Name: Louisa Marais
Location: Bloemfontein, South Africa
Certifications through Angel's Animals: Certified Equine Holistic Nutritionist
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? I decided I wanted to work with animals probably when I was around 14 or 15; a year prior I learned how to ride horses and then started learning how to train them. My passion for horses grew from there and initially I wanted to become a horse trainer. It was only later on when I discovered an even greater passion for equine rehabilitation after my own horses faced several health challenges. I've never looked back and working with horses is honestly my dream job, and I love being able to wake up in the morning and go out into the world ready to make a difference.
What animal influenced you the most growing up? Wow this is a difficult one! During my teenage years I had amazing and challenging horses cross my path and each had a lesson to teach me which I'll be forever grateful for. If I had to pick one it would probably be my very first horse, Flicka. She came into my life at a time where I was very uncertain of myself and had to still discover who I was and who I wanted to be. She didn't have the best life before we met and came to me terrified. Through helping her through her fears she helped me through many of my own insecurities, and helped me become the person I am today.
What animals do you currently own? I currently own 3 amazing horses: Flicka who is still with me after so many years and still puts a smile on my face every day, Elvira who is my black beauty rescue mare that make me laugh, and Paige my chestnut mare who made me look differently at horses with challenging behaviour.
What makes your animal nutrition practice stand out? There are so many ways in which I approach nutrition differently; while many nutritionists focus on meeting the nutritional requirements of the horse (which is very important), I go a step further by looking at how healthy each ingredient of the diet is and how that can affect the horse's body. Many ingredients may meet nutritional requirements, for example being high enough in energy and protein, but can then have a negative impact on the body through being inflammatory or being a GMO product and damaging the microbiome of the horse. I look at the diet by assessing nutritional requirements and nutrient balance, the individual horse, how healthy the diet is but also look at the owner's situation and what they can afford to provide.
What message would you like to share with potential clients? I would be absolutely honoured to be a part of your journey. I have horses who struggled with so many health challenges in the past so I know how it feels when you have a horse who is not thriving, or who is dealing with a specific health concern, I understand the rollercoaster and the emotions that come with it. I didn't just study nutrition and other areas of horse care, I have helped my horses through some of the most difficult times and you can believe me when I tell you I will go above and beyond to help your horse in any way that I can.
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursuing a career with animals? GO FOR IT! I cannot promise that it's going to be easy or that you'll only have success throughout your career, but the change you will see in the animal, the difference you'll make in the owner's life and the pure joy and happiness you'll feel in your heart will be worth it.
Every month Dr. Barbara acknowledges and showcases one of her certified practitioners! You could be next!