Hi, i'm Natascha van Eijk
Pioneer of the ICPBC bitfit consulting: a way of looking at connection problems, that involves bit fitting and looking/treating horses from a whole body perspective. Through the connection on the bit a horse does tell his owner so much.
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 dream is to improving horses welfare.
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 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 in 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.
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, also en most of all the made mistakes!
And than the bit fitting started. A bit distributor told me that i should really do a weekend course of their brand, where i could learn how to fit these bits. At first i wasn't so interested because like most of you i never looked in my horses mouth unless the dentist was there. Mostly dentists where doing the course and i was the only one with another background, but than i thought, why not, what if this could help me even more with treating horses? Could i find links? When we were having a look on a couple of horses they fitted with the new brand, some horses didn't make any difference on the change of bit. The others were surprised but for me it was so logical. The horse just had other more a severe problems, they moved in extension, had tight muscles in the neck and in this case a bit change could never make such a big difference, the horse didn't even want to make connection. The connection on the bit, was and is where it all comes together.
So the interest in bit fitting started and within a month i had all kind of brands in store and the pioneering began. Not everything that 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 a severe pressure. Haven taken all these factors into account, ICPBC bitfit consulting is so much more than just changing bits. I started with Bitsymmetry and very soon i ended up bit fitting (mostly dressage) horses with riders from all over the world. 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, instead of fitting and referring to others like veterinarians, when the cause of the connection on the bit problem was not a bit related cause.
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 and good motivation, there is no rule without an exception.
Than the last years also people from other countries wanted to follow education and also horse owners just wanted to know some basics for them self. And with so much possibility's online nowadays, i m also making my first steps with an online learning journey for everyone interested and i assure you, more steps will be made.
So besides filming for the online, writing for the ICPBC, giving lectures and school classes, i'm also proud owner of three horses: Jazzy, Just and Bitsymmetrie's Charon. Charon is an education project horse and has a severe connection on the bit 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 connection, but also how other problems can be shown in the connection. So next to all the horses that have crossed my path, he is the best teacher at the moment i can find. My dream is one day have him back in the dressage sport again as an example of how pieces of the puzzle fit together. This with a lot of fun and a happy athlete.