Meet our team
Facilitating quality of life as our core value!
Our synchronistic journeys are an inspiration and celebrated!
Dr Pravini Naidoo
Lecturer at Department of Psychology, UFS and Co-ordinator: Therapeutic horse-riding community service learning project.
Dr Pravani Naidoo lectures in the Psychology Department at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein. She supervises research within the field of Positive Psychology, including studies regarding adolescent well-being, mindfulness, and leisure engagement.
Pravani is also interested in the Psychology of Disability and the application of Positive Psychology principles and constructs, to understand the experiences of individuals with disabilities. Arising from her earlier engagement in horse riding as a sport and recreational activity and based on her interest in interventions to promote well-being amongst individuals with disabilities, she co-ordinates the Therapeutic Horse-Riding Community Service Learning Project at Equistria. The project assumes a multidisciplinary team approach and entails Psychology Honours PSHC 6804 students engaging with learners from the Lettie Fouche School and the horses at Equistria, on a weekly basis.
M.A, Clinical Psychologist and Reiki Master
Alina Garau is a clinical psychologist and reiki master. She has been in private practise since 1996. Her work is based on a holistic and eclectic approach. Importance is placed on body, mind and emotions, as well as the spiritual aspects of healing. Alina works with teenagers and adults with a variety of disorders ranging from depression to anxiety, trauma, divorce/ relationship building and personal growth. Her therapy sessions take on a Jungian stance.
She has a passion for yoga and meditation and includes these techniques as well as reiki and energy healing in her sessions. In her personal capacity, Alina searches for conscious awareness in all she does and she places emphasis on gratitude; in seeking the magic of every moment.
Sue van Heerden
Registered Jikiden Reiki Shihan/Teacher and Equine Reiki Therapist
Sue van Heerden is a qualified and registered Jikiden Reiki Shihan/Teacher, facilitating high frequency energy processes, supportive crystal balancing techniques, and Earth connection work. She has been practicing and teaching Reiki and other forms of energy healing since 2004. Sue is an experienced horsewoman and equine Reiki therapist, and a Teacher for the Angel Connection School of Africa. Sue holds a degree in Journalism (with English and Psychology) and an Honours degree in English.
Her interest in the origins of Reiki led her to Japan on a pilgrimage to temples, shrines and sacred Reiki sites, including the magnificent Mount Kurama, the birthplace of Reiki. She visited the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Kyoto in 2010 and again in 2013, where she participated in Shoden, Okuden, and Teacher level training seminars with Tadao Yamaguchi, Head of the Jikiden Reiki Institute, and his Deputy Frank Arjava Petter, international Reiki author and teacher. As a result she invited Arjava to South Africa to teach and make Jikiden Reiki available in SA.
Sue believes that Reiki is a precious gift and magical path to enlightenment, with its deep awareness for the kindness and respect always shown to others.
M.Sc. Medical Science (Stellenbosch) and Journey Practitioner
Nokwanda Ngombane obtained an Honours degree in Biology (B.Sc), with majors in Microbiology and Physiology. These themes laid the foundation of a fascination around the complex interactions between humans and the environment and the beauty of the human body with its ability to renew, repair, and “to speak”.
She published a Research Article in an International Journal, Inflammation: “Increased Levels of Transforming Growth Factor Beta 1 and Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor in Patients on CAPD” during 1999 and in 2009 she completed a Master of Science in Medical Sciences. She later completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Health and Welfare Management. She is a public servant with 7 years’ middle management and 2 years’ senior management experience, impeccable analytical, research and report writing abilities and as a strategic thinker, influencer and skilled motivator, she has impressive contract, project and operational management experience.
The complex interactions of nature continue to fascinate her and through her currently registration for Doctoral Studies in Health Studies, she hopes to understand why South Africans are still killed by tuberculosis and how this mystery can be resolved.
Body-talk Practitioner, Yoga Teacher and Reiki Master
Losinda is a qualified Yoga teacher, Aroma therapist, Reflexologist, Sport massage therapist, Body-talk Practitioner and Reiki Master. She has a love for natural therapies, which bring harmony, peace and relaxation in the body, mind and soul.
Her passion is to assist the individual in a holistic manner, through movement, breathe work and meditation, to find the balance from within.
Losinda believes: “Yoga is more than a work out, it’s a work in!”
Hospitality Management, Chef and Events Planner and Strategist
Jaco is a qualified Hotelier and Chef. He completed his bachelor’s degree in hospitality management at the Central University of the Free State. His thesis on customer perceptions and growth of organic produce was published in 2014 in a well-known Korean Magazine.
He has been working professionally in the hospitality industry since 2009 in various sectors of the industry. Jaco managed lodging for 4 years in the Free State and Northern Cape. He is known for his organic creativity and extravagant taste combinations.
His passions is events, cooking and entertainment as he show cases his work by means of food demonstrations to inspire people to try his recipes at home.
Level 2 Kinesiologist, Reflexologist, Aromatherapist and ITEC Sport Massage Therapist
Angelique is a qualified Aromatherapist & Reflexologist, ITEC Sport massage therapist & Level 2 Kinesiologist & certified in Bach Flower remedies.
She is also a Herbalife Wellness Coach & believes that if you give the body the correct tools, with a holistic approach, it can heal itself.
Her aim is to let someone leave her presence better than when they came into it, with practical tips and tools on how to reach your goals and increase you and your family’s wellbeing
HED (S) and Experiential Learning & Therapeutic Riding
AJ is a teacher with 15 years’ experience. His passion outside the classroom has always been coaching and participating in sport. After coaching his school’s 1st Rugby team for almost 10 years, he has shifted his focus to therapeutic riding for both children and adults, after experiencing the positive effects of Equistria’s horses on him personally. Being diagnosed and coping with ADD/ADHD himself, he has a deep understanding of this disorder and the challenges it brings into everyday life. It is his firm belief that everyone has a need to be outdoors and physically active. He now focusses on creating an environment where clients can be outdoors and active, while improving their general well-being, with the many benefits that horses bring and the distinct possibility to learn the same life lessons that competitive sport can offer.
Horse behaviour Specialist, Dressage Judge, Provincial Rider and Coach
Nicole Joubert has been riding and competing most of her life. She obtained a degree in B.Soc.Sc Psychology at the university of the Free State and got accepted into the Honours program. Part of this program was Dr Pravani Naidoo’s community service learning project at Equistria Centre, and this is where Nicole started giving private lessons to both abled and disabled riders.
After two years as a junior lecturer and tutor at the Anthropology Department at UOFS, she went on to ride professionally and upon returning to Bloemfontein she completed two courses at the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Institute of South Africa, (EAPISA), as well as a year course in Equine Ethology. As a Provincial rider herself, she started Avoca Ranch to assist young riders in reaching their goals and Avoca Ranch Equine Assisted Exploration was founded in August 2017. Driven and intense, Nicole believes horses can help us obtain an awareness beneficial to all.
EAGALA Horse Behaviour Specialist and NLP Life Coach and Practitioner
Nicky has been involved with horses for more than 35 years, a passion that started at a very young age. Having always had a drive to experience horses on a different level from that of just riding them, she pursued Natural Horsemanship in the UK. She also visited Australia to further her knowledge. An interest in psychology led Nicky to investigate how she could use horses to help people, emotionally and came across EAGALA. Since then she has completed her training with EAGALA. She is also an internationally qualified NLP Life Coach and NLP Practitioner. From a corporate environment as a PA and in Marketing she was fortunate and blessed to be given the opportunity to start her own therapy centre. Her intention is to enable corporate groups to experience the power that horses have in teambuilding exercises and to offer individuals the opportunity to encounter spiritual healing through equine-assisted therapy.
You are always one decision away from a totally different life.
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