere
around, he just runs towards it.

So, and he had such a.

A tunnel vision for that that the
first session we did in, in the

indoor arena with with people.

So there was nothing to crawl through
also to, to keep the parents assured

that that kid could not escape.

And but the, the funny thing was in
that session, I had my horse in there.

jUst standing there with some
hay and he just did not see her.

And well, you know, my mayor,
she's white and she's got spots and

like, the Pippi Longstocking horse.

So you really can't miss her.

But he didn't see her.

That was for me, mind blowing.

And then the second time I put the
traffic sign on her halter, like the

triangle sign says beware of horses.

And then he saw her.

And then he started to,
to interact with with her.

That was, um, a moment I will
never forget, like, okay, how

can you not see a complete horse?

But he, yeah.

So, and then He was not
okay with riding with me.

So I put him in the long lines on,
in the saddle together with his dad.

And we just rode through the forest.

We had traffic signs with us.

For example, the sign for the
blue sign for going left or right.

And we presented to them, to him.

And so he could make choices
like, would you like to go left

or right here or straight ahead?

And first he started pointing and later
on he would, would say the words like

left, right, or he would, I would ask him
questions like, would you like to walk?

Would you like to trot?

And then he would say trot,
and then we trotted a bit.

So through those choices we gave him
with the traffic signs we, we gave, he

started to, to use his first words and
also Another very important traffic

sign for him was the stop sign because,
well, we needed to make it safe if

you would go, uh, on a walkabout
around his house, his parents needed

him to stop, you know, at the curb
before just running in front of a car.

So we used a traffic sign to
specifically teach him how to stop.

So we would just hold up the sign and
yell like, and because of that sign, he

would he would go with it without a sign.

You could stop for, well, as long as you
want, but because of that sign, he he

he was into it and we got to teach it.

And, um, Later on, his parents
could make a sequence of

traffic signs around their home.

beCause what happened is because
he was so into the traffic

signs, he would just go, go, go.

And then he was tired.

And then they had to carry
him all the way home.

So they could make routes
in their neighborhood that

wouldn't be too long for him.

And he would end up at home.

So they make like treasure hunts
for, for signs, but they knew

exactly which route it was.

So, yeah.

And then he involved to makes off cars.

So, and in the place I was working, it
was a riding school and a camping site.

So we had a lot of cars also on site.

So, we would start talking about all
these makes and models of cars and

reading the the plate numbers of the car.

So yeah, that's how we
got him to, to speak.

And also he was very into
Mickey Mouse clubhouse.


He sang those songs endlessly and
yeah, that's helped him become verbal.

Rupert Isaacson: So you really
tailored it to his interests.

That's what's interesting too,
is you said, you know, when he

didn't, he didn't, he only wanted
to get up there with his dad.

That's obviously quite an unusual
approach for a lot of therapeutic

places because, you know, they wouldn't,
They wouldn't put a parent up you

know, to make it safe for a child.

And then you, you use the long reins
to sort of basically create an equine

environment for the father and the son.



Carola Beekmann: wonderful.


So first we, we just, yeah, first we just
put up the dads and we just walk around

the play area at the campsite and the
dad would be on top and the kid would be.

I don't know on the
trampoline or something.

And then we stopped next to
the trampoline and exactly.

So show that, so that show that dad
enjoys it and that horses can be ridden.

You know, if you've never
been around a horse, who knows

you can sit on top of them.

So, and then at one moment we stopped
like straight next to the trampoline and

the dad invited him to give him a hug.

And there he was, he
was sitting on top too.

And it was first for a couple of seconds.

He started to wiggle a bit.

So, okay, put him back on the trampoline.

And then the next time he would just
sit and we could just, and we went

off to into the forest and yeah.

You could actually see his all
expression in his face change

as soon as he was on the horse.

It was actually a, a former school
colleague of mine that came to, to

volunteer and watch it one time.

She was a kindergarten teacher
since forever and she said.

This kid just totally changed when
he sat on a horse like, okay, cool,

because you know, I walked behind,
so I see the back of the deck.

That's cool information.

So yeah, it's it's one of
those things that yeah.

And another story is another young
kid who started talking with me

and mom told his speech therapist
and she didn't believe it because.

At speech therapy, he did not talk.

So I said to mom, bring the speech
therapist with you next Saturday.


Well, the brave lady did and the cool
outcome was that from that moment on,

she didn't do her speech therapy in her
office, but in the playground next door.

So yeah, she, she,

Rupert Isaacson: she actually
moved outside with the kid

after watching you work.

Carola Beekmann: Exactly.

So she, she.

Changed her whole approach with him
and hopefully other kids after him.

That's usual, that's unusual.

So yeah.

So yeah, love that.

And, and it was, it was cool that
she, he came out to, in her own time.

Without anybody paying her to
come and see what we were doing.

So yeah, that was that was
another cool experience.

And the other, one of the early
girls that really sticks in my

mind is was an eight year old one.

And They couldn't take perspective,
so she had high levels of anxiety

for example, when her mom left the
room, she, when her mom was out of

sight, she thought mom was dead.

So usually around two and a half,
three years, kids start to understand

that if they can't see something,
it's still there like peekaboo

games like that hide and seek.

bUt this girl never got
through that milestone.

So, during the intake and all the
questions we asked beforehand, we kind

of figured that out together with mom.

So we started to do all the games
and all our activities around

perspective taken, and it was so cool.

It was actually filmed because
a colleague of mine was doing

her thesis on horseboy method.

So she filmed every session and
during session three, halfway the

girl was making a drawing and she
turned it around and showed her dad.

He said, okay, dad, look, that's you.

And that is me.

And that's mom.

And that's my little
brother and my colleague.

And I, I remember so clearly I,
she was Filming over my shoulder.

I looked at her, she
looked at me like, wow.

She got it now.

She, she now understands that, um, if
you want to show something to somebody,

you need to take, turn it around.

But of course it's much bigger than that.

Because mom told us that she could leave
the room now and she could take the walkie

talkie up to the attic and do some laundry
while the kid was downstairs playing.

And that was impossible.

They went to the cinema.

The girl just walked away from her,
went to the big poster and start

talking to another girl about the movie.

She, yeah, it changed their whole world.

Just that working on that one milestone
yeah, was huge for that family.

So, being a part of those changes
for families, changes for the better,

it's what makes it all worthwhile.

You know, scooping poo in
the mud and all of that.

We know all about that.

I do it happily.

Swimming in poo.


Rupert Isaacson: For those moments.

In Germany at the moment.


What, what, there's a couple
of things that, that stand out.

So you, you, you casually mentioned that
first day, Oh, we just, you know, long

lined the horse up to the trampoline.

And of course the kid must've been
bouncing pretty hard on the trampoline.

Mm hmm.

And you, you casually got there
with your horse and that means you

must have done quite a lot of bomb
proofing training with your horse.

That, that's, that you must
have done a lot of this.

Carola Beekmann: Yes.

So everything we think could happen
during what we call play dates we train.

And there was one time a volunteer
surprised me and it bit me in the butt.

As she pulled out a soap bubble thingy.

And starting to blow soap bubbles,
which my horse had never seen before.

Luckily it was my daughter on the horse
and not a client, but my horse spooked.

So, that was another lesson.

lIke, okay.

If you have volunteers, make sure that
they ask you before they do because

you know, you need to have checked
that your horse is okay with it.

So, yeah, they need to be brave.

And my mare is actually not the bravest
but she is trained to be okay with

a lot but, yeah for, in that case,
I like the alpha horses the best for

this work because they are brave and
used to problem solving and they're

usually okay with, with new things.

So you show them and
they're like, what's this?

Oh, okay.

So yeah, that's the kind of
horse I prefer to work with.

I have one here now, one out of four.

hE's a superstar, but you know, with the
others we work too, but you know, I always

have to, um, be very aware that they you
know, no horses, 100 percent bone proof.

They don't exist, but you can get
them to a very high level, but,

um, it takes constant training.

So I put.

Weird objects in and around my arena
or, or paddock like, tarpaulin

that's just going everywhere.

What, yeah, whatever I can figure.

And I do like my leaf blowing
of the arena, right where they

standing next to it in the paddock.

So they're all used to
big noises and stuff.

So Yeah, it takes

Rupert Isaacson: sorry.

And you keep that sort
of going all the time.

Do you have that sort of a constant?

So they're always exposed to
this sort of thing, the horses.

Carola Beekmann: Yes.

You know, I'm what, what I usually do is
just, I, we do whatever we need to do.

And we're not like, Oh, we can't do this
because the horses are there without

the clients, of course, you know, when
the clients are not here, we just do

the leaf blowing and mowing the lawn
and driving around with a tractor

and do whatever needs to be done.


You know, they're safe in there.

And of course we keep our eye on them.

And when they spook, we give them
some time, but yeah, it's we, we

treat them like, okay, this is normal.

We, we are used to this.

So, and every now and again, I introduce
something new just to keep them flexible

in their minds like, Oh, what's that?

And, and you can tell, you know,
one horse just looks at it and go

sniffle and he's okay with it and the
other one runs away as far as he can.

And then a few days later, he
goes to meet that new thing.

So, yeah, but do you find that with bond

Rupert Isaacson: proofing, you have
to keep it going as a constant.

I mean, that, that's definitely something
we've found is that when it comes to

keeping our horses bond proof, we, we
can't assume because they met a red

umbrella and were okay with it three
months ago that they don't have amnesia

about that three months afterwards.

Carola Beekmann: Yeah, very true.

And, and the, the one upside of me not
having my pasture on my own terrain, but

I have to walk down the street through
the village is that they see traffic

twice a day and, you know, it's tractors
big trucks cyclists umbrellas, or when

a new girl is born, there are pink flags
at the end in the street or when there's

carnival, you know, the garbage cans.

So they see that every day and
we never know what we see, you

know, some things are always
there and drive by as a surprise.

So, that's kind of like for
the big stuff, a constant.

Yeah, right.

I prefer to call it bravery
training, by the way.

Rupert Isaacson: Right.



I, I, I think it's a great word.

It's something which I think isn't
talked about enough with bond proofing,

bravery training, uh, desensitization.

People have these different names
for it is that often the, there's

an assumption, do it once that's it.

And of course, I found, and I guess
you must have found over the years too,

is that, no, actually, one needs to
kind of do refreshes fairly regularly.

Or the horses can decide, no, actually,
I'm scared of that thing I wasn't

scared of, you know, 10 minutes ago.

Yeah, very true.

But, you know, that kind of thoroughness
of training, I think, is something

unusual within the equine assisted world.

I think that quite often I've seen people
really working within sort of bubbles.

And then of course, if something
unforeseen happens, which inevitably

it's going to at some point, and
particularly if one's working, you know,

an autistic population or somewhere,
the, the client themselves is going

to do something pretty unpredictable.

That then the horse may or
may not be ready for that.

And it's, it's, it's, it's, it's
a wonderful thing that you've,

you're covering those bases,
you know, from the get go.

There was something else which jumped
out to me about that first story.

So you said, you know, on that
first day that he was in there,

you had the horse available.

There's the horse eating
hay there in the arena.

Okay, there's wool.

So the kid can't run away from
the arena, but he's running.

When he wasn't going to interact
with the horse that first

day, what was your strategy?

What did you do to get interaction
with him, say, okay, well, if the horse

isn't going to work, what, what, what
other tricks have I got up my sleeve?

What did you do to establish relationship?

Carola Beekmann: Yes.

Well, it started with the preparation.

We didn't have an empty arena.

So with the jumping poles and
cones and traffic signs we

made streets and junctions.

So when he came in and he saw that
play area, he was instantly in play.

So all we had to do is shadow
him and, and verbalize what he

was doing and what he was seeing.

So you set up the street

Rupert Isaacson: in the
arena before he went in?


Carola Beekmann: exactly.

So we, we tailor make the environment.

as part of the, the preparation
before the kids come.

So when they come, they come in
this place where they love to be.

And it can be anything and everything.

It depends on their interest.

Rupert Isaacson: So do you find out
from the family before they come

out what the passionate interests or
obsessive interests of the child are?


Carola Beekmann: So yeah, we, we
do an intake with the parents.

So we have a very extensive chat with
them where we make notes where we

want to know anything and everything.

Like what does he like?

What does he what is he afraid of?

Which sensory triggers are nice for him?

Which one are not.

And the main thing is of course,
the two things is what are his

interests and what are the goals?

Because we always use like.

The interest as a sort of
wrapping paper around the goals.

So the kids never know that
they were working on goals.

They just lay their favorite thing.

And then in the meantime we, as adults
work on the goals specific to that child.

So yeah, the kids come to play and there
are horses and you can sit or lie on

top of horses and you can write them.

But not necessarily, so a lot of
it is also playing outside, having

a, a safe and natural environment
where the kids can explore and

do whatever they like to do best.


Rupert Isaacson: they're not
going to interact with the horse.

If they don't want to get on
the horse, you have plenty of

other stuff for them to do.

Carola Beekmann: Yes.


We have swings, trampolines.

We have a pond so they can fish they, you
know, yeah all sorts of play equipment.

So, yeah, they don't have
to interact with the horses.

They are available.

But if they are into other
stuff, then that's what we'll do.

So I have like two brothers.

They, they, they love to play soccer.

So we start with that.

And then I introduce a big yoga ball
and then we play soccer with the horse.

But if they're not into that, yeah.


Rupert Isaacson: Again, that's, that's
really unusual because you're talking

about a level of training through the
in hand work, the long reining, the

lunging, as you've said, that the,
the bond proofing or bravery training,

as you call it That requires a bit
of an obsessive, you know, horseman's

approach and then you're willing
to abandon the horse in a moment if

that's not what the kid wants to do.

And you've got other things
to stimulate the learn.

I think that they're remarkable
because As you and I know, I mean,

most of us who are in the horse
world, I'm, I'm guilty as charged.

With such horse obsessives, it's hard for
us to necessarily move away from the horse

if, if that's not where the person is.

And to be able to put that kind of
level of Detail into the preparation of

the horse yet not be attached to them.

Interacting with the horses is unusual.

Do you find that it's easy to train
your volunteers and your, your

colleagues in this because they
presumably also have to have the

same approach to the horse training?

Or do you find that this is
something that you have to.

teach horse people a skill really to,
to not be so attached to the horse

while at the same time being really
attached to the paradoxically to

the, to the preparation of the horse.

Do you find this as a
hard concept for people?

Carola Beekmann: Well, part of
when they start, I always introduce

them to the eight guidelines of
movement method and horseboy method.

So, you know, as a main
thing, follow the child.

I always say it as soon as the
child comes through the gates,

they they do what they do.

And, and we interact with them and we see
what they're doing and we play with them.

And you know, we, we try to set
this up so they will engage in

activities we have, um, thought
of could help with their goals.

But the kid is in charge and that for
some is a very new concept because

well, especially in the Netherlands,
there are many rules and regulations

and, well, school system generally
around the world is, okay, teacher

tells you what to do and you do it.

Or at home, parents tells
you what to do and you do it.

And so to totally reverse that.

But I find it that because you
totally reverse it, uh, they get it.

So we don't do something in between.

We just say, okay, it's
in charge and we follow.

And I always get them to
observe one or two sessions.

And then I say, okay now you
can be a more active part.

And I always, always.

As well, say when the kid starts to
approach you, of course, you can interact.

You can't stay there and say,
okay, I'm only a blobservant today.

So if they seek you out for
interaction, you interact and I will

be there and guide you through it.

So yeah, to, to totally reverse
that concept of being a leader.

Normally, but now if that leadership
to the child yeah, they usually get it

and also because they, they see the joy
and, and of the children and they see

it working, you know, you see that it
works, so you don't have to question it.

Rupert Isaacson: And the involvement
of parents and family and other other

therapists is again, quite unusual.

I mean, a lot of the places I've,
I've gone to watching work is

everything's kept very separate.

When you're integrating like
that obviously I can totally

see why that would work so well.

Do you ever find that it can be tricky?

Like do you find sometimes that a
parent might get pushy with the kid

saying, Oh, you know, do what Mr.

Corolla is saying, or.

A therapist might, another therapist
might say, no, no, that's wrong.

We should do it my way.

Or do you, do you find on the whole,
actually people integrate really well?

What, what's been your experience,
positive and negative with that?

Carola Beekmann: Well, the positive is
because I, I explained the, the eight

guidelines as well as to the parents,
you know, also of course, the, the,

the neuroscience behind what we do.

But also the volunteers and
the colleagues, and okay,

this is how we work here.

This is how we do it.

And usually they, they,
they just go with it.

And there's one time, uh, I later found
out that this was a dad with narcissism.

I didn't know at the time.

But he, he, despite me explaining the
neuroscience and the eight guidelines.

He just the first couple of times he
went with it, and then he he decided

that I was wrong and he was right.

So yeah, that that family didn't
no longer come because the boy

also, you know, loyalty to dad.

If that says it's not fun,
we're not going anymore.

But he turned out to have a
narcissistic personality disorder.

So that was the one time I was like,
okay, I don't know if I would have

more knowledge about narcissism if
I could have avoided that situation.

But his ex wife said he had XYZ therapists
and he all went two or three times to

that person and just went away again.

So, I wasn't the only one.

So that one still puzzles me
a bit, like, okay, could I

have handled that differently?

But usually.

It's they respond very positively
to the approach we have.

Rupert Isaacson: So
here's another question.

I know that the Netherlands is a little
bit like the, like Germany where I am,

where in some ways it's really good that
you'll get, there's, there's, there's

understanding from within government of,
of the value of equine assisted work.

But at the same time unless one goes
through, you know, very, very set.

Pathways, which then can end up being
quite constraining to find the funding.

How do you find the funding?

Because you're very much pioneering, you
know, This much more child led approach.

How, how do you find the funding to make
that happen within the Netherlands system?

I think a lot of people would
be quite, yeah, to know.

Carola Beekmann: So in the Netherlands
every municipal is responsible

for the well being for everybody
who lives in their community.

So the funding is very decentralized.

So it used to be through
the, the national government.

Now it's with the municipalities and
well, they went through a learning

curve and now decided that it's for them
easier to only work with big contractors.

So we speak mental health
healthcare organizations.

So, for people like me who are independent
what we now have to do, so like before

I could be like a main contractor
for my municipal that changed now.

So now I have to find a big
organization to be a subcontractor with.


Rupert Isaacson: you have to
partner up and subcontract.


Carola Beekmann: Yes, exactly.

And then every municipal
has like a welfare team.

So when there's a kid who has
challenges the family can go to the,

to the welfare team and they get a
counselor and with the family and the

counselor, they see which which kind
of care, uh, guidance would be helpful.

So the other thing is I need to get myself
known with those welfare counselors.

So they know that I exist.

Because I'm a subcontractor.

So I'm not like on the big list.

So yeah, that takes some time
for people to get to know you.

And then when you have some successful
clients who with very happy parents,

happy clients and goals met then
your name starts to get around.

So it, it, it takes time
to, to make yourself known.

And the paperwork takes time and, and
yeah, you really need to, to dig into it.

Some choose to not work with the funding
and say, I only take private clients so

that, that the parents funded themselves.

I do have some, but for me, I find it
very important to keep collaborating

with my local Municipals, because
otherwise, the kids of the people who

can't afford it, which are usually the
kids who need it most I don't get to

serve if I only do the private funding.

So, For me I'm really really
invested a lot and still investing

a lot because I just moved to this
place one and a half year ago.

It's, uh, sort of besides my earlier area.

So I need to invest in
getting to know all the.

local welfare counselors
here to get my name out.

So, yeah, it it takes a lot of
tenacity, but for me, it's worth it

and important to, to especially need,
reach those kids that need it the most.


Rupert Isaacson: what you're talking about
here is, is a sort of bureaucratic stuff

you've got to do on top of running of
the barn, the You know, looking after the

horses, the training of the horses, the
obviously the serving the clients that,

you know, and you've, you've bootstrapped
this up independently over a decade or so.

What about burnout?

I mean, this has been a lot of, a
lot of work, a lot of responsibility.

Have you experienced that?

And if so, what have you done about it?

Because I think this is something
that faces a lot of people

that are getting into it.



And what would your advice be?

Carola Beekmann: Yes.

So, yes, that happened.

Christmas 2020, we drove home from
my mum's and I just started to cry.

And I had no idea why and I couldn't stop.

sO after sometime I met with a
psychiatrist and I had the very nasty

combo of depression with burnout and which
is tricky because for depression, they

say, okay, go out, move, be in nature.

But with burnout, if you do one step
too many, you take three steps back.

So to balance that out was
a very tricky and long.

Way to come back from and well,
at first I definitely couldn't

do without the medication.

So, I started with that and they
knocked me off my feet every time I

had to go up my dosage, I, it took me
a month to, to get regulated again.

So that in itself was.

A very yeah, hectic time and yeah, I
slept and I slept and I slept and I was

up for about a couple of hours a day.

I drove to my horses usually
crying to, went there, took

care of them and drove back.

I could hear one playlist.

Music I couldn't, um, bear anything else.

So, and you know, I, I ate some and I
took care of my daughter and that was it.

And the rest I slept.

And so that was a dark time.

How long did that, how long

Rupert Isaacson: did that, that, that
really extreme crisis time last Mm,

Carola Beekmann: I would say
about a half year before.

Rupert Isaacson: Yeah.

In that time, you presumably had to
put your therapeutic work on pause.


Carola Beekmann: Yeah.


I couldn't work.

So, luckily I'm a member of what
we call in Dutch a Broodfonds,

which translates to bread fund.

It's a group of entrepreneurs who put
money aside in a locked savings account.

And when some, uh, anybody
out of that group gets ill,

we donate money to each other.

That's interesting.

Is that something,

Rupert Isaacson: is that a
tradition within the Netherlands?

Carola Beekmann: It's, it's new
ish but it's, it's it's way cheaper

and better than your disability
insurance, because especially in

the horse business, I, I try to.

insure myself and it would
have cost me 800 euros a month.

So because I work with horses,
that's a high risk business.

So, so through this broad phones
you know, we, we help each other

and we also have network meetings.

So we, we know each other.

So that makes it more like a, a
tribe thing or a community thing.

Like, okay, we take care of each other.

It's not this big insurance
company who gets to make a

lot of money over our backs.


Rupert Isaacson: is there
any sort of government or

oversight over the Braapfond?

I mean, are they, or is it just like,
what's to stop somebody from running

off with the money or like, how's that

Carola Beekmann: organized?




All the, you know, everybody has their
own savings account, but they're locked.

So I can't get money out of it.

So I can put money into it every month.

bUt only the secretary of the
treasurer of our Broodfond can get

money of, get, gets yeah, gives
notice to, to the big organization.

So like, okay, this person needs a
donation and it's all, all in you know,

you, when you make a lot of money, you
donate more than when you make a little

bit money, you donate a bit less and
then or put less in your savings account.

So it's all like balanced out, like, and

Rupert Isaacson: was this a
fund that already existed or was

this something you put together

Carola Beekmann: with, with the group?

No, no, no.

It's, it's an existing
thing in the Netherlands.


Rupert Isaacson: who's to pay into?

Carola Beekmann: Yeah.

So you, you pay like a monthly fee or no.

You pay yourself in your
closed bank account.

You pay yourself, but the, the treasurer
can get money out of it to help.


Rupert Isaacson: colleagues
got it and that, and so there's

sort of legal oversight of

Carola Beekmann: this.


It's all with, with the taxes and
everything that's all figured out.

So it's all, how long has

Rupert Isaacson: this been
a thing in the Netherlands?

Carola Beekmann: I don't know.

I should have, I should look that
up, but yeah, there are quite a

Rupert Isaacson: girl or is it
like 20 years or what do you think?

Carola Beekmann: I heard about it.

Just before I joined because I saw this
thingy that there was a meeting for new

members to to to tell us You know, what is
this about and I was like, okay, I don't

have an insurance yet Maybe this is a good

Rupert Isaacson: idea used to you
when you first heard about it.



So maybe it's something
relatively recent within

Carola Beekmann: Yeah, I don't
know, maybe five to ten years or

so I'd have to look it up, but

Rupert Isaacson: that's really,
that's really interesting.

I'd be actually, I just sort of
want to do a bit of a heads up then

to the, the listeners, listeners.

Do you have, if you're listening
from another country, is there

anything similar to this?


I have not heard of this before.

I can't, I don't think
this exists within the UK.

I certainly don't think
this exists within the USA.

I haven't heard of it in Germany.

Maybe it's there.

Tell us if it is, because this is,
this is really useful information,

I think, for people who are doing
this sort of work that we're doing.

Carola Beekmann: Absolutely.


So the, the broad phones, they,
they kept me alive while I was sick.

That that's the, the, the conclusion of
this of this talk about the broad phones.

They, because when I was sick, I,
they, all the other members donated

to me every month so I could, uh,
keep eating and feeding my horses.

And if.

If that hadn't be, I had to sell them
all and, uh, probably ended back up

in, in the school somewhere again.

So they, they really saved my butt.


Rupert Isaacson: okay, so then by the
time you ended up, you know, opening

for business again when you felt that
you had gone through some recovery, did

you find that having spent some time
effectively as a client, Um, rather than

as a provider, a service user, rather
than a service provider, if you like

that, did that deepen and inform your
practice, your equine assisted practice?


What wisdom did that bring?

Carola Beekmann: Yeah, it, it,
it makes you more aware of what

families deal with go through.

yoU know, I had the trauma for when I
was young, but you know, I was over that.

I dealt with it.

So it, Kind of goes to
the back of your mind.

But going through this
and also dealing with.

thE doctors and the medicine and
the psyche the psyche psychiatrist

and that is yeah, obviously.

And also the process of getting diagnosed,
it turned out that one of the main

reasons I got so burned out and depressed
is I turned out to have ADHD which was

undiagnosed You know, especially people,
my age, that was a boy's thing, right?

That girls have ADHD is well, not when I
was young, that was not common knowledge.

I don't even know if boys were.

Diagnosed back then, or they
was just busy and irresponsible

and always up to something.

So that really helped me heal
because I now could figure out like

admin work was like horror for me.

I couldn't get anything done.

You know, my mind went everywhere.

I had my to do list and at the end
of the morning I had done nothing

or at least completed nothing.

so That was one of the.

Big frustrations and,
and causes of my burnout.

And there was Murphy's law, there
was all kinds of stuff going on, but

anyway, going through that again with
the diagnosis process and dealing

with the doctors and the medication.

yeAh, it really gave me a
deeper sense of like, okay.

This is what these
families have to deal with.

And they usually don't come to me
first, you know, they have usually tried

anything and everything before they
get tipped off that this also exists

because it's not so well known yet.

sO yeah, it it really has
deepened my understanding.

And also it, it urged me to seek
other forms of healing for myself.

So what so in the beginning I
couldn't work with my horses, you

know, from the medication I got so
dizzy, so I couldn't lunge a horse.

I couldn't sit on a horse, but as soon as
I could I had to change perspective again.

You know, I normally, I ride to train
my horses and now my horses had to help.

So I started to ride for me.

And that was a new experience
for me because I was always so

focused on this horse needs this.

So we're going to do this
particular training today.

And, but luckily because I did
that, I had horses who could

carry me and right for me.

So, that was a big thing that
helped me turn it around.

And the other thing I met was a
thing called TRE, that is tension

or trauma releasing exercises.

A lady I know she already
told me about it, that she did

that, my time wasn't there yet.

But then I saw, okay, I think I want
to try it because I got to a level

like, okay, I can function again.

But there was like this plateau, I
couldn't get any further than that.

And then I started the TRE sessions with
her and that just, um, helped me so much.

What it basically is, you do a couple of
exercises to exhaust your muscle groups,

and then you either stand against the
wall or you lay down and you start to

tremble and with that trembling trauma.

Tramples out of yourselves.

That's like the short of it.


Rupert Isaacson: yeah.

Like when a hunted deer goes, gets
the shakes off to getting exactly,

Carola Beekmann: exactly
like babies and animals.

They do it themselves.


We, as people have learned that
that is weird behavior somewhere.

So we stopped doing it.

But it's, it's a natural thing.

And when your body knows how
to do it again without feeling

awkward It's, it's very healing.

So because trauma gets in all your
cells, it's not just in your brain,

it's, it's so for me, what first
happened is all my old physical

traumas, like my knee and my ankle and
my calf, they all started to dissolve.

You know, they, they were
usually okay, but when you

get really tired, you feel it.

I I'm, I'm sure, you know, it's
like you're, when you're really

tired, like, oh yeah, that injury
over there is now bugging me.

That's gone.

That was the first thing that happened.

And then my, yeah, my mind just opened up.

There was room for new space.

I could read again.

I could study again.

That was all not possible.

I couldn't do anything new before that.

So, yeah, that was a big thing for me.

And then the icing on the cake is after a
five year search, we found this new home.

with on a little plot.

So it's a tiny little farm
where I can finally have my, my

horses and my practice at home.

Yeah, that was the
icing on the cake and my

Rupert Isaacson: finally working
out of another writing stable.

Carola Beekmann: Yes, exactly.

Which was cool for quite a while,
but the, the longstanding wish is

to just have my own place you know,
because, you know, when you're

in a writing stable, there are.

Other people that ride there and you
always have to compromise and, and

do a lot of planning and here it's
just, it's me, you know, I can do

whatever, whenever, uh, and it takes
a lot of work that comes with it.

. But you know, I do it for ourselves.

It's our own place.

So, and I love to be outside and yeah.

Rupert Isaacson: Yeah, that, that,
that's something definitely, which

I've experienced both sides of,
you know, for years and years.

I had my own, we had our own
place in Texas and then Mm-Hmm.

to Germany, you know, young kids.

So suddenly it's like, well, no, let's
not immediately start another farm.


Work out of a riding stable.

And that was it.

It worked.

We learned how to dance that dance
that you're talking about around other

people whose attitudes and horses may
not be quite as attuned to the needs

of the clients as as as one might like.

And now I'm back to having my own place
again and can control the environment.

And there's definitely.

I'm very, very glad I went through that
education process of no longer being

complacent and being able to understand
that when people are working out of

riding stables, which a lot of people
have to how much kudos to give them

that they can get that work done, you
know, dancing around other people.

But yes, it's, it's definitely.

So much nicer if one can have control.

So now you, there you are, you've,
you've, you've come through, you've

built the thing, then you collapsed, then
you built it up again, and here you are

now, here you are, stronger than ever,
with your own, operating out of your

own place, doing this cutting edge work.

I also know that you have recently,
despite being a maverick and

having gone outside of the regular.

You know, therapeutic riding
associations, systems, and so on, as

many of us have and have made it work.

You have now actually begun a
collaboration with the Royal Dutch

Horse Association, which would be the
equivalent in the UK of the British Horse

Society or, or Spot Island or the U.


Equestrian Federation.

You know, the, the, you've suddenly
found yourself, interestingly,

back with the mainstream.

Can you tell us a bit
about this collaboration?

What is it?

What's it doing and how, how'd you get

Carola Beekmann: So what we has just
have established recently, , is a

new collaboration with our Royal
Dutch Horse Association, , which

for the Dutchies is KNHS.

wE now have jumped through enough
hoops to become part of the

mandatory training, , for continuous
professionalization, , for instructors.

So in the Netherlands you become
an instructor, but then you have to

keep up your knowledge and skills.

So, there is a select,
, group no, not a group.

It, well, there are select selected
courses you can do to, to get points to,

to keep your license as an instructor.

And just last week we got the
notification that we are approved for

that program for horseboy method one.

So, which means that now we can bring
horseboy method one into the riding

schools the general riding schools,
of course, but especially the riding

schools for special needs people.

So the therapeutic riding center and what
really for me has been a drive to do that

is what we talked about earlier is that.

Sometimes what we see in those
riding centers, it's, it's the calm

older horses that work there, but
they, they, , have their issues.

And that's why they're quiet.

That can be, but what we also
see is that the horses don't

get better from that work.

They get worse.

So they get worn out at some point.

So to reverse that, or at least help.

To keep those horses in better
shape or get them in better shape.

I'm very passionate about bringing
horseboy methods to those riding schools.

So they can see a new way, another
way, which doesn't take more time.

But it is so much better for the welfare
for the horse, but also because of the

effect we talked about earlier, we'll get.

More benefits for the writers.

So, yeah, it's very exciting.

We're going to start training in
February at a therapeutic writing center.

sO yeah, it's, I hope it's going
to be a success and get the word

out that there is another way.

Which helps to, yeah, to
have the horses happier and

healthier and get better results.

So, yeah, you, you have to be
the maverick and then in the

Netherlands also be willing to
go back into mainstream and see.

If you can on the edges of mainstream,
make the mainstream a bit wider.

So that's the next

Rupert Isaacson: big project
edging the mainstream's comfort

zone a little further out.


Carola Beekmann: Yeah.

Just nudging them out
of their comfort zone.

So yeah, I I'm very excited about that.

Well that's

Rupert Isaacson: a quite an achievement
and quite an achievement to come

back because you know, you, you said
that the burnout, you know, which

happened in 2020 You know, if that was
taking sort of a year or so to, to.

Carola Beekmann: No, closer

Rupert Isaacson: to two years.


So really get back from it.



I can imagine.

I mean, most burnouts, it's
at least a two year period.

And then to, to, to surge back like
this new farm, new place collaboration

with the Royal Dutch Horse Society
with their continuing education.

That's, that's, you know,
hats off to you Carola.

That's really something.


We are coming out of towards wrap up time.

Is there any way people can contact you?

Whether for trainings, whether for
inspiration, whether for advice,

whether for obviously if they
want to bring their children or

young adults to you as clients.

How do people contact you?

Where do they find you?

Carola Beekmann: Okay.

There are several ways.

Of course I have my own website,
Corolla, BigMan nl I'm on Facebook.

Can you spell that for us?


Rupert Isaacson: BigMan.

How do you spell Corolla?

BigMan nl.


Carola Beekmann: Yeah.

C-A-R-O-L-A And then B-E-E-K-M-A-N nl.


So The same for Facebook.

I'm also on LinkedIn and we
also have a Facebook page called

horse boy, the Netherlands.

I'm one of the admins there.

So if you reach out to there
you will get me directly or

people will refer you to me.

anD there is a brand new
website, totally Dutch that's

called movement method dot NL.

We have been working on that with five,
six colleagues for a while now, and it's.

Not completely finished, but it's up.

And so on the contact page, of course
you can also reach me and that's

info at movement method dot NL.

So yeah, that's how people can find me.

And of course, through the NTLS.

co website, I'm on the providers
page and also on the trainers page.

Can I give you a little?

Rupert Isaacson: So, I just want
to, I want to do a little big ups

for the, for the, for the listeners.

In terms of not just the work with
the with, with special needs, which

I know you're extremely good at.

You're also very, very good producer
of horses in your own right.

And Carola has been very
modest in the course of this

interview listeners, but she's.

She, she, she mentioned very briefly some
of the international work she's done.

But one thing I can say is that I
know relatively few people who can

really rehab and muscle horses to the
extent that I have seen Carola do it.

Carola, I've seen you take a number
of horses, which were absolutely

messed up in the back and in the hocks
and in the stifles and turn them.

Around into meta horses, and a lot of
people who know the work that I do with

horses know that, for example, with
my lunging work, I am a absolute flag

flying user of side reins, etc, etc.

And so, of course, there's always this.

controversy between should you
use side reins or should you not?

But I can absolutely say that Corolla
is one of the few people I've seen who,

without the use of the side reins, can
absolutely, absolutely, miraculously

turn a horse around in, in terms of its
muscling and in the, in the lunging.

The reason I'm saying all this is
that if you're, if you're looking for

help, advice, training, don't just go
through the, it's not confined to the

equine assisted work that she does.

I really would wholeheartedly
recommend Corolla because she's

not going to say it herself.

So I'm bigging her up now.

I would really wholeheartedly recommend
you, Corolla, if someone's got a horse

that needs, um, training or rehabbing.

Whether or not.

You're in the Netherlands because
I know that you can do this.

She also hasn't said this
cause she's too modest.

I know that she can do this
long distance through WhatsApp

and online training programs.

So, give us your, give us
your website again, Carola.


Carola Beekmann: Beekman dot com.


Very Carola.

So in, if for English you just call, you
just spell Beekman, then you get it right.


Rupert Isaacson: it's, and it's
all, it's all little letters, right?

Carola Beekman.



Carola Beekmann: Yes.

And there is an English
section on my Dutch website.

So, for all the horse training stuff.


Rupert Isaacson: So do reach
out to her people, because she,

she, she does know her stuff.

And I have watched a number
of horses that were...

Not, I would say the most obvious
contenders turn under Carola's tutelage

into, like I said, meta horses,
including that black and white spotted

mare, which she referred to, which was
probably one of the weakest backed horses

I've ever seen when you first got it.

And the way you turned that horse around
was frankly, you know, astonishing.

So hats off to you.

Thank you.


All right.

Any last words before we, before we sign

Carola Beekmann: off?

No, just thank you for having me.

And yeah, please reach out if you,
uh, want help or advice or coaching.

I'm, I'm very eager and happy
to share all the knowledge.

Rupert Isaacson: Well, thank
you for coming on, on the show.

We're going to head out now and
get horses in from the field in the

rain and take them back to, I'm sure
you're going to do the same thing

cause it's raining like crazy here
in Northern Europe at the moment

and has been for the last six weeks.

I'm sure some of the listeners will
know exactly what we're talking about.

And we look forward to just
keeping tabs on your work and

seeing how you develop further.


Carola Beekmann: Okay.

Thank you so much for having me
and it was a pleasure to chat.


Rupert Isaacson: Okay.

Speak soon.

Speak soon.

thank you for joining us.

We hope you enjoyed today's podcast.

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