We also spent a lot of time watching the National Geographic (NAT GEO) channel together. NAT GEO did a great job bringing awareness to the plight of so many wild animals. I was very sensitive, and passionate, as a young child and watching this really bothered me. It affected me so much that I decided to help the campaign by creating a booklet that would highlight the animals that needed the most help. Being a budding artist as a child gave me the ability to draw the animals that were endangered. This made me feel like I was contributing and spreading awareness. I decided I would start this project in art class and then ask my teacher if I could talk about it when it was done. I was given permission to do so and this became my first experience being both an advocate and a public speaker. Many years later I would revisit this level of awareness through a life altering experience that would change my life’s purpose and destiny forever.
At the age of 15 I had a nervous breakdown. I had been suffering from anxiety for years and acute panic attacks my freshman year of high school that were absolutely debilitating. I was passing out cold, blacking out, in school. The breakdown was a result of the acute panic attacks. I was admitted to the Cleveland Psychiatric Hospital where I was able to be professionally evaluated on a daily basis. My experience in the hospital was amazing and is the experience that changed my life forever.
See, I wasn’t alone. I was surrounded by other teens suffering different ailments and yet similar challenges. To my naivety and surprise most of my peers were suicidal. I was not suicidal and while I was suffering tremendously not once did I think about dying or taking my own life. However, these kids did and more than once. Some of them, boys and girls, had multiple slash scars on both wrists indicating they had tried killing themselves several times. Their home life was so horrible they purposely cut themselves so they could be taken away and live in the ward where it was safe. This blew my mind. I just couldn’t imagine or relate. Why they wanted to die was heart breaking and left such a deep imprint on me that it not only became a memory I carry to this day, it became a road map to who I am and what I do as a professional.
After my short stint in the mental hospital, as I call it, I went into therapy and this became my building block to recovery. I was fortunate to work with an amazing social worker who was also an amazing person and teacher. It wouldn’t be until much later in my life that I would realize how much she impacted me as a woman, person and most of all as a teacher.
During the 2 years I spent with my therapist I learned about Chinese Medicine, specifically meditation. I not only read everything I could about Chinese Medicine and Philosophy, I became a practicing Taoist. It was during my late teens that I was able to take this new spirituality and intertwin it with my every day life, most of all my relationship with my backyard horse, Brandy. Between the level of awareness and daily practices I was beginning to make tremendous progress in my relationships and horsemanship.
Skip forward 20 years and into my mid-to-late thirties and I’ve starting another business and one that becomes my life’s purpose – working with people and horses and helping them live their potential. And that my friend is where we are today.
A little more about me….
Caroline Volandt-Beste is an internationally recognized behavior specialist and holistic educator. She is best known for her personal coaching style and intuitive approach to teaching people and training horses. Caroline’s method combines the Art of Horsemanship and Classical Dressage with a Taoist way of Being and interacting, with a primary focus on aligning and synchronizing horse and rider in mind (thought), body (movement) and soul (relationship).
Caroline believes in a holistic approach to horsemanship, providing expert knowledge and instruction for the whole horse and rider. Her approach is multi-dimensional and includes the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of both the person and horse’s well-being.
Caroline’s vast experience in a multitude of disciplines enables her to provide expert and individualized attention to both the well-being and soundness of the horse as well as the management, handling, nutrition, education and athletic maintenance of horse and rider.
Caroline offers her expertise and compassionate training in person through her Total Immersion Training Programs at her center in Dunnellon, FL as well as long-distance and through her Tao of Horsemanship Online Academy Training Courses and personal coaching services.