AOI Teaching Team

We have an exceptional, highly motivated team of lecturer/practitioners who treat animals regularly in their careers. Their wealth of knowledge and camaraderie offers our delegates the very best opportunity to learn in a fun and relaxed setting. We also understand that students learn in a variety of ways, which is why we teach with various models of learning and aim to keep the whole experience calm and supportive.

We also believe in the power of community and learning together, not in egos and isolation. So, when you attend an AOI course, you will see that we work together as a team, without hierarchy. Because we all have something to bring to the table and caring for each other is part of who we are.

management team

Dustie Houchin - Programme Director

Dustie has worked in the therapeutic field since the age of 16. After a number of years working in sports medicine, personal training and rehabilitation, Dustie decided to undertake osteopathic training and graduated from the British School of Osteopathy in 1998, before completing a Diploma in Animal Osteopathy with the European School of Osteopathy. Since then, Dustie has worked in animal and human private practice.

Dustie furthered her education at Ashridge Business School graduating in 2006 from their Advanced Management Programme before completing an MBA with Warwick Business School and  being awarded a scholarship to attend SDA Bocconi School of Management.

Dustie’s empathetic nature and unique way of working with her patients allows her to work in a truly osteopathic manner, her ability to analyse the animal, its environment and understanding its needs allows her to communicate in a truly all-encompassing manner delving into complex cases with astounding results.

Dustie’s wish to support the welfare of animals and improve osteopathic education in the animal field led to her undertake a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, after which is became Programme Leader of the MSc, PG Dip and PG certificate in Animal Osteopathy, Validated by the University of Greenwich as well as other consulting roles for the development of animal osteopathic courses.

Dustie’s fight for the animal osteopathic profession and the welfare of animals led to her being a Founder Member & Chair of the Association of Animal Osteopaths and the Officer of Education and Quality Assurance for the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP). Dustie is also a QAA Reviewer & Assessor for the General Osteopathic Council and the CEO of Herdwick & Goose Limited. 

Dustie has supported hundreds, if not thousands, of students during her time as an international lecturer and examiner of animal & human osteopathy (Russia, Poland, Denmark, UK, Austria, Italy) and has presented lectures and run workshops at international conferences. She is a Master Practitioner of Animal Osteopathy and also specialist paediatric osteopath. 

Eleanor Andrews - Director of Education

Eleanor Andrews (Educational Director & Master Practitioner of Animal Osteopathy) is an animal and human osteopath based in the UK.

She has taught both internationally and in the UK for a number of years, supporting hundreds of students to reach their academic goals. Eleanor brings her experience not only as senior lecturer on the MSc (Animal Osteopathy) at the European School of Osteopathy in Kent, UK but also as a postgraduate and international lecturer of human and animal osteopathy, academic dissertation supervisor, Master’s level examiner and moderator. She also holds a PG Cert in Higher Education and has lectured at conferences and to specialised groups.

Clinically, Eleanor works in private animal and human osteopathic practices, incorporating an extensive equine background. She has further developed her equine and canine anatomy, biomechanics, neurology, pathology, orthopaedics, and rehabilitation through research and self study, attending seminars and carrying out dissections, post-mortems, and paraprofessional observations.

Eleanor works with a wide variety of mammals, breeds and disciplines across all levels, rehabilitating animals post-injury, working with young animals to ensure they are ready for working life, supporting those who are changing career or discipline and working with older animals to keep them happy and active.

She enjoys looking at osteopathic concepts as relate to animals and ensuring ‘the whole’ is looked at. Eleanor believes that we should treat in harmony with our animal patients working with their own system to achieve optimal function. She has an innate ability to be in-tune with patient needs and find/treat the cause not just the symptoms, often removing long standing compensation patterns and facilitating profound changes, using flow and rhythm to enhance her treatment. She understands the importance of a strong focus on the day to day environment and changes owners can make to support their animal’s quality of life and how to achieve this.

AOI Lecturers & Speakers

Bettina Hvidemose - Behaviourist and Osteopath

Bettina is an animal behavior therapist and manual therapist/osteopath based in Hirtshals, Denmark. Together with her team of colleagues she runs “Center for Animal Therapy” offering animal training, behavioral consultations, manual treatments and rehabilitation for dogs and horses. In addition, Bettina and her team teach a variety of courses and educations within the field.

Bettina graduated her BSc in Applied Animal Behavior in 2006 and she has a special interest in how physical challenges impact animal behavior and thus, how many behavioral issues are consequences of pain and/or physical restrictions. Therefore, Bettina has expanded her knowledge into physical approaches to animal biomechanics and treatment and she holds qualifications in different approaches to manual therapy. In 2018 – 2019 Bettina completed the Stage 1 and 2 courses, both canine and equine pathways, with Animal Osteopathy International.

Bettina is passionate about improving animal welfare from a holistic approach including both brain and body. Both dogs, horses and cats are included in Bettina’s everyday practice and teaching field. As a curiosity, she also works with marine mammals, applying ethology and learning theory to enrichment and husbandry training for seals.

If you are interested in learning more about Learning Theory for horses and dogs, why not check out her courses by clicking below. Bettina also has owner courses, which can be found under the Owner Course tab.   

Laura Marttila - Osteopath

Laura is an enthusiastic osteopath who has graduated from Finnish Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. She has qualified with a post-graduate certificate in Animal Osteopathy in 2017, and received a post-graduate diploma in Animal Osteopathy in 2018 from the European School of Osteopathy. Prior to her osteopathic career, Laura has also studied Equine Massage in Finnish Tampere Sport Massage Institute.

Her passion for working with animals has started in early age and she has worked as a groom and rider at internationally known showjumping stables both in Finland and abroad. On top of osteopathic studies and postgraduate seminars Laura has attended several local and international workshops and seminars in several topics, e.g. dissections, physiology of animal behaviour, calming signals, pain, orthopedics and biomechanics. 

She is a member of board of Finnish Association of Animal Osteopaths. Laura enjoys to share her knowledge and has given talks about canine and equine anatomy in Finland.”

Yogi Sharp - Farrier

Yogi Sharp DipWCF DipHE qualified in 2009 with the best NVQ in his college and runner up in the county for his year, and since then he has taken a keen interest in the academics and scientific approach to farriery. A few years ago he made the decision to downsize his business and direct it toward a veterinary and practitioner referral focused enterprise, where he enjoys putting science into practice. This came hand in hand with starting his studies toward achieving the BSc (hons) in Farriery Science at Myerscough. 

Shortly after beginning the degree course, he established “The Equine Documentalist” in following with his other passion of research and education. He spends long hours researching scientific papers and creating palatable articles to bring equine science to the general horse owning public.

Through the platform of “The Equine Documentalist” Yogi has become both an international educator and farriery consultant. He lectures for educational institutes, private groups and equine charities both nationally and internationally on farriery related science, with a focus on holistic consideration of the fluid relationship between the hoof and the rest of the horse.

Yogi is also a founding member of Vet-IR involved in thermography research and education using the modality in his research projects. He is also writing a lecture series for AOI’s community to educate practitioners about Farrier Science and holistic integration. This lecture series will be out in the spring/summer of 2021. 

Jade Douglas (BVMS, MRCVS)​

RCVS recognised Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Ophthalmology

Upon graduating from Glasgow University in 2000, Jade worked in a mixed practice on the west coast of Scotland. Exciting as it was, two years was enough to prompt the search for a warmer, drier climate.  She moved down to Dorset in 2002 where she has worked in small animal practice ever since. Today, Jade works as a Senior Vet with Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.
 
Jade loves the variety that general practice brings. She will sometimes use acupuncture to complement medical treatments, predominately for osteoarthritis in geriatric patients. Her professional passion is ophthalmology. She obtained her AP status in veterinary Ophthalmology in 2017. Jade welcomes collaboration with other clinicians, within and out with the veterinary profession.

Rachael Sivyer - Master Saddler & Osteopath

Rachael has alway been passionate animals, especially dogs and horses. She started riding at 10 years old and her work at the stables of David Broome started a 36 year career that took Rachael’s career on an exciting journey! Rachael has managed various yards with horses ranging from happy hackers to competition. She has schooled horses and coached the riders, both on the flat and over jumps; focusing on classical flat work and ground work too. She has also spent a lifetime rescuing and rehabilitating horses, in and out of the saddle; normally the ‘dangerous ones’ (with either behavioural problems and/or physical challenges). 
 
In addition to the above, Rachael spent 9 years in equine vet practise as a diagnostic technician, where she gained much knowledge and experience working with some great equine vets. During this time, Rachael felt that she could do more for horses, so she trained to become a veterinary physiotherapist. Since then, she has continued to study, including chiropractic techniques with Andrew Glastier B.Sc.D.C. and Level I and II of the AOI’s academic pathway.
 
To complement her therapeutic background, Rachael spent 2 years training with an SMS Master Saddler and then went on to qualify with The Master Saddle Fitting Consultants as a saddle fitter and  also with Jochen Schlesse. In addition, she holds certificates in saddlery repair and adjustments. This has given her the ability to make educated choices as to what works best for the horse and rider to ensure a fully holistic approach. This, Rachael believes is the only way to achieve great outcomes.
 
Later this year, our community will see practitioner and owner courses being released with Rachael, so if you’re interested in the connections between saddlery and osteopathic integration, keep an eye on our blog and Facebook group. 

Emma Thorne & Debra Richmond

Equine Hydrotherapy Specialists

Debra and Emma make up a dynamic duo. They both have extensive equine experience linked to training and hydrotherapy. In 2021, our community will see two new courses arrive from these amazing women; both online. One for practitioners and one for horse owners. Keep an eye on our blog and Facebook group for more information!

Debra Richmond MSc, PGCert, BHS Stage 4 Coach

Debra has several years experience of teaching hydrotherapy to undergraduate students  and acting as a dissertation supervisor as part of her journey through education as a teacher and coach.  With a special interest in the anatomy and physiology of the equine athlete, hydrotherapy and its development as a tool to support fitness and rehabilitation of equines has been a particular fascination.  Debras’ journey has seen her teaching a diverse range of students from young children in SEMH specialist education to specialist equine hydrotherapy for postgraduate students, running a large equine department in an FE college and managing curriculum in other educational settings.  

Debra is also a Master Practitioner of NLP and a Cognitive Hypnotherapist specialising in Sports Performance for equestrian disciplines, so she is hugely excited about exploring ways for human and equine athletes to achieve beyond their own, and others, expectations.  As a holistic practitioner she is passionate about exploring cohesive methods of working with others to maximise results and share resources.

Debra is currently engaged in research in the field of Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL), with a focus on how EFL affects positive behaviour trajectories in ‘at risk’ youth. Additional interests lie in the field of Equine Facilitated Learning. 

Emma Thorne BSc. BHSAI, DET

Emma’s passion for working with horses accelerated following her degree in Equine Science in 2013. She has also worked as a groom in a number of disciplines for national and international riders in eventing, show jumping and racing. Following completion of her degree she undertook a role as a therapy technical instructor working in a hydrotherapy unit, from here her passion for hydrotherapy blossomed traveling around the UK and North America visiting other hydrotherapy centres. 

Emma is a Centre Manager and lecturer at Greenwich Equestrian Centre in partnership with University of Greenwich where she continues to develop students skills both practically and academically in a range of topics, including acting as a dissertation supervisor. The hydrotherapy centre there is amazing with a pool, water treadmill and spa used in both commercial and educational settings. Emma is also a part of the Equine Hydrotherapy Working group and a member of the IEH under IRVAP supporting the development of research and education surrounding Equine Hydrotherapy.

Federica Cantatore - Veterinarian

Federica graduated in 2014, at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Turin. As a student, she had the opportunity to visit clinics in Belgium, France and UK. Immediately after graduation, she moved to a busy practice in the north of the UK,  where she completed her veterinary internship and subsequently decided to stay.

She is a joint Resident of the American College of Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation between Pool House Equine Clinic and the University of Turin. Her main interests are equine orthopaedics and sports medicine, with a particular interest in emergency and anaesthesia. Federica worked with horses and rode to good level for many years before becoming a vet, giving her a solid foundation in the equine field. She also has an adorable rescue dog called ‘Pudding’ who often joins her when she teaches for the AOI.

Faye Andrews - Osteopath

Faye Andrews, holds one of the only MSc. qualifications in Animal Osteopathy that exist from a UK based osteopathic school. Graduating with honours, Faye soon became a member of the AOI teaching team after qualifying. With a an interest and focus on canine rehabilitation, Faye is able to share years of [personal/owner] experience in the field of postoperative care of dogs with her students and has a strong hands-on approach to learning. Faye also works at University College of Osteopathy as a lecturer of osteopathic technique and writes for Westie & Besties. The UK’s only West Highland Terrier Magazine.

AOI VACANCIES

Do you teach already or feel that teaching is something that would like to get involved with but you’d like the backing of experienced lecturers? If so, AOI is always looking for talented animal specialists (not just animal osteopaths) to join our team. So, if you are interested in teaching, send in your resume and contact details to contact@animalosteopathyinternational.com

Teaching options available: 

  • Specialist Pop-Up Speakers – to speak as a specialist. Being interviewed for the purpose of an online webinar and/or podcast. 
  • Specialist Lecturers – for those interested in developing a standalone online course with AOI on an isolated topic. 
  • Supporting lecturers – people who want to help to create online content that we can use in our mainstream programmes. 
  • Associate lecturers – for newer practitioners who want to help with our international/online projects but need more experience before lecturing on their own. 

 

Supporting & Endorsed Teachers

Gillian Higgins

Whilst Gillian doesn’t work with AOI as a lecturer, we support her work because she is passionate about horses, anatomy and sharing all she knows for the good of the horse. An authority in equine anatomy and biomechanics, a BHS Senior Coach, professional sports and remedial therapist, author and with a first class honours degree in Equine Science and Business Management. Gillian specialises in teaching anatomy and biomechanics in a fascinating and practical way. She is well known for her anatomical painting on live horses which she uses for her teaching.

Gillian founded Horses Inside Out in 2006, to give horse owners, riders, trainers and professionals a fascinating insight into equine locomotion, training and management from an anatomical perspective.

Horses Inside Out is now internationally recognised as a leading provider of equine education incorporating a solid understanding of anatomy and biomechanics with the most recent scientific developments alongside tried and tested traditional methods. AOI supports Gillian’s work because she makes such a positive contribution to the equine education community and we appreciate all the work she does to help horses. Her books can be found on their own unique page on our website. 

Margrit Coates - Animal Healer

Margrit Coates is a senior practitioner with the British Register of Complementary Practitioners (Healer Counsellor) and has written 7 books on the topic of animal healing and communication.

Margrit Coates is the worlds’ leading expert in the use of healing energy for animals, with nearly 30 years experience. As well as discovering a new energy centre in animals, Margrit has developed unique techniques for resolving energy blockages in the body and cranio-sacral system rebalancing and unwinding. The use of healing energy holistically helps the animal on mental, emotional and physical levels. The techniques enhance other modalities to work on a deeper level. Margrit is renowned as an inspirational teacher helping people harness their innate healing power as well as awaken the intuitive ability.