bbaugh@aikenstandard.com


WAGENER--Kasia Chamiola’s life can be defined by an innate characteristic, a passion for horses.


It’s that same passion that fuels her deisre, and as near as horses are to her heart, the possibility of realizing her dream while growing up in Poland seemed extremely remote.


A working student at Michelle Donlick’s Avalo Farm, Chamiola first rode a horse at age eight, while attending a summer camp in her homeland. There were few horses in the immdiate area where Chamiola grew up, no riding school and not much in the way of resources, but there was no doubt in her mind that her future would be in the equine industry.


However, her opportunities to be around horses were limited, and Chamiola would ride whenever she could, which at times meant renting a horse to go trail riding in the summer.


“I grew up in a small town on the countryside,” said Chamiola. “I could ride once or twice a year.”


After graduating from college with a degree in anthropology, Chamiola would make the first of her three sojourns to the United States, but it wasn’t until her second visit that she would be able to make her entree into the equine industry, becoming involved in a discipline she had never envisioned herself being a part of, however, it would only increase her quest for knowledge, fostering a far deeper love of equestrian sport and horsemanship.


“After I had graduated from the University, I found myself doing a great deal of traveling, but I wasn’t working in the horse industry,” said Chamiola. “But, I made the decision to pursue my dreams, and began looking for a place that would take me on as a working student.”


A farm in Pennsylvania would provide Chamiola with her first opportunity stateside.


“It was a racing farm,” said Chamiola. “I hadn’t given any thought to Thoroughbred racing. It just happened. After I began working. I grew to love the races and racehorses. I was hooked. I did it for three years.”


Chamiola would work for a few months for a racing yard in Poland, but didn’t have any desire to stay in her native country.


“I kept looking for a job somewhere else, and found one in France,” said Chamiola. “We had national hunt horses.”


A return to the United States appeared to be in the offing, and Chamiola would turn to the Internet with the hope of finding another working student’s position.


“I found Michelle on a website,” said Chamiola. “This was the opportunity I had been waiting for. Natural Horsemanship was all that I ever wanted to do, and she’s also an eventer. I really wanted to come back to the United States. I love America. This place is great because Michelle is really a great horse woman. She has so many great horses to learn from.”


The experience at Avalo Farm has proven to be beneficial for Chamiola as she has increased her breadth of knowledge through observation, improved her riding ability, and continues to learn through practical horsemanship.


The horseman would like to direct her energies toward natural horsemanship.


“I would like to do this kind of stuff with sport horses,” said Chamiola. “I would love to be able to do what Michelle does, sell horses, work those horses, train problem horses for other people because there are people who are struggling with their horses, and they don’t know what to do.”


Chamiola sees how natural horsemanship can be beneficial in helping to improve a horse’s performance.


“I really want to work with horses in the natural way because it’s fantastic, so easy and simple,” said Chamiola. “I look at Michelle and her eventing, and her results. She has a lot of success with horses that no one has been able to ride.”