Anneke van Deijl-Gouws
FOUNDER / DIRECTOR / FACILITATOR
Throughout life we have constants in our life. Our faith, family and if we are lucky, friends. One of my constants has been horses. However, I never considered that I will be lucky enough to work with them on a daily basis, as well as helping others.
Although I started out after school with Equine Studies in Pretoria, I finished with a B-Tech degree in Office Management and Technology. Thus I found myself working in a corporate environment, but slowly felt that I needed to do more. In 2008 I did a course, “Leadership through gift of horses” and I came home and said that I missed my calling! I never knew that it was possible to combine counselling/psychology with horses. However, two years later I decided to start doing a Counselling qualification and slowly worked towards making a career move. Since then I finished my certification in EAGALA, EQASA Stable Management and continue education through SARDA and other reputable institutions.
To be able to work with children has changed my life on many levels. I am privileged to share the love of the horses and teach skills that is transferrable to life. I am thankful that I have these animals to reach families in need and to create a space where people can escape for a little while and is able to breath, be and belong.
DIRECTOR / FACILITATOR
Horses became part of our family life when I was around 6 years old when my mom started riding as an adult. We lived on a coal mine in the highveld and practically in the middle of nowhere.
My brother and I rode every day, and thanks to wonderful dad that trucked us and horses at 04:00 in the morning to get to Johannesburg, or wherever the show was by 08:00, to compete in events from show jumping to pony club games. Our mom was our constant instructor and mentor. Thus, for our family, horses were something that we shared and created the wonderful memories we can still laugh about today.
Horses constantly remind you to be humble. They can make you feel like a queen and a minute later make you realize they can make you grovel at their feet. They took me from the ground, literally, by dumping me head first. Eating some dust accompanied by funny stories and some that has some memory lapses. I stopped counting the falls as that did not matter. Getting back on did, because in the next moment they took you to the sky by galloping at speeds I am afraid to mention.
Ultimately, horses are my joy, my happiness, my dream. Being able to live a life I never thought be possible again at EQuivalence has filled my life beyond words. I joined the team in August 2016 as a volunteer and fell in love with the kids. Their smiles inspire me, especially when they think that cannot and fear is winning… suddenly they overcome that, and I need to help them find a break peddle! I want to inspire a more mindful life, where everything is noticed and the horse as a being is celebrated.
It is important to constantly grow yourself, dream so you can achieve and then become it. EQuivalence is a place where I can transfer the very important life lessons that horses has taught me.