The InterAction Collection

Looking for opportunities.

An SF conversation with Wendy Van den Bulck

May 16, 2021

John Brooker, Wendy Van den Bulck and brent-gardiner

Introduced by John Brooker

Wendy Van den Bulck is an SF leadership trainer in Belgium who works with horses to teach leaders how to become meaningful to others. I had always thought she applied Solution Focus with horses. As Wendy explains in the video, horses use Solutions Focus with people and each other, one might say, they are “SF Inside”, (with acknowledgement to Yasuteru Aoki, an SF practitioner from Japan, for that concept).

The conversation with Wendy reveals some remarkable and original insights into the lessons leaders can learn from horses, to improve their effectiveness and create a collaborative “herd” in their team, including:

• 360-degree awareness • Direction • Power • Thoroughness • Assertiveness

If you would like a fresh perspective on Solution Focus, grab a cup of your favourite drink, settle down and watch this video.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Jeff Parker, whom some of you will know from the Liverpool SOL conference, for the time and energy he donated to film and edit this video. It was much appreciated.

Review by brent-gardiner

When Dr. Karen Frewin and I published the first peer reviewed article about equine assisted psychotherapy (Frewin and Gardiner, 2005), we could not have imagined that article would now have been cited well over one hundred times, nor that equine assisted practice would have grown and developed to the extent that it has.

This interview with Wendy van den Bulck in Belgium provides a stunning example of the application of equine assisted practice in the organisational psychology space.

Wendy passionately describes how she uses horses as a tool to coach leaders in leadership. Particularly fascinating is the view she shares that the horses themselves and the way she works with them model a solution focused approach to leadership and a solution focused way of being, communicating and operating in the natural world.

Having started dozens of young horses myself, I was especially taken with the notion which Wendy conveys that she does not want the horse to follow her nor to control it, but that she wants to invite the horses to say ‘yes’ to what she offers them. She then explains this as a demonstration of how to be a leader rather than a boss and therefore doing so in a much more solution focused way.

About the Reviewer:

Brent Gardiner has been a solution focused practitioner, trainer, supervisor and consultant since the late 1990’s. He is currently programme leader for the Master of Counselling Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.


Frewin, K. & Gardiner, B. (2005). New age or old sage? A review of equine assisted psychotherapy. The Australian Journal of Counselling Psychology, 6(2), 13-17.

About the Speaker

Horses have always been a passion, since I was a child. However, I’ve walked a long path to arrive at getting into contact with the real nature of horses and how we can learn from them. A horse trek in the French Pyrenees (in 2002) was a key moment: in actually living together with the horses I finally found what intuitively I had always linked with them: contact, togetherness, trust, authenticity, respect, clarity, peace… I was a language teacher for 14 years. Gradually I evolved towards training and coaching, thus finding what I really wanted to do. In 2010 I stopped being a teacher and I became a self-employed trainer and coach. I still work as a freelance consultant, coach and trainer – mainly in academic contexts.

More and more, horses play a large part in my coaching and training, combining my passion for horses with my passion for working with people. In February 2012 my late husband Kristiaan and I started to develop a centre in which we help people and horses to find their way to use their core power. Working with horses once began as a favourite pastime, it has since become an enriching solution focused path that I walk and share with passion. Wendy’s web site

John Brooker
John Brooker
SFiO Reviewed Practitioner
Editor of Interaction
Chapter Head
SFiO Contributor

John has over thirty years experience of leading people to collaborate effectively. He gained his leadership experience as a Senior Vice President in Visa International, working on international projects. Since 2004 he has used his leadership and Solution Focus expertise to enable people in multinational and national organisations to collaborate effectively. He is Co-President of Solution Focus in Organisations, an SFiO Reviewed Practitioner and has an MBA from The Open University in the UK.

Wendy Van den Bulck
InterAction Contributor
SFiO Contributor

Wendy is a Belgian based Solution Focus horse assisted coach and trainer (www.equoia.org). She specialises in developing authentic leaders and dynamically balanced teams in the workplace. She is the author of ‘Connective Clarity. When Horses Invite You to Take up Authentic, Solution Focused Leadership’ (2019) available on Amazon.