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Understanding horses: An interview with Nadine Frei of Rainbow Horsemanship

In the world of horsemanship, connecting with these beautiful animals is a deeply personal and rewarding journey. The relationship between humans and horses is built on trust, respect, and mutual understanding. Through patient and compassionate communication, we can not only build a meaningful connection with our horse, but also go on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. The process of connecting with horses teaches valuable lessons in empathy, patience, and emotional intelligence. This unique bond fosters a sense of companionship and partnership that is both humbling and empowering.

woman with red hair, holding two horses, one palomino, one dark bay, the palomino is standing sideways, the dark bay is frontal, they are all standing in front of a stack of round hay bales, the woman is smiling

Today, I'm sharing an interview with Nadine Frei of Rainbow Horsemanship, who is located in Seltisberg (BL). Nadine’s passion and dedication to horses have shaped her life and career profoundly. Here’s our conversation:

Introduction and background

What is your company name?

Rainbow Horsemanship Nadine Frei

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

My name is Nadine Frei, born in 1993. Horses have been part of my life since my childhood. My fascination with these animals steadily grew. Initially, I was in a riding school, then I had a horse share before getting my first own horse.

Despite various courses and taster sessions, I was never completely convinced by any until I met Martin Kreuzer from the "Martin Kreuzer Horsemanship Academy" at the "Pferd Bodensee" fair in 2017. Shortly afterwards, I booked my first course, and from there, I was hooked and began my training as a coach, which I completed from 2017-2022 and have since been traveling as a trainer for groundwork and riding.

I am fascinated by insights into horse psychology, the benefits in training, and the combination of horsemanship and dressage.

I am keen not only to continually train and educate my horses and myself but also to pass on my learned knowledge and help many horses and their people strengthen their relationships and form partnerships.

How did you first come into contact with horses? Can you tell us about your earliest memories or experiences with them?

Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by horses. One of my earliest memories is definitely when I started to do vaulting and shortly thereafter took riding lessons. I was completely thrilled.

A very special experience was also having my first horse share, which then became my own horse.

When did you decide to make working with horses your profession and why?

It wasn’t a clear-cut decision; I gradually slid into it. I decided to reduce my main job to 60% and expand my self-employment in 2022. This was absolutely the right step and I am always delighted that I could make my passion my profession to some extent.

a woman with red hair is lunging a palomino horse in an arena with black rubber footing. the horse has his head down, the woman is smiling, trees in the background

Understanding the role

Can you describe a typical day in your life as a horse trainer? What does your routine look like?

I usually start in the morning with the training horses. Currently, there are 4-5 horses that I train twice a week each (either alone or with the owner). From breaking in young horses to re-training after a long injury break or even correction training is currently all involved (both in groundwork and riding). Then I go to my horses to muck out and move them. This is roughly my routine, but of course, it can always change, as not everything is always plannable with horses or animals in general.

What does training horses involve? Could you explain your approach or methodology?

What is MKA Horsemanship?

Horsemanship is the natural horse-human relationship. It is not in the nature of the horse to approach humans, let alone to be ridden. Therefore, we must learn to understand the horse with its natural instincts. TRUE communication with the horse is only possible when we become aware of how a horse communicates, reacts, learns, follows its instincts, and what social structures it has.

Once we understand these basics, we can convey our intentions to the horse and turn a prey animal into a trusting partner. Through a well-founded groundwork directly linked to riding activity, we lay the foundations for an intelligent, brave, and physically fit horse.

The basic elements of Horsemanship are:

- The nature of the horse

- The language of the horse (body language)

- The positioning of the horse (pecking order)

- The learning psychology of the horse

The Martin Kreuzer Horsemanship Academy is an interlocking, clearly structured system. Starting with the basics of groundwork to challenging dressage lessons, all exercises are clear and prepare for advanced lessons.

The clear structures of the training program make it easy for both humans and horses to understand. The horse, being a creature of habit, will learn much faster through the recurring lessons and will understand us better.

Through the training program, your horse becomes intelligent, brave, calm, and athletic. You yourself gain emotional, mental, and physical fitness.

The program is divided into the areas of groundwork and riding.

Goals of Groundwork:

- Respect and control

- Body language

- Physical, mental, and emotional fitness

- Yielding to pressure (oppositional reflex)

Goals of Riding Activity:

- Developing an independent seat

- Natural riding dynamics

- Body language

- Utilizing the natural power of focus

Could you share a career highlight as a horse trainer - a particular horse or event that stands out?

The honor of being able to sit on the back of a horse I trained myself for the first time. And this happening completely without coercion and based on trust. I think here of my young mare "Liberty", to whom I also have a very special connection. With her, I was able to gain many first experiences that I had not been able to have before.

black and white photo of a woman walking down a driveway, a dark bay horse on your left side, a palomino horse on your right side, the woman is gazing in the distance and smiling

Challenges and Motivations

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of horse training? Can you share a case where you had to overcome a significant hurdle?

For me, it is when the person learns to understand the horse and begins to form a trustful and respectful partnership with it.

What keeps you motivated to continue working in this field? Is there a particular aspect that you find especially rewarding?

There is still much to learn and discover about horses, how they feel, learn, and think. We already know a lot, but much will probably only be discovered in the future. This is my motivation to continue engaging with the fascination, but also the partner "horse" and the "horse-human relationship", and to see many things critically. In this field, as in many, one never stops learning.

Addressing Misconceptions

Are there any common misconceptions or misinterpretations about horse training that you would like to clarify?

Nowadays, the motto is "earlier, higher, faster, further". However, I want to show that the basis is everything and takes time so that training/education is really sustainable. If this basis is solid, one can build on it and do so in a health-preserving and gentle manner.

What do you wish more people knew about the relationship between humans and horses?

How does a horse think, feel, learn, and communicate? What does its behavior want to tell me, and what can I do? How do I train and bring my horse, with the help of groundwork (the basis of everything), to be a healthy and motivated leisure partner also in the saddle?

Advice and Future Directions

For someone aspiring to a career in horse training, what advice would you give?

My advice would be to be passionate and to live Horsemanship! To put this relationship between horse and human at the center, to constantly question oneself and to continue education.

How do you see the development of horse training in the future? Are there trends or changes that you foresee?

I hope that we will return more to the basics, as already mentioned, because that is everything. And that the partner "horse" and its health maintenance will be in the center.

How can someone best build a genuine and trusting relationship with their horse?

The most important foundation is the groundwork in the sense of the nature of horses. Through these first basic lessons, one learns to build a strong relationship based on communication, motivation, and safety.

Could you conclude by sharing a piece of wisdom or a saying that has guided your journey as a horse trainer?

"Learn to understand your horse - so that it can learn to understand YOU." (Martin Kreuzer)

Exploring horsemanship wisdom with stunning horse photos

This conversation with Nadine makes it clear that her approach focuses on understanding the natural instincts and psychology of horses. It also shows the importance of ongoing learning and emphasizes the joy that comes from truly connecting with horses.

Whether you are an experienced rider or just starting out, Nadine’s insights offer a simple and clear guide to building a strong, respectful partnership with your horse. And I just loved photographing Nadine and her two horses, capturing the special bond they share.

Feel free to send me a message to find out how we can create your own beautiful horse photos. Or just let me know your thoughts on the above! Either way, I'd love to hear from you.

a red-haired woman is standing in a riding arena with a dark bay horse. the woman is in the background, blurry, from the waist up. the horse is in the foreground, only head and neck


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