How to win someone’s trust

or how to earn it is something that I am often thinking about these days. I have just purchased 4 horses that I have only seen one day before and now want to work with for the foreseeable future. As I will have to rely on them for my own safety, my children’s and all of my future clients, I want to build really strong relationship with them. And to be able to do that, I feel that they really need to trust me so that I can really trust them.

Now, horses are totally tuned to figuring out in every second whether they can trust an animal or person around them because all the centuries of their survival have taught them to do so. No matter what my musings look like and what great ideas I come up with, they are checking me out constantly. So, no use in teaching my horses to find out that they can trust me – I simply have to show myself as trustworthy.

How do I do that?

My so far subconscious plan that I am now dragging into the open includes the following ideas:


To be able to get to know anyone you have to be around them! Not just for the good times, not just for a phone call, not just for feeding or a quick training session, no, you have to stick around. I might go by what I have heard from other people or by how someone acts with other people and animals, but to really trust someone with every aspect of your life, you need to spend a lot of time together. So, that is what I do! My barn right now is dusty and hot and I don’t have a comfy place to sit nor a cool drinking fountain – so it is not only wonderful to hang out a day at the barn, but I try to stick around as much as possible and as my family life allows me.


Most of us have learned from our parents in our childhood what it feels like to be taken care of. And when for the first time, we are away from them and feel miserable or sick, we finally learn to appreciate what they have done all this time:-)!  Taking care of someone else is a big learning field that is interconnected with topics like empathy, sensitivity, responsibility and many others and it would lead a bit too far to go into the details of it.

When we take care of an animal it often becomes a bit more tangible: The animal needs food, simple hygiene, health care, love, attention and training. Where as the first three are easy to checklist and fulfill, even if they might be time consuming and sometimes expensive, the last three leave a lot to individual interpretation.

I my daily routine this means that I go to the barn every day, pick up the horses’ poop, check  on their hay and water, check their pasture and make sure that I check in with each of them personally. At least I want to have looked them over, see how they are behaving with the others, if they are eating and drinking by the time I leave again. And then depending on how much time I have I try to spend some extra time with each of them 3-4 times a week. That might be brushing, leading, cuddling, cleaning, talking or having guests come in and introduce them to the horses.

I can see that they know I care by the fact that they come over when they want to be scratched or also simply check in, when they come to me for protection from another horse bugging them.


If you have been with horses before, you might know that they have a wonderful way of making you be authentic, because if you aren’t they won’t buy it!

Sometimes though, there can be a thin line between being authentic and not using any self-control. While it is not that dangerous to be exuberantly happy or sad around your horse (although you might totally miss what the other people and animals around you are feeling), there are other states that can do much more harm. So if you are authentically angry from something that just happened to you, I am not saying, make sure your horse knows you are angry. Working with a horse when you are angry doesn’t work at all. They are so fine-tuned to your emotions that you being angry will put them in a constant flight-modus. And if you continue and don’t give them a chance to flee, they might turn that into a fight-modus. If you are too angry to work with your horse, take the time to chill out with them and get rid of your anger! And if you are too angry for that, too, then you might all be better of if you just pick up the poo, check food and water and then leave again. Once you learn to use the horse as a mirror for your feelings, you will get much better at being aware of them and also being able to influence your emotions and moods.

Being open to me means to be willing to experience unexpected outcomes, new learning, strangeness at any time in a relationship. Every time you meet you might learn something about someone that you had no idea of before. Or you might realize that something you have done lots of times before, doesn’t work in this case. Or your partner might suggest a way of doing things that you have never before considered. It also means to learn when to use your instincts and when to overrule them.

And this way of being open is probably the thing I enjoy most about having my horses at the moment. Right now, I don’t have schedule, I don’t have training plan, and I don’t have any customers that I have to satisfy. I can be totally open to my horses and play with my instincts and their ideas without having to worry about rules, opinions, regulations. And I am very much looking forward to what is going to become of it!

So, you might be wondering why I am actually writing all this down?

First of all, I am convinced that it is always a good exercise for ourselves to bring subconscious behaviour into the consciousness. One way of doing that for me is writing it down. Especially as I am on my own right now and don’t get much feedback, I want to make sure, I know what I am doing.

And secondly, I find it amazing to see, how much of this is applicable in exactly the same way when it comes to working with horses and when it comes to my daily interaction with other people. This is the reason why I believe in Coaching with Horses. There is so much in our behaviour, our thoughts and actions that we do without noticing. But when we do it with horses and get their feedback, it all come up to the surface where we can muse over it, evaluate it and attempt to change it.

If you have issues with trust, either trusting others or being trusted, if you want to find out how trustworthy you are perceived or what you might be able to do to change that, if you want to do that authentically and not by manipulating others or simply by dressing in the right way or driving the right car, if you are up to learning something new about yourself and your relationships, why don’t you come and visit me and my horses?  Hope to see you soon!

Want to be a part of it?

If you are interested in what I do, there are different ways to become involved:


First, you can simply become one of my clients. Just send me an email or give me a call and I am happy to sit down with you to find out how I can best serve you.


If you know someone who could really use my support, why not offer to sponsor him or her to become my client? And if that is too much for yourself, maybe you can convince a few more people to sponsor someone together. In the long run, a gift like this will be worth so much more than a few birthday or Christmas gifts!!


If you don’t really want to have anything to do with my horses, but you think what I do should be supported, you can become one of my horses’ sponsors. Just choose one of the horses by their description and tell me how much you can afford to pay monthly to help me take care of my Co-Coaches. Horses cost a lot of money and to be able to offer my services for an affordable fee, it would be immensely helpful to have a small network of supporters. I will give you regular updates on your horse and my work and you are always welcome to come by and see for yourself where your money goes.


And then, last but not least, if you are interested in a bit of all of this, want to be personally involved but not as a regular client, you can become a Friend of Lightbulb-Coaching.

A Basic Friendship means that you are allowed to come to my barn and get 5 hours of volunteer training after which you can volunteer in different capacities at my barn. You can get supervised time with the horse 4 hours per year and one accompanied trail ride (all depending on my and the horses availability and your own abilities). Investment: $20 per month

A Premium Friendship includes the same volunteer training, 10 hours of horse time and 2 trail rides (or one for two people). Just add up what you normally pay for my sessions and you will see what an amazing deal you get!! Investment: $50 per month

Or let’s become BFFs!! You get to spend two hours per month with me and my horses, other friends and volunteers or you can use your hours for any other service you would be interested in. From trail rides, birthday parties, photo sessions or workshops – let’s do some brainstorming together! Investment: $100 per month


My offer to you

All you have to do is choose!

The different services that I have to offer, officially fall in three different categories:


which I am qualified to offer through my education in Special Education, my Masters degree in Motology and more than 20 years of experience.


which I am qualified to offer through my education and certification as a Life-Coach and my affiliation with the International Coaching Federation. In addition to that, I am an advanced Trainer in horse riding, qualified by the German Riding federation (FN) and a member of the Horse Council BC.


With all the experience and knowledge in these other fields, I also became certified by the EAHAE (European Association for Horse Assisted Education) to be able to offer you the full range of educational workshops with horses.

No matter in which category you see yourself, I would love to find out how you want to be supported so that  you, my horses and me can start on a unique journey.

What I do and the way I work is all based on research, many years of experience and my individual set of skills and gifts as much as my horses’. I don’t think that we need to believe in the horse as a mystic being to bring healing to us as long as we let the horses simply be what they are. We just have to be open to learn from them and willing to offer a fair partnership. While we work together, you will not only learn more about yourself but also inevitably learn a lot about horses. As we go, I will always explain to you why I do what I do as much as I explain why I believe the horse does what it does.

If you want to work with me and my horses, you can decide between different models.

You can either book single sessions with the same rates as my general Coaching rates.

If you are looking for a workshop for yourself, your team, your family, your church group or??, please simply contact me to talk about details. There are so many different components in terms of the number of hours, days, people, horses and trainers involved that it is impossible to come up with a price list.

If you are just generally interested in what I do and would like to be involved without becoming a client, please continue reading how you can be involved.


Everyday Coaching

or my “absolutely do that at home” recommendation

Just a few days ago I had my own lightbulb-moment in Coaching.

As usual before school holidays our kids had been constantly tired and cranky and acting it out on each other. As usual, we talked to them repeatedly about their behaviour and about how that had to change. When that didn’t help, we started threatening them with all the things they wouldn’t be able to do during Spring Break.

Well, if you have kids, you know that that stuff sometimes works and sometimes it just doesn’t. But most of all, what really annoys me and my husband about it, is that it turns us into the kind of parents we really don’t want to be: Constantly watching the kids, constantly disappointed, finger-wagging, yelling, taking nice activities away, punishing etc.

Well, one morning after I had just dropped off the kids at school and felt exactly the way I just described, I took part in a Coaching-Webinar offered by the ICF as part of my ongoing professional development. Not that this seminar had the topic of “How to control your kids as a Coach” (wouldn’t that be awesome though :’)), but it just reminded me of all the different options I have on hand when facing complicated situations. And there I had it – my first lightbulb went on!

That afternoon, I got right to it. I asked my kids to have a Coaching Session with me and they rather sceptically agreed. To warm them up, I started with an exercise that is always fun and easy to do and described it according to our situation: I asked the kids to imagine the worst family ever and then to think of rules they would make for the worst family ever to follow to make their family life as miserable and awful as possible. They had no problems with that, believe me!

Once they had all the mean things out of their system like “ they all have to constantly bite/scratch/ kick/ swear/ fart”, they calmed down a bit and came out with some very personal issues. My oldest daughter thought that in the worst family ever everybody would always come into each other’s room and take and destroy all their personal stuff. Our son, the sandwich-child, figured that in the worst family ever everyone would always tell you that you are not able to do things or are really bad at it. And the youngest was typically very adamant that in the worst family ever they would always walk away from you and just leave you alone.

At this point, they all realized that this was important stuff and that it really meant something for them personally, so it wasn’t hard to get to the next step. The task that followed was to think of values or rules that we could use as our own so that none of that “worst-family-ever-stuff” happened to us. Every time we came up with a value, the kids were allowed to scratch out all the things on the first sheet that wouldn’t happen in the worst family ever if they stuck to that value. And once we had everything scratched out, we knew we were done with our list!

I asked them where they wanted to set it up and they decided on the top of the stairs so that they could see it walking by.

And to top it off: After our Coaching session the kids went outside to play. And they actually continued talking about our exercise and came up with another awesome idea all by themselves: they agreed on a gesture that they would make if they felt that things between them were going into the wrong direction. And that gesture would then help them to remember their list and stop going the wrong way. You can imagine I felt pretty good about myself as a Mum and a Coach when they told me :-))

Now I am not going to tell you that my kids have been little saints ever since then, but we had a really enjoyable Spring Break. The kids spent a lot of time playing together and were actually able to reflect on how much nicer that is at the end of the day.

And I came out of that experience once more thankful and excited and feeling blessed by how incredibly useful Coaching is even in everyday contexts as this. If something works for highly paid managers and for my kids in the same way, it has to be good! Try it out and feel free to contact me if you would like more info on how to use that exercise for your own family or company or team or____!


or people you should meet

Instead of playing the Name-game, here are just a few website from people that were or are directly involved in my life or in the making of this website.

Dalarna Kattendorfer Reiterhof e.V.: What can I say… My friends, the best horses in the world, my second home, the place I miss most when I am somewhere else in the world. If you are in northern Germany and looking for a place with great people and real partnership with horses, then you should definitely find out more about them!

EAHAE: International (former European) Association for Horse Assisted Education. The people who gave Coaching with horses a name and turned it into a roof organization with a lot of enthusiasm and experience.

Erickson Coaching International: The school where I did my Coaching Qualification. Great and professional people who turned real learning into a very enjoyable experience.

International Coaching Federation: The guardians of good and reliable educations and ethics in the Coaching world.

Johannes Beck-Broichsitter: My mentor and trainer in horse- and rider development for many years. It is too bad that I am too far away now to take part in the awesome courses offered, but if you are close by, why don’t you check it out and say Hi from me!

Logomakr: Cool website that allows you to create your own logo or gives you all the professionell help you want.

Unsplash: Finally a website with professionell photos that you can just use. Thanks!

Memole: My great sister-in-law helped me to create this website. Silke doesn’t offer this service any longer, but as she is very good at a lot of things, she has started this new project. Couldn’t have done it without her!

ps: Although I generally only link website here that I think I can trust, I am not responsible for the content of the actual websites!


This is the very dry list of all that I have learned. To get back to the shorter and more colourful version, go to Annika.

Currently: Self-employed Coach • Online-Coaching • Horse-Assisted Coaching • Kelowna • British Columbia, Canada

Until September 2016: Riding Instructor • Riding Therapist • Equine Assisted Coaching • Coaching • Dalarna Stables • Kattendorf • Germany

Including: Board Member • Team-Coaching • administration • development of resources • training horses and other riding teachers


2015 International Coaching Foundation Accredited Coach

 2014 European Association for Horse Assisted Education, Accredited Member

2014 Erickson Certified Coach

2003 Diploma [German Masters] in Motology with distinction, Philipps-Universität, Marburg, Germany

2002 Certificate in ‘Adventure Pedagogy’  Institute of the Science of Sport, Philipps-Universität, Marburg, Germany

2001 National Exam in Education [German Bachelors] with distinction, Universität Hamburg, Germany, Specialization: pedagogy for special needs children, childhood development, science of sports


Other Qualifications

2015 Additional qualification for Trainers, Seat and Balance in Horse-Riding, German National Federation for Equestrian [FN]

2002 Trainer License B in Equestrian, German National Federation for Equestrian [FN]

1998 Trainer License C in Equestrian, German National Federation for Equestrian [FN]

1998 License for Alpine Ski Instructor for Children, Universität Hamburg



2011-2014 Childhood development Consultant at EMMANUEL INTERNATIONAL, Malawi [part-time] • Missionary of the Presbyterian Church in Canada • Board Member of Sir Harry Johnston International School, Zomba, Malawi

2006-2010 Riding Instructor • Riding Therapist • Dalarna Stables • Kattendorf • Germany [part-time]

Including: administration • development of resources • training horses and other riding teachers • also developing a riding program in coordination with the local Nursery Schools, including training their teachers

2005-06 German Instructor for post-Graduate Students • Faculty of Religious Studies • McGill University • Montreal

2005–06 Riding Therapist • Lucky Harvest Project • Hinchinbrooke • Quebec [part-time]

Including: training other instructors to become Riding Therapists (grant provided by the Canadian government)

2003-04 Riding Instructor • Riding Therapist • Dalarna Stables • Kattendorf • Germany [part-time]

2002-03 Leader of two psycho-motoric therapy groups for children with behavioural challenges • Marburg • Germany

2001 Research Assistant • Institute of the Science of Sport • Philipps-Universität • Marburg • Germany

1999 Research Assistant in Field Study: “Are kids still able to walk backwards?” Universität Hamburg • Germany

Nov. 1995-Jan. 1996 tutor to a German Lutheran missionary pair’s two children, Tanzania