One with your horse My name is Eva Roemaat, I am 26 years old and I live in ‘the Achterhoek’, in Lichtenvoorde. Eva is always very enthousiastic while performing and that’s beautiful, she is always focused on the horse and she is always straight-forward and honest. It took me so long to figure things out, and understand things, it was hard for me to learn and open up, my ego was always more important. Eva was not always as free with horses as she is now, she was more preserved and scared. I remember going to the Country Fair as a kid, I always wanted to go staight to the horses. That had to be the biggest horse and the prettiest horse. My friend Kelsey and I used to pretend that those were ‘our’ horses. So you could say I always loved horses. Eva catched the “Horse Virus”, but I stopped riding horses years ago, years ago. I was around 15, 16 and going out and boys were ofcourse way more interesting, and then the horses just stand there… then the interest is over. I think Eva was about 6 or 7 when here interest in horses began, but I am not sure where it came from. I think it was my mom who got me into horses, she once had a horse, but all that stopped when she had kids, and I was the one who got her into horses again. Our first horse was my mothers horse Pacha, he kickstarted everything. Shortly after, Shilas came, he was 5 years old back then. Eva wanting her own horse didn’t come as a suprise for me, ofcourse I had a horse myself, but owning a horse… It costs time, money, space, a stable, and she was young- 10.. 11.. 12, so I first wanted her to just take care of a horse that owned to someone else. eventually she got that, and also, Shilas wasn’t her own horse at first. So she started riding Shilas. But, what she eventually could afford and arrange was a Shetland pony, so with her own money, the money she got from my mother, – like 50 or 100 euro’s, almost nothing- she bought this pony her own little pony. “oh, oh, wow, Flipje, what are you doing?! Wow so good!” I have my own business called Nalanta that started around 2009, not like a real business, but as a dream, I had a friend back then, Meike, she has a haflinger named Claudy, we were 14/15 and we thought; “Oh want our own Showteam because my horse can lift his feet on que!” Well, Meike moved to Germany so that failed- and then my (still) best friend Hannah van Klompenburg joined Nalanta, together we started building Nalanta. And then came Jesse, and Jesse and I really made Nalanta BIG. So Nalanta is not just mine, it’s ours. Eva already quite a lot of shows and she was very active on the internet, she already did a lot of tricktraining. And I did some small performances with someone else, just in the neighbourhood at my riding school for example. but then Eva got asked if we could come and perform together, and it went well and we had fun, she also just stopped working on Nalanta with Hannah and we decided that we would start working together. It all went very fast since then. I met Jesse on “Hyves” through Nienke, and he also did a bit of tricktraining and he stood out because he was a guy. That was rare. And Jesse wanted me to teach him, haha! So he send me a DM to ask if I did that. Our decision to work together started from various things; we were already good friends, we did the same things with our horses and we helped each other a lot. It just really works, Eva is so different then me and our horses are different too, but that just makes it work so well. Liberty-dressage is basically teaching your horse natural movements on a que that can be with a whip, your voice, your bodylanguage, really just what works best for you. The word “Liberty Dressage” already shows, that you try to train your horse in as much freedom as you can. And I don’t mean bitless, without a whip or bareback it isn’t necessarily linked to horsemanship or parelli, it is just another way to work with your horse that can go well with everything. You can teach sitting, laying down, rearing, everything that you like. By far the most important thing with liberty dressage (tricktraining) is having patience, and I say that because it was something I didn’t have, so I know how you could mess this up real bad, and having knowledge. If you decide, without knowledge, to teach your huge Shire to rear, you train something that can also be used against you, that is the ‘danger’ with tricktraining, you give your horse so much space to think together with you, and they are allowed to say no, or not agree with you. That is something you don’t see in riding, but for me in tricktraining it is important that they have a voice of their own, therefore it is very important to watch out and know what you are doing- to know exactly where your boundries are. I first saw liberty dressage in Cavalia, ofcourse in every horse-show you see horses doing tricks, but in Cavalia you could just tell it was not about performing but all about the fun and the horse. They were all smiling, all focussed on their horse, and even if things didn’t go as plan- for example, someone would fall off, then they would just laugh and try again. And especially that last thing, for me was like How can you not get angry for messing it up, why are you not getting grumpy and sad? So yeah, Cavalia really changed me completely. I had never done anything with tricktraining, just a lot of freestyle, so when I got to know Eva, tricktraining opened a whole new world to me that got me thinking; Oh, okay, this is also possible? I had never ever done anything with tricktraining, again, more with Natural Horsemanship and things of that nature. Getting the horses to not be afraid for things, overcoming their fears, really not more then that. And one day, Eva showed up with a huge pedestal, and with her abundance of enthousiasm she got Modus, my old Elite stallion, on the pedestal. He was so in love with it, he stood on it for ages and didn’t want to get off. Actually, they kinda offered it themselves. Eventually Eva came more often to clean the fields together, hang out and chill, take care of the horses and then she fell for Modim. She asked “Can I work with Modim?”, and I said ofcourse, your my friend! And that is how Modim went to Eva’s. And if I look at how he came back, very developed and muscly, very happy with what he learned, just because it is done in a very natural and friendly way. There is never any forcing, and you can tell that he feels very relaxed doing it, Before my business I did a photography education, it was fun but the level I felt was really below what I could already do, so it got me feeling a bit like; I already know it… People would bully me a lot because my horses, I was– I was 18 and and people older then me would laugh at me for it, I didn’t wear enough make-up, I did not have the most expensive clothes, and after I just turned 18 in all honesty, I raised my middle-finger and said BYE, i’m going to follow MY path. So when she said “I’m not going back to school, I wanna quit”, it was drama just getting out of bed in the morning and actually going, and for me it was okay that she would quit school, but she had to study untill 23– but then the solution came; she had to hold on untill her 18th birthday and then go directly to the Chamber of Commerence, and get signed in to start her own business. And she did that right away! I remember my mentor saying “you will not succeed, you will not make it big”, “nobody will want to book you” and it was so weird– I just left the school! And it gave me such a boost, I thought WATCH ME, HorseGirl is going for it!!! So I did the photography school for 6 weeks and then I was done. This is Shilas, the horse it all started with he was the first horse that came into my life, of my own horses. he was 5 then, almost 6 – he is now 17, it all started with him, and I am so happy he is still here and we can still do it together. Ofcourse there was also a period where things didn’t go so smooth between Shilas and Eva, especially in the beginning, it was really a search, A journey, because you know, Eva wanted to ride, and what do you see around you, what do you see in a riding school– everyone rides, you know, a certrain– –all the things everyone does, you want to do, but Shilas had a different opinion about that. Shilas has how own personality and he already knew, we are going to walk a different road. “We are defenitely NOT going to do that, we are going to do other things”. So Shilas thought it was very unfair when Eva would keep putting spurs on, and he would keep throwing her off. That would happen a lot, especially in the beginning Shilas would repeatedly stop her, show his boundries, “I don’t want this”, so Eva had to search for the way that Shilas wanted, what they COULD do together? and in a playful way they found out what they liked doing, and Cavalia helped, that beautiful show, when we visited Cavalia she knew what she wanted, in liberty with her horse, with as little equipment as possible, no pressure, no tack, all in liberty and based on teamwork. We found Shilas through one of my mothers best friends, she was looking for an older, relaxed horse that she could go on hacks with, and then she found Shilas. Shilas was a 5 year young gelding, with a lot of personality, a lot of power, thank God she bought him, eventhough I didn’t have a bond with him then, that changed, so i’m glad she bought him eventhough he was everything she was not searching for. My horses here on the property are haflinger Shilas, Flip the shetland pony, and Que-Habil. I got to know how through a good friend of mine, she had to train 3 stallions, one of them was a bit older– and his owner was looking for a place where he could grow old and rest, to be a horse; and now he is here. He is still owned by someone else, and it is not that I ‘borrow’ him, but he lives here and he is my best buddy, In the beginning Eva was… completely in love with Rede– no, I have to say that differently; Rede was in Love with her. Rede’s mother is called Rita, she is my own personal mare, it was never my intention to sell Rede, I wanted to keep Rede with Rita. Yet, Rede decided differently. Eva came to visit me, and Rede looked at Eva with her two big blue eyes, put her head against Eva’s chest, blew her warm breath in Eva’s nose, and Eva kept saying “don’t do it!”, “don’t do it!” “I don’t even want a mare!”, “I am not even a mare-person, don’t!” And the more Eva said ‘don’t do it’, the harder Rede would breathe in her face. Eva was completely shocked that Rede was completely covered in dirt, mud, all those things. So Eva wanted to help me clean her, and I was fine with that. We are cleaning Rede for about a hour, and then Rede bolted off, to a big mud pool, in the middle of the field, she looked back like; “Eva, do you see me?” fell to the ground in one go, Rolled to the left, to the right, came back to Eva dripping in mud, and Eva was just standing there like; HELP!, and I said ‘Eva, I told you, they are Schwarzwalder Pigs!’ And Rede was standing there, dripping in front of Eva, but it did not stop Eva in any way, to still fall in love with Rede, she asked, “Can I please buy her?”, okay, Rede chose, not me. I was working and I got a phone call from my husband his voice through the phone was shaking, emotional, and I didn’t understand what was wrong why he talked like this He asked me to hurry, he told me where to come there and there, because Eva had a car accident She was on her way to a job interview, because I wanted her to get another job, to earn a bit extra money because everything cost a lot. Complaining, she went, she really did not want that job and ofcourse she did not get it, because she was hit by a car very close to the business where she was doing the interview the driver apparently did not see her, and the jeep just drove straight over her body it is a miracle she made it out with just a scratch, but we were not sure of that when it happened. I arrived at the ambulance she was completely strapped down, because she was not allowed to move yet, and the only thing she said was “go away, I can do this myself!” she said to me. So then I thought okay, mabye it is not that bad she was already mad that she had to do that interview and this happening, with Horse Event coming it was just all drama, because she really wanted to go there and I believe it was about 2 weeks after the accident. I still remember, I layed there in my bed completely wrapped it was dark and the nurses were gone and I remember thinking ‘I have to go to Horse Event friday’, it was monday I got out of bed, limping, because the car drove over one of my knees I went to the bathroom stood on the leg with the painful knee did squats because I immediately wanted to train my leg, I had to go, I wanted to go and I did go, but after Horse Event, I was extremely sick. that was very intense. I started to look at tricktraining in a different way, you just see the horses grow from it. they became very proud of themselves, they are happy with the reward and feeling they get through the enthousiasm especially from Eva and her voice, they grow from the enthousiasm, they are like okay, and now? What else are we going to do? Her positive vibe, the teamwork with the horses and the way she puts things together, is beautiful for people to see. It is beautiful to see how positive she is, how she gives herself during the lessons, I think people who have experienced this know what i’m talking about. When you think your horse can’t do it, you will start believing that it’s all possible. Everyone just has to follow their own path, do their own thing regardless, set your goals and achieve them your way. and Eva has her own way but she does not force it on you she will only support you and teach you. I really enjoy tricktraining, it’s beautiful to add in your work, riding a horse gives you a different connection then when– –you play side by side, I think. doing that will develop a beautiful bond, a friendship. I think, if you have this friendship that has experienced everything- the good and the bad, you get to know each other in such a different way with Shilas in the beginning it was a disaster, we just did NOT get along and as I said, he forced me to look at horses different. and I think in a way he also learned to see humans different because he was kind off, yeah, he had his guard up and was ready to confront you so I think we helped each other a lot to become a new version of ourselves. She was really my mentor, I just experimented, If I did not do it right I would not get a response and Shilas would be a bit offended, offended because I was to intense or not clear enough. But if I did do it right I would get a positive response and Shilas would do what I asked of him. I basically did it all myself, and tried it all myself, and I really think that made me into ME, and not a clone of my example so I developed myself, together with Shilas. Something I really want to share with everyone who is watching is; believe in yourself, how cliché as it sounds, but you hear that everywhere because it is the truth. It doens’t matter if it’s not working, if you don’t understand it all, take your time I have been doing this for about 10 years and I still think “This can be better, different, more beautiful”, but also be content with how you are doing it don’t become a clone, no matter how much you look up to someone stay YOU. don’t become something you think is beautiful, because you are already beautiful enough.