Animals have always been a central part of my life, a source of nourishment and inspiration. One of my earliest memories is the smell of warm pony in an English summer, and a cat was my first bestfriend. Horses were my passion, dogs my playmates, cats my soulmates; any animal that others found problematic was specially attractive to me.
I guess I was born with a knack for understanding animals, and out of this grew a passion for helping animals and humans live together in greater harmony and health. I am curious by nature and have learnt about animal behaviour and natural therapies from a wide range of people and animals, and embrace anything that can be useful to those who come to me for help.
I became interested in aromatherapy for animals in 1996, after reading an article by Caroline Ingraham, with whom I trained in 1997. I experimented with the oils and fell in love! I especially loved that traumatized horses, who came for re-schooling, could now bond with me immediately, and sometimes changed their behaviour overnight with the help of the oils. I was impressed by how effective essential oils could be for physical and behavioural problems and knew I had to learn more, I gained my certificate in animal aromatherapy in 1999. Using essential oils with animals has allowed me to expand my work and help all types of animals: dogs, cats, lamas, chickens, parrots, sheep, monkeys, and even the occasional human.
Another thing I love about the oils is how they teach people to listen to their animals, to sit quietly and ‘be’ with them in a quiet, attentive space. Animal PsychAromatica is the outcome of my work with essential oils, animals and their people, it stresses the role people play in their animals’ well-being and teaches us simple ways to be part of the solution not part of the problem. APA is where the two wings of my work, (essential oils and human-animal relationships) meet, for the greater good of all.
I learnt my horse skills from many people... from the ex-army major who taught me to ride as if the reins were ‘No.9 silk thread’, and face any hurdle, including his awful temper. And Rosa the 'horse lady' who grew up in a circus and gave pony rides on the beach. Rosa showed me how to move horses with my energy and intention and think ‘outside the box’, not that she had any such philosophy or vocabulary, it was just how she was with horses.
My conscious search for self-knowledge began at the age of 18 when I arrived at the ashram of the man now known as Osho, an Indian mystic, and my life since then has been dedicated to meditation and self-awareness; animals, especially horses, have been part of that journey and some of my greatest teachers.
I have also traveled extensively and had the great good fortune of working with and learning from genuine horsemen in all walks of life. This taught me that all good horsemen have one thing in common, from working cowboys, to traditional Kazakhi horsemen, to Indian Maharajahs, to top dressage riders, they all share a sense of tranquil assurance or calm centeredness that transmits to the horse.
From this understanding I realized that it is not the method that is important when working with horses but Who You Are. In 1982, using the awareness developed through my life of self-examination and hands-on horse-work, I started to develop ways to teach people how to be more centered and self-aware when riding and working with horses. This is an on-going adventure.
Life has been my main teacher and although I hold certificates in various subjects they are small indicators on the continuing quest to learn about myself and help animals live happier lives. I list relevant qualifications here.
· Certificate in Aromatherapy for Animals and Touch for Health for Animals. Caroline Ingraham, Epona institute,1999
· Post Graduate Certificate in the 5 elements and Aromatic Energetics, The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy
· 2001 International Certificate in Aromatherapy. Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy
· 2002 Certificate in Systematic Kinesiology. T.A.S.K
· 2007 Eagala level 1
With love and gratitude
There are many people who have been part of my journey and I would like to thank some of them here:
Caroline Ingraham for her pioneering work with essential oils for animals;
All the animals who have given so much to me, but especially Gipsy, The Ginger Cats and Ai-dan Doodle;
All my students and colleagues who have supported and enriched the work;
My best friend and partner Prasado, for endless support;
And Osho, for everything!