Equitopia’s vision is of a world where humans live in harmony with horses, based on a deep understanding of and regard for the horse's needs in today's world. Its mission is to empower the horse industry with reliable resources that are supported by research and evidence, and that guide us equestrians in the evolution towards a compassionate horsemanship. The Equitopia online platform provides evidence-based and dependable information that for the most part can be accessed for free, whereas special parts the contents are available to subscribers exclusively. Founder Caroline Hegarty and her Equitopia colleagues examine various schools of thought on the care, welfare, and training of horses. They collaborate with industry experts to develop a library of educational videos and courses which focus on the biomechanics of horse and rider, saddle fitting, foot care, nutrition, behavior and more. Equitopia is also establishing training and learning centers throughout the world with the objective of bringing horse training methods based on compassion and science to a global equestrian audience. Equitopia’s US headquarters is the Equitopia Center in Thornton, California, and its European headquarters is located at the Equi Smart facility in The Netherlands.
4 Dimension Dressage
Not just for dressage – this new approach to training is for every horse, but places special emphasis on what modern sport horses need in order to stay healthy and free of injury throughout their career. Developed by Dr. Karin Leibbrandt, the 4Dimension Dressage approach to training is fully consistent with equine anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics, and is the key to improving equine posture, balance, and strength. The approach is horse-friendly, designed so that the equine can enjoy his training sessions, grow in confidence, and develop in a positive way. In her book Compassionate Training for Today's Sport Horse, Dr. Leibbrandt explains how to teach the horse to attain and maintain a correct neck length and to balance himself in 4 dimensions: vertically, horizontally, laterally and diagonally. 4Dimension Dressage is working with The Concordia Equestrians to promote Fine Contact Competitions where correct training, lightness, partnership, and trust are rewarded.
Keeping horses and training horses are two sides of the same coin at The Equi Smart facility in Holland. After many years of experience with horses, founder Esther Berger knows that most of the health and behavior problems horses display can actually be prevented by proper living conditions and correct training. The Equi Smart way of keeping horses is pre-emptive and holistic. The horses’ housing, feed, and daily routines are designed to ensure their well-being. They live in groups and are always outside. Because of that, they are happy and mentally strong. And because they can move around, their bodies are in better shape as well, and their joints are never cold. They have 24/7 access to high quality hay. In short, they can be horses. Just like the horse keeping, the Equi Smart approach to riding is holistic and geared towards preventing problems before they arise. Specialists are at hand to asses general health, hoof imbalances and other hoof issues, as well as bit, bridle, and saddle fit. Equi Smart’s head trainer is Dr. Karin Leibbrandt. All Equi Smart horses are trained according to Karin’s method, so they do not have to compensate in areas they had to if they were ridden incorrectly. The Equi Smart team offers theoretical and practical workshops and clinics using training methods rooted in sound and evidence-based practices that result in confident, balanced, and gymnastically empowered horse and rider combinations. The courses also include topics such as the biomechanics of horse and rider, saddle fit, foot care, nutrition, rider posture, behaviour, bodywork and more. Located in Abcoude, The Netherlands, the Equi Smart facility is a practical learning and training center for Equitopia and it also serves as Equitopia’s European headquarters.
The Compassionate Equestrian is a heart-centered and science-backed program based on 25 Principles that educate and support the equestrian in order to create a safe, healthy, non-stressful and pain-free environments for horses. The 25 Principles are explored at length in the book The Compassionate Equestrian written by trainer Susan Gordon and veterinarian Dr. Allen Schoen. The Principles are based on science, biomechanics, and the correct training of horse and rider, and seek to expand compassionate practices worldwide. By creating a community of equestrians who interact with horses with joy, truth, and inner peace, The Compassionate Equitation has a positive influence not only on the horse industry but in the world. With a deeper compassion for our horses - and for ourselves - equestrians are on a path to transcending differences and disagreements, learning instead to empathize, and connecting with horses and one another.