“The rapid evolution of mankind began when he became friends with horses. Somewhere along the way, man got lost. Horses invite us back to our true nature.” – Fotini Chandrika Walton
Fotini has been fascinated with horses since as far back as she can remember. She was a highly sensitive and empathic child with a strong connection to animals and felt and unspoken connection to the level of awareness in horses.
In early adulthood, Fotini began exploring this special connection. Starting out by working part time at a thoroughbred breeding facility, and then moving from barn to barn experimenting with western and English equestrian activities, Fotini quickly realized that traditional horsemanship was not where she was being drawn in to be with horses. During long country drives with her family, she continued to day dream about a life with horses. Soon enough, Fotini and her husband fell in love with a house on a hill, perfectly nestled on a country property which they now call home.
On an unforgettable April Fool’s Day, a neighbour had a foal born at her barn. Fotini and her family immediately fell in love with the spotted little colt and the farm owner gave them the honor of naming him. There began their journey with “Snickers”, named by her then 2 year old son. Through their many visits and hours spent just “hanging out”, a strong relationship was growing between them. Fotini was no longer riding and had begun feeling stuck in her path with horses. She participated in a weekend Self Discovery workshop at Horse Spirit Connections and immediately knew her calling was to work with horses as teachers and healers.
Fotini and her family officially adopted Snickers and there began their learning curve as horse caregivers. In the few years that followed, three additional horses joined the herd, bringing along the colourful stories of their pasts. These horses had a lifetime of experiences with people and energy, and it would take time to earn their trust. The magic began as she and her horses shared their stories and began to heal, layer by layer, the chapters of their pasts. This would open the path for an exciting new adventure they were about to embark on together as partners in equine facilitated learning.
The more time Fotini spent building relationships with the members of the herd in her care and studying the language of horses, the more she realized that the ancestral wisdom of horses was aligned with the ancient practices of yoga and Ayurveda. This sparked a heart’s desire in Fotini to deepen her devotion to yoga and become a teacher with a special interest in Ayurveda (the healing branch of yoga).
The horses also inspired Fotini to rekindle her connection to poetry and other forms of expressive art that she had passionately enjoyed as a child. Her studio time flourished and Fotini shared her art through poetry publications, children’s books and visual arts. She has been recognized by local arts councils and horse collectives for her equine-inspired art in various mediums.
Inspired by her own journey of self-discovery and healing with horses, Fotini began to visualize a place where she, her family and the herd could combine and share their passion for contemplative practice and horse wisdom in order to inspire others to live to their greatest potential. With the help of the horses, non-profit organization, The Big Red Barn Creativity & Wellness Centre and, subsequently, Horse Wisdom Yoga were born. Offering FEEL sessions, workshops and retreats, as well as martial arts, mindfulness, yoga and expressive arts programs, surrounded by horses and nature, The Big Red Barn is an inclusive, safe space for people and animals!
Recognized by the Yoga Alliance, Horse Wisdom Yoga seeks to provide honest reflection of the practice through the wisdom of horses. With the help of horses, yoga practitioners will be guided to the heart of their eight limbed yoga practice where they will find balance and deep connection to their true nature. Yoga students can enjoy an Ayurvedic Wellness and Spa experience in the barn as well as Reiki and other energy work sessions are offered.
Along with a certification in Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL), Fotini holds certifications as an advanced Hatha Raja Yoga Teacher (RYT 500), Ayurvedic Consultant, Usui Reiki Practitioner, Mindfulness Meditation Instructor, Life Coach and Expressive Arts Facilitator. Fotini is a volunteer with the Caledon Community Services and Simcoe County District School Board. She is a member of the South Simcoe Arts Council, Yoga Alliance, Certified Coaches Foundation, International Association of Meditation Instructors and the FEEL Alumni.
In this day and age, where so many people are racing against the clock, Fotini is continuously amazed at how time truly stands still in the presence of horses. Fotini lives on a small farm in Tottenham, Ontario with her husband and son where they lovingly care for each other, the land and their inspiring herd of horse teachers.