Leonie, the founder of Academy 4 Dogs has worked as a dog training and behavior specialist and as a horse training and behavior specialist, she has run a riding school and several training centers worldwide. Below you will find a number of references from both dog and horse owners.
Written by clients:
By Bert Antons (59 years), The Netherlands 2015
I have been training horses for many years. Leonie has been assisting me with the training of many younger ones and the more difficult ones. She is very clear she does not want to rush the horse. Always takes her time, It is up to the horses how long they need. She is very consistent in her training sessions, with perfect feeling for the horses. They all relax and when a solid foundation is there progress is made quickly. She had all my horses responding perfect to the aids and easy in daily handling.
By Karen and Peter (37 and 40 years), The Netherlands 2015
We got Jack (our jack russel) when he was a pup, with two years he got aggressive towards Peter. Peter was very strict with him but that did not help. With me (Karen) he was fine. At one point Jack had bitten Peter when he came and sat next to me on the couch. This is when we asked Leonie for help. As first Leonie explained us what was in Jack’s mind. She explained all the signs Jack was showing. Our little Jack owned me and Peter had to stay away… We got a lot of different exercises to apply in different situations. Basically they were all obedience exercises. We just had to ignore the aggressive behaviour (what felt really strange), had to respond to it with a obedience exercise, repeating it, and rewarding the good responses. She made very practical solutions for all difficult situations. We had to practise the obedience in situations where there were no problems. Where there were problems we were able to solute them working together. I had to tell Jack to jump of the couch when Peter approached. Than Peter did some exercises like sitting and lying down. Than he could sit on the couch and Jack was “given free”. After a while Peter could just sit on the couch and Jack went off by himself. It was amazing this way we were able to prevent all situations of aggression and in time Jack had learned to respect us to be higher in rang as he. He transformed in a happy friendly dog, happy to do the obedience exercises trying his best for both of us (and the rewards). We never saw any form of aggression again.
By Damien, Natalie, Hans and Gerald, The Netherlands 2015
We took sort of private classes with Leonie for training our dogs. It was ideal the classes where in our neighbourhood. She came to us. Times of the classes were flexible. We could adjust it to our busy working schedules. If one of us was not able to come she was willing to take this dog and train it herself if we wanted her to. She is very friendly and teaches really well. Don’t hesitate to contact her!
By Valentina (43 years), The Netherlands 2015
When I fell of my horse I got frightened. I didn’t trust my horse because most of the time he was perfect, but very unpredictable he sometimes run of. Leonie took over the training of my horse. She showed me when and why my horse runs of. Retrained him in these situations. As I saw his progress and learned to understand his behaviour I became less scared. Leonie kept teaching me for a while till I had my confidence back. I wish she could teach me and my horse forever.
By Van Zomeren family, (The Netherlands) 2014
We adopted a dog from Spain. He was frightened of everything and everybody. We thought it would become better with a nice house and a loving family, but at home it only became worse. Timi (timido in Spanish means shy) started growling when friends came over and during walks she got spooked by almost everything, jumped aside, growled and had her tail between the legs all the time. Leonie gave us a step by step plan. Every day, twice a day we had to go to a new situation with Timi. We had to bring her food and make it extra nice. We had to give Timi his food by hand getting closer and closer to the new situation. We only could go closer when Timi relaxed. She gave us very practical tips to create new situations, letting the neighbourhood kids ride skateboards in the street, having friends come over and first put the food on the floor far away, than closer and closer. Now some friends can feed Timi by hand, and new people she is not that afraid of. If new people come we give her bits of nice food when they come in. They ignore him till he relaxes a bit. Than they put some food on the floor, a bit closer every time. We continue every day with new things and situations or continue in the ones which still need work. The improvement is amazing although we understand Timi always will respond a little shy at start.
By Tom (53 years) Valencia, Spain
I have several Andalusian horses. My experience with Leonie was different as with other trainers. Although I compete at high level dressage I was very impressed with Leonie. She observes really well and notices exactly where the horse is not perfect responding to the aids. With out of the box thinking and practical exercises she is able to improve the horse efficient and easy. She reads the behaviour of the horses flawless. Every sign of tension is seen. She does not push through. Learns me to understand where the slightest tension is a respond to and solves it with basic training exercises. She is not scared to do ten steps back to improve one tiny thing and than train up again.
By Bibi and Lucy (21 and 23 years old) Wassenaar, The Netherlands 2014
I (Bibi) own a horse Calvaro. Lucy rides him to. Calvaro had a lot of bad behaviour, with riding he bucked and turned in the way he wanted. First it was not so bad, he always was a bit naughty, but it got worse and worse. Leonie came to the conclusion Calvaro had a little back problem. He found it difficult to bend to the left and had learned he did not have to if he bucked and turned to the right. With also the help of a physical therapist and a training programme and lessons from Leonie it is much better now.
By Tim (12 years, written in Dutch, translated) Leiden, The Netherlands 2014
Finally for my 12th birthday I could have a dog! My parents did not want to get a puppy as there are so many dogs in the shelter. Leonie picked out the right dog for me. First she, mum and dad had a talk about what kind of dog it had to be. She talked with me about it to. Sweet and fun to play with! She found my new best friend. Her name is Tina. She is a mix of different breeds. I do not know which anymore. I liked her right away. Leonie told me we had her a month first to see if we really liked each other and Leonie trained Tina. She listened really well afterwards. I learned as well how to train Tina. Mum and dad had to practice to but I am still the best! Me and my friends play a lot with Tina with the ball. She really loves that.
By Marina (60 and a bit….), The Hague, The Netherlands 2014
I have been horse riding almost all of my life but was out of the game for quite some years. Now I am a bit older (60 and a bit) and I was getting more afraid of riding. When a friend asked me to go along I was not so sure. But then I met Leonie. She helped me over my fears. She pushed me just always exactly to just little bit more. Always very gentle and with clear communication to me helping me to get more secure. She never pushed me in a situation where I was not capable. In the meantime she was in a motivating way quite clear. She just asked me: “Marina do you want to continue riding like this? Or do you want to improve your position and balance? You have excellent feeling for the horse, but your position looks like you sit in a chair…. If you really want to improve your riding skills you have to work on this.” She is very straight forward in a respecting way. Giving you the choice in what you want to improve and where you want to go with your riding, understanding every rider has different goals with their riding. She always explains the meaning and importance behind everything. In all these years of riding I never had an instructor who taught me so much, so clear and with so much enthusiasm.
By Zia (9 jaar), The Netherlands 10.10.2013
I really liked your lessons because you got me past my fears and helped me become a better horse back rider. You were very supportive but you helped me out when I needed it you helped me get back on the horse. Therefore I thought your lessons were great thanks so much Leonie , hope you have fun in Spain, Zia
By Pernille(age 39 ) 20.08.2013
I was given private riding lessons by Leonie Tack two times a day for 5 days during the summer 2013 in Denmark. I had an amazing time and leaped forward from being an insecure and frightened rider to become confident and understanding myself and the horse on a whole new level. Leonie’s approach to the animals are fascinating and it is extremely interesting to watch how the animals accept her as a natural leader and very clearly and easy thrives with this relation. And likewise it worked very well in the teacher student relation as well. Leonie has a strong and convincing authority as a teacher and at the same time encourage and builds up your confidence at your level and state of learning. My fear of failing as a rider was day by day lessened due to my trust in her judgement and calm and convincing methods. So for me believing and giving in to her judgement and her guidance helped me move fast forward in my learning process and achieve great results in short time. Truly an overwhelming and memorable learning experience and teacher that I treasure and that I would recommend very highly. Wish you all the best!
By Haverfield family, The Haque, Netherlands 2013
Our dog Lucky was very difficult for us. She was hyperactive running around the house and destroying things. Leonie helped us. We learned Lucky was responding a lot to the energy in the house (busy kid, active life) and did not get enough changes to get rid of her energy. Leonie created a plan where we were all involved. She taught Lucky a couple of basic commands. Then she taught us how to proceed. For example she learned Lucky first how to walk nicely without pulling and then our oldest son to have Lucky next to the bike. She made sure we all got involved and helped each other as she said it is very important everybody communicates with Lucy the same way. Learning from her and looking and learning from each other with her guidance gave us much more insight in Lucky her behaviour and signs. In the end our whole family got more structured and less hectic because we divide tasks around Lucky. Lucky is much more relaxed as are we! Thank you Leonie
By Lennart (25 jaar) 22.07.2013
Leonie has been my trainer for around three years. She has the amazing capability to train multiple different level riders in the same group all on their own level. She is focused on improving all the riders (and horses) to the maximum of their capability. Leonie has the skill to explain the whole spectrum from how to prepare the horses before riding, till the difficult dressage exercises. Her instructions are cristal-clear and can be understood as direct, but she doesn’t mean it in an offensive way. I found her lessons to be well structured and versatile. From dressage, to jumping and carousel. I liked that she could explain the theory behind instructions and exercises. She also took us on different rides out to the forest, plains and beach of Scheveningen. She showed an adventurous side by taking different routes, butt safety was never compromised! Sad that she left our stable.
Door Elmar (11 jaar) Netherlands 12.07.2013
Dear Leonie, Thank you for all the lessons, I had a very nice time and learned a lot. You learned me how to ride and now I’m also able to ride the younger horses and I am very secure. Best wishes Elmar
Written by other professionals:
By Belinda, Australia (Alcazar Andalusian Stud) Australia 25.10.2015
To whom it may concern. Leonie is a very good horse trainer and instructor. She was able to make me understand several subjects of horse riding and training. Several other trainers were not able to do so previously. She is a very competent rider and one of the best instructors I ever met.
By Gillian, Australia 24.10.2015
Grand Prix dressage amazone and founder of working equitation Australia. In her time her with us she helped me to recondition one of my dressage Andalusian horses. Leonie was able to detect the cause of his misbehaving and reconditioning and train him to a nice and loose going and good behaving horse. Leonie has a lovely character, happy, nice and easy going person. Easy and a pleasure to work with.
By John, Australia (owner of training centre for problematic horses and working dogs) Australia 30.08.2015
Leonie does absolute wonders with the horses. After she has worked them the horses are spot on, responding perfect, secure and to the lightest aids. She has a brilliant eye to see where the problem behavior is caused by and solves all of them easy with proper thinking and training. She is very patient, gentle and perfectionistic when she is working with the horses. Although she has a lot of knowledge and experience, she is always willing to learn more. Beside that she is very enthusiastic sharing her knowledge and teaching people. Leonie is easy to be around and to work with; she has a strong character (in a good way) and maybe a bit of a workaholic. She is always active and willing to do something. To who it may concern, I can only recommend working with her, you will not regret it.
By Anne, Denmark. (Grand Prix rider, and dressage stable owner) 24.08.2013
To whom it may concern. Here in Denmark Leonie has been breaking in horses, riding high level dressage horses and did a lot of teaching. She is an excellent rider with good horse sense. She has good feeling for the riding and insight in the young horses. The students were very excited and happy about her way of teaching. It has been a pleasure working with her, and I wish her all the best for her future career.
By Winni Peterson, Denmark. (Trainer) 23.08.2013
As a fellow horse trainer it has been a good experience working together with Leonie Tack. She works well together and has very good feeling and insight in the horses. She handles every horse easy and relaxed and is a very good rider. I hope to have the change to work with her again in the future.
Door Joop, Den Haag (riding school owner) 15.07.2013
Leonie is the best employee I have ever had. It is a pity to see her go after 10 years with our company. Leonie was the manager, main instructor and horse breaker and trainer of our riding school. Her duties where: every aspect concerning the horses care, welfare and training. Teaching students of all ages and levels. As well the very young beginner rider as the far advanced dressage competitor. Further she managed personnel. Arranged hiring new staff and guiding them. Making sure they did good work. On the side she was in charge of logistics, contact person for farrier and vet and she did part of the administrative tasks and finance. When she manages the business, everything goes fluent and easy. Quality of work by personnel is high and everybody, customers, personnel and horses are happy. Also she shows a lot of initiative arranging nice events and the horses she has trained are easy to sell and worth their price. Leonie is someone who works hard, she shows a lot of initiative and has a nice happy personality. All customers are very content about her way of teaching. She is capable to explain everything clear and patient. All of her lessons are energetic and enthusiastic. Beside riding instruction she teaches her students also insight in the horse its behavior. As a horse trainer she does a very good job. All horses go easy and behave well. She trains them easily to higher levels of dressage and they are easy and safe to ride for everybody. I wish everybody who has the change to work with Leonie the same joy I had. I wish her a very fortunate future with in her career and further life.
Door Tonnie, Bleiswijk (breeder) 01.05.2013
In the last 8 years Leonie has broken in young horses of mine and gave them basic education. She works friendly, relaxed, gives the horses confidence and keeps them happy. She has a natural feeling for the horses and has very good insight in their behavior and training needs. She works efficient and all horses trained by her are relaxed, well behaving, forward, easy to ride and easy to handle. Working with her is pleasant and professional
Door Hanneke, Maasland (vet) 06.04.2013
The last 8 years I have been a vet in the riding establishment were Leonie worked. She is very professional, a nice and happy person and has good insight in the health and needs of the horses. She is very well organised, communicates clear and friendly. She is a real horse person and leader within the business, with good knowledge and management skills.