The Longer Story
Growing up in Germany I started riding at the age of five, and horses have played a major role in my life ever since. The German history, culture and some of the people who influenced my life throughout my first 26 years gave me some strong flavors to taste, some of them tremendously beautiful, funny, creative and loving, some of them disturbingly violent and sobering, all of them great lessons in life that contributed to shaping the person I am today.
I went to art school in Kiel, Northern Germany, trained horses on the side, worked in clubs, interned in design studios, finished my studies as a communications designer, married an American producer/director, moved to San Francisco and started working as an art director in advertising specializing in medical products and services. Years later I moved to Los Angeles, continuing my work as an art director and creative director for Disney, Paramount and other entertainment companies. After many years of working non-stop, riding horses, traveling the world, a fading marriage and a health downfall later, I returned to Germany for a year of hospital stays and loving care provided by my cherished family, friends and horses, a life-changing introduction to energy work (Reiki), before finally coming back to the living with an enormous sense of gratitude, a whole new sense of myself and appreciation for life.
I returned to California to work for Monty Roberts, one of the legendary originators of natural horsemanship, for several years. I toured with him internationally, worked with Mustangs and 'remedial' horses (and people) and graduated as an instructor for his methodology. Eventually I moved on to working as an independent horse trainer specializing in Dressage and groundwork. My mission became to provide gentle training solutions for horses and people based on classical Dressage principles and the horse’s natural response system. You can find out more about that part of my life at www.gentlesolutionsdressage.com.
A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to go through the educational program and apprenticeship to become a Martha Beck certified master life coach. Martha Beck, renowned master life-coach, monthly columnist for 'O, The Oprah Magazine' and author of many bestselling books, is also a wonderful, personal friend and a most generous mentor of mine. I am currently offering my services as a life coach and horse professional to help people wake up to a more alive and whole-hearted life path. I've also also been finding my way into writing essays, blog pieces and have a couple of books in the works.
The Short Story
My name is Katja Elk. I am a certified Martha Beck master life coach. I’m also a horse trainer and often work with horses to help people understand their true nature as energetic beings, find their callings and realize their most joyful lives.
I love seeing people ‘raise their windhorse’ — raise their energy to stay in balanced harmony with the world — and blossom into who they are truly meant to be.
Using my background as a former art/creative director in the entertainment industry, my work as a horse trainer and facilitator of equine-assisted retreats, as well as my conceptual knowledge of current thought leaders (Martha Beck, Byron Katie, Peter Levine, Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh, etc.), I humbly offer a variety of services (private sessions, themed gatherings, corporate retreats, etc.) to individuals and groups.