Josepha Guillaume

Since 2004, Josepha Guillaume is known for her specialism in horse friendly dressage and classical riding in Belgium, the Netherlands and elsewhere. She grew up with horses and has worked with horses for over 20 years, professionally and recreationally. Josepha can be called the founding mother of the Natural dressage. She is the one that bridged the gap between bitless bridle and classical dressage, before these were two different worlds. “Natural dressage” did not exist when Josepha tried to Google it in 2006. She had already been experimenting with bitless bridle and bridleless dressage and to share her knowledge she started with some other trainers the worldwide hit This website was a real hit and the Natural Dressage was born.

This forum attracted millions of visitors in a short time and more than 900 members from all over the world. Some postings hit 2 million visitors.

From the experiments in ” The Art of Natural Dressage” period Josepha developed her own pure and unique training system and called it ” Natural (and academic) riding, this was completely new to the horse world. The training system was developed based on the Old art of Riding according to a.o. Antoine De Pluvinel and Francois Robichon de La Guernière, carried out with only positive behavior training that resulted from the training of many horses that were given up as being out of control. With Josepha’s training method these horses could go back to work and function well.

Did you also know that in 2004 Josepha developed the soft cavesson and that through her international clinics and workshops? This cavesson got so much publicity that it is now the standard bitless bridle for classic dressage.


Josepha was concerned about horses from early age on, one of her first words was “horse” and anyone that knows her also knows her only interest is in horses. As a little girl she was always found near the ponies at the local fair. At the age of 12 she started taking riding lessons but already at the age of 16 she took care of ponies and gave lessons to beginners every Wednesday and Saturday.

Furthermore she was the one that took care of difficult horses and young horses that needed to be taught to wear a saddle. She often worked as groom for the charioteer and his 4 horses. She prepared the horses all by herself before competitions. At the age of 16 she left for Brussels to work as a groom in the race horse stables of Claude Dondi. After some time Josepha stopped this work and started looking for a way to work with horses without harming them or make them feel uncomfortable. She worked for several years in the fitness world as trainer. The parallel of motivating and a healthy muscle development between human fitness and the gymnasium of a horse now also plays an important role. Josepha also followed weekly meditation lessons with Hedwig Jorissen and took over her students. The wide experience with fitness and meditation is very helpful in the training of horses as well as the work with riders.

In 2001 Josepha received, from her husband Ralph, a 17 year old rejoneador (Portugese bullfighting horse ,where pure fighting tradition and horsemanship can still be found) Don Jamie. This Hispano Arabian from Madrid taught Josepha the exercises of the Classical Horsemanship and so the search for the European Horsemanship started. In 2004 Josepha and her husband started the first bitless bridle shop in the world, Equihof, and it was in a short time a trend setter. Nowadays there are many online shops witch sell bitless bridles and saddles , also in the Equihof remarkable black and green color and also often called ” equi…”. Because of the many international requests for revalidation of horses Josepha stopped with the shop and concentrated on trainings and lessons. Josepha gave clinics in whole Benelux, Germany, Spain but also in South Africa.

In 2009 Josepha and her husband started the centre TAONARA (The Academy Of Natural Academic Riding) On top of the many private lessons and clinics there are also day courses that are usually fully booked. As the request for lessons became so frequent that Josepha could not handle it anymore, she decided to teach new instructors and taught them her training method and so in 2012 the Equus Universalis courses became fact. As many instructors chose a name for their methods that are equal to Academic Riding of Natural Horsemanship, Josepha and Ralph decided that their system would now be called Equus Universalis (protected brand name)

Josepha has given electorates at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and at the college in Gent.

Her first book in German, ‘Problemlos Gebisslos’ was published in 2015 by Cadmos and later in English ‘Riding without a bit’ in 2017, she was also interviewed by the magazine of the Beuckeburgse Hofreitschule. We see more articles from Josepha in several magazines, as recently in Horse’s Hoof but also other countries, as for example Letland, sometimes publish her articles. Josepha still teaches private lessons and gives clinics in Netherlands and abroad. She also gave demonstrations on important international horse events such as Horse Expo Gent, Horse Event Deurne and Equitana in Germany.

Thanks to Oberbereiter Andreas Hausberger from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Josepha and her instructors regularly receive lessons from Bereiter Helmut Oberhausen. Thus the 450 year old knowledge of the oldest and best riding school in the world is added to the Equus Universalis repertoire. Josepha and her instructors work hard so that Equus Universalis becomes the most important school in Europe for horsemanship, and so let the well being of the horses become priority at all times.