The Polo Project meets the ex-art director turned blogger whose talents as a horse whisperer are taking New York and the world by storm.
Linnea Aarflot, the 28-year-old Swedish horse whisperer, has a beauty and ease in front of the lens that one could liken to a young Carmen Kass, or Lolita in a blown-out David Hamilton photo. She also happens to be the editor of effortlessly cool lifestyle blog The Equestrian. The Polo Project (TPP) visited Linnea at Piaffe Performance in New Jersey, where she trains this story’s pure-bred stars – Ghostbuster and Loui – to discuss how the ex-art director changed the course of her career, and inadvertently her destiny, when her intuition and innate ability to harness equine energy led her to saving eight traumatised NYC police horses from the knackery.
TPP: How long have you ridden horses? Why did you start?
Linnea Arrflot (LA): I’ve always had a very strong connection with horses, even though my family is not involved in equestrianism at all. My mum told me they took me to a zoo when I was four years old where they showed me tigers, elephants and amazing exotic animals, but I cried because I only wanted to be with the horses. Ha! So I guess that’s why I started. I went to a riding school when I was a child, I leased horses during my teens and the same day I turned 18 (which is when you’re allowed to take a loan at the bank in Sweden), I went to buy my lease horse.
TPP: Sweden to NYC – why? Why stay in this urban jungle and not head to the country?
LA: My horse Mick passed away in Sweden and I thought I’d take a break from the equestrian world for a while. Get a “real” career. So I took a job as the art director for Above magazine in New York City, where I planned to stay on for just three months… Cut to three years later, and even though art direction didn’t work out, I see that both careers are not as far from each other as they may sound. It’s all about energy, and to find a fine balance between movement and stillness. In art direction I find the balance in images, and with horses I find the balance in our dance. It’s all creativity to me.
“I balance the horse’s energy and make them want to dance.”
TPP: What exactly is a horse whisperer?
LA: A horse whisperer is someone with a higher understanding for horses.
I believe there is a horse whisperer in every rider, and a unicorn in every horse. But it’s an art to find the spot where you connect to that, where no questions are left unanswered. It’s an amazing place to be, and it requires hours of daily practice to tap into it.
TPP: Your blog speaks of the core values you live by – health, vibrancy and positivity. How does this translate from your health and lifestyle to those of the horses you work with?
LA: Yes! First of all I believe we are fully responsible for creating our own wealth of health, vibrancy and positivity. Horses carry a different, higher, vibration to us humans, so when we connect to a horse, when we share our energy with them, it’s very calming and healing for us.
“The energy in the horse’s body needs to flow freely. When I feel stagnation in their body or in their mind, there is the sensation that time is standing still. When I adjust it, I feel an unwinding, and all the horse’s systems begin to flow freely again.”
TPP: What does the future hold for you?
LA: So much! Right now I’m working with some of the highest- performing horses in America at Piaffe Performance. In February,
I am launching a bridle with the great equestrian innovators PS of Sweden, and I have signed a contract to do an international TV show about what I do. Hopefully that happens. I’m also making plans to create a barn for healing and dancing horses to their optimal wellbeing.