Hi, i'm Natascha van Eijk
Pioneer of the ICPBC bitfit consulting: a way of looking at contact problems, that involves bit fitting and looking/treating horses from a whole body perspective.
With sharing my knowledge about bits. bridles but also anatomy of the horse, making links, sharing logical steps in solving 'bit' or other problems my big dream is to improving horses welfare and educate as much people possible
From a young age i knew i wanted to make horses a way of life and living, but................... I started studying law!
I knew i could learn pretty easy and i always had a sense of justice on many things. The picture on the right was made for an article in paard&lifestyle magazine about how i shifted from an office job to a life between horses. To make a long story short. I couldn't find the justice in the law, and although i finished it, i never worked as a lawyer. After my study i worked years in different kind of jobs from stewardess to medical salesmanager, to find out (finally!) that where the heart goes, the mind follows. I thought of going back to school to become a physiotherapist
for horses but i just couldn't motivate myself into learning about humans, while my interest was clearly in horses. So i learned otherwise. My journey brought me to many countries in the world and the first manipulations and understanding of the horses biomechanics i got from an older horseman in Australia. He could really help his own horses by doing small manipulations and muscle techniques and this got me started. I did study human sport massage course to get me into a horse massage course (Jack meagher methode) and with the manipulations, combined with other manipulations i learned from a German veterinarian i started with my company Horsesymmetry, treating horses. And every year skills were added and still are added. Think of dry needling, cranio sacral therapy, fascia release techniques, osteopathic techniques, Neurokinetic treatments etc
My passion for sharing knowledge about horses started in magazines and newspapers and blogs online.
We all say: If i only knew than, what i know today, my first horse.......
so it is important to share information, and especially all the mistakes we made during our lessons learned.
Than bit fitting started. A bit distributor told me that i should really do a weekend course of their bit brand. At first i wasn't so interested, because probabely like most of you i never looked in my horses mouth unless the dentist was there, but than i thought, why not? What if this could help me even more with treating horses? Could i find links?
The course was mostly about how great the bits of this brand were for every horse, but when we were having a look on a couple of horses that didn't make any difference on the change of bit, i was not surprised. For me it was so logical. The horses had other more severe problems than the bit, they moved in extension, had tight muscles in the neck and in this case a bit change could never make such a big difference, because the horses didn't even want to make connection.
Within a month i had all kind of bits from several brands in store and the pioneering began. Not everything distributers and manufacturers of bits tell you is correct, i can tell you that! But it also has to do with the riding style, the discipline you and your horse are competing in and the conformation and posture of your horse.
There is even a big difference in riding styles per country. In the Netherlands we have a lot of really nice riders, but also a lot of riders that ride with severe pressure. Haven taken all these factors into account, ICPBC bitfit consulting is so much more than just changing bits. The rider does have a big role in how a bit works in the horses mouth and the reaction of the horse is also something to take in account. Just looking in a horses mouth and deciding if a bit fits the anatomical structures is just the start. I started with Bitsymmetry and very soon i ended up bit fitting (mostly dressage) horses with riders from all over the world. I've fitted grand prix horses from the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Mexico, Egypte, Dubai, Italy and many more. I worked the first years till midnight every night and tried to be as creative as possible with solutions that fitted the horse but also the rider. So no tight nosebands, lots of explaining, most of the times treating the horse partly or completely, in combination with fitting the correct bit and referring to others like veterinarians, when the cause of the contact problem wasn't just the bit.
After a couple of years people started asking where they could learn my profession. This was the start of the International College for Professional Bitfit Consultants. There was no full education yet and i found some great co teachers to help me set this up. The college is open for horse professionals only, because the profession needs people with a good eye for biomechanics, but incase of doubt please contact me with a resume and good motivation. The Dutch education has now run for three years. I was very pleased with the third price in the horse education of the year competition where the public voted us first! and this was only after the first year. Now we already start our fourth year in 2020.
More and more i recieved requests of people from other countries that wanted to follow the education and horse owners that just wanted to know some basics for them self.
With so much possibility's online nowadays, I started to make my first steps with an online learning journey.
That online is now part one of the full education. Making it possible to learn at your own pace and you don't need to travel that much anymore.
Besides filming for the online, writing for the ICPBC, giving lectures and school classes, i'm also a proud horse owner. And one of them Bitsymmetrie's Charon is an education project horse and has a severe contact problem.. He is a really interesting horse and a lot of x rays, Ct scans, tmj, operation movies etc are shared in the full education, to make us all aware of how training influences the contact, but also how other problems can be shown in the connection with the bit. He my is best teacher and maybe yours as well if you decide to join the ICPBC
Well that about me. Hope to meet you soon!