Horses have been a passion of mine practically since birth. As soon as I was able to speak, I talked about horses non stop. No one else in the household was a horse lover and I didn’t even see many horses where we lived (a small seaside town in Poland), but somehow I decided horses would be a lifelong passion even before I ever rode one. I did get a pony ride here and there, and it was confirmed, I was hooked. We moved to the Lower Mainland when I was nine and I convinced my parents to sign me up for riding lessons. They were supportive, but I’m pretty sure they thought it was just a phase I would soon outgrow. That certainly never happened. I knew right away that I wanted to work with horses, but didn’t know in what capacity. I really looked up to my coach at the time and thought about the idea of training horses and teaching riding. I helped her with summer camps for a couple of years before realizing that I had far more patience for horses than people, so the daily teaching thing was not going to work out well. I knew I wanted to help horses in some way, but Equine Massage was not really a recognized profession yet twenty years ago. Even today most people who don’t have horses are surprised when they hear that it is what I do for a living. I decided being a veterinarian would be the only way to do what I wanted. After high school I was very excited to begin my studies at UBC and volunteer with some local veterinarians. Unfortunately, I realized very quickly that it would not be the right fit for me. What I really wanted was to find a way to help horses in a way that they also really enjoyed. There is something about gaining a horse’s trust and building a relationship with them that I find very rewarding. It is tough to do when you only see horses in times of emergency or when you’re there to do routine veterinary work which is generally not very pleasant to the horse. The experience was eye opening, I really gained a lot of respect for what veterinarians do, but it was also very disheartening. I thought I knew what I wanted to do since I was about 12 and now here I was completely lost. To top it all off, I wasn’t enjoying my time at UBC at all. As if dropping out after my first year wasn’t enough of a shock to my family, I soon told them I was going to be moving to Ontario to pursue Equine Massage. I had searched and searched for career options and when I stumbled across the D’Arcy Lane Institute website after a night of googling, I knew I had found my calling. This was the job for me, and D’Arcy Lane was the school. It’s the only program at a human massage therapy school which is the equivalent to the human program. I had sent in my application, spent the rest of the year working to save up money, found a roommate online (who turned out to be amazing) and waved bye to the family when they dropped me off at the airport. I have been sure this is what I should be doing every single day since. It was an intense two years of school. Much more so in many ways than first year studies in the UBC Science Department, believe it or not. I loved it the entire time I was there, learning is pretty exciting when you’re really passionate about it. I graduated in 2004, moved back to BC excited to start my career. I still absolutely love the fact that most of the horses enjoy their massages so thoroughly. It brings a smile to my face each time I massage a new horse and their demeanor changes the moment they realize how good a massage feels. I also love hearing from the owners and trainers after the appointment is over. I never in my wildest dreams imagined massage could make so much of a difference to a 1200lb animal when I first started at D’Arcy Lane. Every situation is different and in turn each horse responds differently, but often the positive results are very dramatic. Nothing beats receiving a text from a client a few days post massage telling me how wonderful their horse is feeling and moving.