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.
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