Institute for Equitherapy and Equine Sport Psychology
Cranendonck, The Netherlands
HippoCampus is situated in the Netherlands, less than two hours away from Brussels and Cologne, one hour from Maastricht and Achen. It is specialized in small scale riding for people with or without mental or physical handicapsand psychotherqapy with horses. HippoCampus also offers expertise on the initiation and development of therapeutic riding and horsemanship in health- and educational organizations.
HippoCampus organizes workshops and clinics for riders to acquire self-experience and improve motor and psycho-motor skills. Dressage training is based on psychomotor techniques, therapeutic riding and on natural horsmanship with classical dressage targets and philosophy.
Hippocampus promotes cooperation with a happy horse who likes his work and who likes to be together with humans. This also implies providing an environment in line with a horse’s natural needs.
We comply with the guidelines of SHP-E(NL) Dutch (Association for Therapeutic Riding), and are also members of the Federation of Riding for the Disabled International. The education fore Equitherapy is given conform to the FATP-standards. For more information: http://equitherpie.org
Head: Dr.Ulrike Thiel
Education in remedial vaulting and riding
Instructor riding for the disabled
§ Xenophon trainer for the classical riding culture
Instructor, Dressage Rider, Judge, Equestrian Sports psychologist, Equitherapist
Date of birth 1953
Ulrike approaches man and horse from different points of view: The classical art of riding, the psychomotor aspect, sports psychology, and the applied behavioural studies. The joyful cooperation between man and horse to her means that the rider, through technique, sense of tact and attitude, is able to persuade the horse to cooperate out of free will. The goal is a horse which thinks along, is fascinated by the cooperation and is challenged. A horse which instead of being controlled delivers his own input to the joint fun of riding. This is the goal in the training of her own horses and the guidance of combinations to create more harmony between rider and horse. To give horses that are without any motivation, pleasure again in cooperation.
Born in Austria, she studied psychology, ethology and cultural anthropology, and was promoted in psychology. She was also trained to become a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. She performed scientific research and did practical clinical work where she learned more about man, his learning possibilities and his psychomotor processes. Besides this, she remained closely connected to sports as a participant and sports teacher. Being ‘horse crazy’ from an early age, she learned through the different forms of sport (dressage, jumping, combined sports, hunting, and trekking) more about horses and started loving them more and more. Considering her scientific background this meant that she tried to study and understand the creature horse as broad as possible. She participated in multiple courses and trainings and studied the methods of the Spanish riding school by observing their morning practice on a regular base. During her training to become a horse instructor (Trainer B FENA, Riding and vaulting, Handicapped riding) she learned from sergeant Albrecht (Head of the Spanish riding school) to give sit lessons and lounge horses professionally. She often rode ‘difficult’ horses and noticed that the horses were not at all being ‘difficult’. The way they have been trained had made them desperate. After a severe accident she had to stop riding for some time. It was during this period that she gained a lot of experience from her own revalidation and she was able to climb into the saddle after a few years.
In The Netherlands she performed in basic and specialised dressage competitions and judged in the basic dressage sport. Since 1995, she runs HippoCampus, Institute for Equitherapy and Equestrian sports psychology, where she combines her professional background as a psychologist with the education and training of horses, riders and other Equitherapists. She is a founding member and chairman of SHP-E(NL), The Dutch Foundation for Helping with Horses and Equitherapy. She publishes texts about developments and experiences regularly at international congresses and in magazines. Besides her therapeutical work, she gives riding lessons, courses and workshops for riders and instructors. She is responsible for the schooling of Equitherapists SHP-E(NL:) (Dutch foundation for therapeutic riding) and for supervision for equestrian professionals. (Recently she organized a supplementary training named ‘HippoCoach’ for riding instructors.) In 2003 she published her book ‘You can learn to ride better’ (Beter paardrijden kun je leren – Publisher: Fontaine Uitgever) and she’s now writing her new book ‘The psychology of the horse’ (Die Psyche des Pferdes – Publisher: Kosmos, Germany) and will soon deliver her book ‘The classical European School – more actual then ever’ to The Netherlands.
Her motto is: "Harmony between man and horse by the development of knowledge, technique and feeling”. Due to her professional and scientific background, Ulrike can better understand and support the learning processes of rider and horse. She’s interested in what goes on in the riders mind and the horses mind while training. Ulrike wants to give riders a lot of understanding concerning what happens inside the horse and how the relation between horse and rider and the movement dialogue is experienced by their four legged partners.