Julie brings over 20 years of experience learning from, caring for, and working with many horses. Together with her husband Jarrett, young daughter Jocelyn, and extended family they own and operate Four Winds Horsemanship Centre in Uxbridge, Ontario.
Julie’s journey has traveled the path of 40km grassroots competitive trail riding, to 160km international endurance competitor. She was named to the Canada East team with her mare Khaelah in the 2009 Kentucky Cup World Equestrian Games pre-ride event. This was an eye-opening moment that created great disparity for Julie as she struggled to make sense of the wavering line for horses’ welfare and happiness in a highly competitive venue. A strong shift within Julie’s heart began moving her in new directions with her equine friends. It would take her a few more years to gain enough clarity to leave the sport of Endurance racing for good and solidify a new direction; one where the horses’ worth, training, and care are independent of ribbons (which horses can’t appreciate). Achieving trust, compassion, happiness, balance, and harmony with horses have become Julie’s new lifetime goals.
Julie was inspired by a former mentor and friend, Paul Wood, who provided the first taste of natural training methods with her young horses. Paul introduced her to the teachings of Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt and Mark Rashid. Needing more hands-on support with one particular young mare, Julie sought out the help of then local Parelli Professional named Judy Griffiths. She has since become a dedicated student of Judy’s for over 10 years and has also studied with Ron Pyne; a former 3* Parelli Professional.
Julie draws her horsemanship inspiration and creativity from an extensive and varied set of life experiences. She has studied hoof care and is an active barefoot trimmer and hoof boot user for 14 years. She recently participated in Karen Rohlf’s 6 month Master Mind business program for heart-centred horse professionals. Julie is currently finishing up another 6 month distance learning program, also with Karen Rohlf of Dressage Naturally, entitled: “The Sweet Spot of Healthy Biomechanics”. She holds a certificate in Equine Sports Massage Therapy from Jodi Pendry and has taken part in Dr. Elenor Kellon’s online nutritional program. Julie was also a past recipient of Ontario Equestrian’s “People Make a Difference Award” for her service to the Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association, and she was also awarded the Prince Calib Memorial Trophy for outstanding contribution.
To humbly paraphrase Mark Rashid: “If you want the whole horse, you have to find some way to give your whole heart”. What exactly does that look like? It starts with a true partnership that can only be cultivated when you really understand and place the horses’ needs first. From The Ground Up School of Natural Horsemanship is a beautiful and progressive guide to achieving real partnership with your horse. Julie is so excited to teach this program of study to her students at Four Winds Horsemanship Centre; making the world a better place for horses.
Milena Olga Pesta
The Horse Listener
Milena Olga was born and grew up in former Czechoslovakia. At the age of 9 she started performing as a contortionist which led to a professional career as a dance performer. She has an artistic spirit and was involved in creative projects in photography, and theatre and film and has received many awards for dance performance as well as records in the Guinness Book of Records (1999-2003).
Her spiritual talent to listen to nature and animals has helped her with animal communication. This unique relationship was integral with her “dance” partner python Syky. Milena traveled with her unique dance-contortion show, around Europe and North America for over 30 years. She deepened her meaning of dance by learning from the indigenous people of Australia, South America and North America. Since 2008 Milena has lived in Ontario, Canada.
Her love for horses and nature joins with yoga and her energy reading abilities, and in 2013 she received her REIKI certificate level 3. As a natural healer, she started healing horses and people through the practice of Reiki.
Milena’s professional dancing career ended at age 45 when she was already involved in the horse business, working for show barns. But her natural and spiritual soul was much closer to the practise of Natural Horsemanship.
Since she has met Judy Griffiths, she has turned her talents into deepening her relationships with horses. Judy is a great mentor for her and helped her to understand horses in their natural way. Soon, Milena started using her yoga knowledge together with natural horsemanship principles and specialized in understanding energy around horses.
Under Judy’s supervision, she started teaching Natural Horsemanship and since January 2021 she has become part of the instructor team at From The Ground Up Horsemanship. Although her students are mostly from the Czech Republic, where natural horsemanship is still rare, she teaches online worldwide and has local students as well.
Her education includes Teacher’s institute (1988 -1990), Croupier-manager course (1999-2000), Reiki course (2011-2013) and Yoga Instructor course (1986-1990), and Artist education (1976 – 1988).
At the early age of 7, Kathy's parents moved into her uncle’s riding stable, which offered trail rides by the hour. This is where her love for horses began. Being so young, she could not take part in the day-to-day operations of the trail riding business, but she sure could muck out a stall like the best of them. She remembers hiding in the barn long after the lights went out just to be near the horses. When she got caught by her uncle (which happened many times), he would soon chase her home on frostbitten toes. She could have stayed there forever, listening to them eat and feeling their warmth around her.
Years later she continued her journey with horses, by actually taking out those same trail rides," and got paid $10.00 a weekend which helped me to finish. Kathy is now self-employed as a full-time hairstylist, but her dream is to teach children about these wonderful creatures.
And even though life and career took up most of her time for the next 20 years., eventually, her children found their own dreams and her husband found his own hobbies, the flame ignited once again and she needed to find herself once again in the presence of horses. Kathy has dedicated herself to learning as much as she can about Natural Horsemanship.
"Here I am 11 years later. she says, with my “heart” horse". Kathy has developed into a wonderful partner. What is key here is the step-by-step instructions that she has learned that are so important to both how humans and horses learn.
Kathy is now working through her internship in the From The Ground Up Horsemanship instructor program. This program has changed her world of both how she looks at horses and how it provides her the knowledge to work and to teach others.
My dream is to teach children From The Ground Up and give them the opportunity to see horses as beautiful animals!