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When I first advertised my services after becoming Qualified, there was a point I thought – “oh I might not get any business, maybe owner’s might not be interested” – well crikey, I was wrong! I was actually flooded with bookings! It was mind blowing!

I’m Sophie Taiki, I’m 28 years old from Echuca VIC and my story begins on the 31st of August 2018.

A random trip to the sale yards in Echuca VIC for the first time ever.

200 horses went through the sales that day.

I was walking around the yards, looking at all the sweet horses, hoping they would receive a forever home.

In all honestly, I didn’t want to be there. It wasn’t “my atmosphere”.. I’m a emotional person and I love all animals, big and small, I found it a confronting experience.

Come 1pm, I have had enough, walking around feeling sorry for myself that I couldn’t take all the horses home.

I had no intention to bring a horse home anyway, I didn’t have a float, I didn’t have money to pay someone to transport a horse for me so I actually don’t know why I went in the first place.

Just as I walking down the stairs to the car park, I heard someone yelling into a microphone. Me, being nosey, I went to see what was going on. Turns out it was the ridden section of the sales and horses were being bidded on. I decided to stay and watch. It was so loud listening to the man on the microphone, the bidders yelling to put in their bid. That wasn’t my scene either.

The man on the microphone then yells “Here’s a 12 year old Thoroughbred, Charlie Tango.. 16.3hh.. gelding”

Wasn’t much else information after that. I was watching Charlie trot in the little yard. Then all that yelling in the microphone, all the yelling from the bidders, it just went silent.. and this horse was trotting in slow motion, I felt really sick in my stomach for some reason, it was like Charlie was looking directly at me. It was a complete out of body experience. I suddenly through my hand up and the next thing I hear was “SOLD”. My heart literally dropped. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. How was I going to get this horse home? What was husband going to think?

Well turns out I had a friend at the sales that day with a float, and she kindly took Charlie to my house for me. Oh man, I was in trouble from my husband. He didn’t speak to me for 3 days.

I didn’t know anything about this horse at all but I soon came to learn why he ended up there in the first place.

Hooves – completely cracked to the coronet band on all 4.

Teeth – ridiculously sharp.

Back – Horrendous, just horrendous.

Despite all this, Charlie Tango was my horse, my boy. He became my responsibility. For the next 7 months, I spent a whole lot of time, love and money, bringing Charlie back into health and happiness. Re-training him on the ground, in saddle and on a float.

Every experience for Charlie, he was filled with such anxiety! We had to start at the very beginning..

He was exactly like me, I honestly believe I needed him, just as much as he needed me.

About a month prior to getting Charlie, my anxiety, I’ve had my whole life, was at an all time high. I was waking during the night crying and sweating from nightmares. My nightmares were really horrible. They were really affecting me as a person and the way I carried myself through my life. I was having quite bad panic attacks that would come out of no-where. I almost couldn’t cope.

But since getting Charlie, my anxiety has reduced to almost nothing and my nightmares haven’t returned. I haven’t had a single panic attack again either.. His given me this sense of calm that fills my soul when I am with him.

Come March 18th 2019, I decided to enrol in a Equine Sports Massage course. After everything I had been through with Charlie, the one thing I really enjoyed and loved through the learning process was basic massaging him that I learnt on YouTube. What I was doing, really helped him and his back! I really enjoyed it, seeing him in pure happiness as my hands slid across his back.

So I decided to become Qualified and learn what I needed to, correctly and thoroughly.

4.5 months later, I received my certificate as a Qualified Equine Sports Massage Therapist!

It was a big moment for me. I worked so hard to get that Certificate! I didn’t stop studying.. being a stay at home mum, I had that opportunity to really get into the course – my daughter is 3 so she’s easily occupied.

I ended up massaging 56 horses for free, I only needed to complete 25 and 1 videoed, with all the theory and the week of practical in Melbourne of course!

I started a Facebook business page the last week of August, TANGO IT Equine Therapeutics & Services – Sophie Taiki (which is of course dedicated to Charlie Tango), and before I know it, I was at 50 followers, then 100, then 300 plus! I was literally only a week into operating a business page!

I offered my service and my phone just blew up. I booked out my services for September within a week, working four days per week, 5 horses per day.

A massive highlight for me, and what I’m most proud of so far, is being asked and being able to treat racing Thoroughbreds!

That’s huge!

With Charlie being a Thoroughbred, I’ve really become attached to the breed. They are such a versatile and beautiful breed!

I’ve been really quite busy with my new business, while still being a mother to my 3 year old daughter, a wife to my husband and running a farm – we have 4 big dogs, a cat and the 2 horses. It’s been fantastic so far! I’ve had really fantastic feedback from all my current clients with lots of re-booking, then always getting new clients which is amazing! I’m currently booking into November already!

I’ve met so many great people as-well! People I can now call friends! Friends that invite me over for coffee and to go riding. Not as their massage therapist, but as Sophie.

I think what people love about me is I’m open, I’m honest, I’m real, my heart is huge, I always have the horse’s best interest and frankly, I think I’m pretty funny!

I’m really easy to talk to as-well, just a genuinely down to earth woman!

And I’ve had really great support so far!

People who haven’t met me before, just that have heard my name.. they show support! It’s amazing!

I never thought I would be so busy, so quickly! It’s actually insane!

On the business side of things, I don’t seem to stress about it. Whatever will be, will be! I just continue to be myself and I think it shows.

I do have big plans for the future, expanding, doing new courses to continue my education, getting out and about with my Charlie Tango and more!

I honestly couldn’t be happier right now. I’ve definitely found my calling – which I’ve been looking for, for a really long time.

If I didn’t randomly go to the Echuca Sales that day and find Charlie Tango, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today.

His given me a passion, dedication and a whole lot love towards horses!

Charlie literally changed my life.

In all ways possible!

I love him for that, I’m really lucky to have found him when I did. It was fate in my eyes

His a very special horse!.

I really love what I do and what I have been able to achieve in such a short period of time.

I don’t classify what I do as “work”.. I get up in the morning and can’t wait to leave! Either to meet new clients or return to clients!

I love that I can do that, just wake up and be happy!

I am very blessed.

My husband forgave me quickly by the way, he married me on the 9th February 2019 and Charlie was apart of my special day of course!

My husband actually loves Charlie now!

All my family and friends are all so proud of me, to watch how I’ve transformed as a person in the last 12 months has been pretty remarkable! They have all supported me  from the beginning!

Now, I will continue to grow and learn, keep treating horses to the absolute best of my ability, 110%, spend time with my Charlie, my family & friends and just keep doing what I love!

Author: Sophie Taiki

Sophie Taiki is a newly graduated Equine Sports Massage Therapist from Victoria, Australia, who has taken her education and started her massage business at 100 miles an hour. Her enthusiasm and drive shows both on her social media and in the fast growth of her business. You can check her out at TANGO IT.

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