Dorothy Chiotti

Official Portrait 2013

Dorothy has been a horse crazy girl for as long as she can remember. She started riding lessons in England at age 10, and as a youngster spent countless hours pouring through equestrian equipment catalogues, writing and re-writing lists of horse and pony breeds, colours, markings, names … you name it. As well, she gleefully participated in Pony Weeks at the stable where she rode (a horse to call her own for a whole week!) and like many impassioned by the equine, dreamed of winning ribbons, and trophies and championships atop her mighty steed.

While life got in the way and her dreams of competitive supremacy never materialized, her heart continued to remain entwined with that of the horse. This led her to, perhaps, the most profound experience of all … personal healing and self-discovery through the way of the horse.

Still, it took a convoluted course to get there.

Dorothy’s strong communications and leadership skills were originally developed in the business world through public relations and communications roles in the publishing, real estate and arts sectors. These skills were put to good use and further honed in volunteer roles serving on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir while chairing its Communications Committee. In addition, Dorothy was President of Canada’s longest-running dressage group, Toronto CADORA for three years during which she oversaw a complete revitalization of the group, including a five-fold increase in membership.

Dorothy’s many talents are more truly reflected in her endeavours as a writer, fine art photographer, singer, and equestrian. She was a soprano in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir for 12 seasons, and a member of roots vocal trio, ChoirGirlz, for almost 10 years. A commissioned artist, Dorothy’s animal portraits have been used by the World Wildlife Fund and her photography, poetry and prose are enjoyed by the many followers of her blogs. In May 2018, Dorothy was a featured photographer at the Urban Gallery in Toronto during the ScotiaBank CONTACT Photography Festival with her exhibit “Barn Mavens,” which reflected the gallery’s theme “Women at Work.”

Also in 2018, Dorothy’s debut novel (as yet unpublished) was long-listed for the Crime Writers’ of Canada “Unhanged Arthur” Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel. Dorothy is a Certified Toastmaster with Toastmasters International.

It took many years for Dorothy to find her way as an equestrian. Still, as a go-big-or-go-home kind of gal, she jumped whole-heartedly in when moved to act. In 1997 she became certified as an Equine Canada Level One coach (now retired), and in 2006 achieved Bronze Level certification in the natural horsemanship training methods of internationally respected trainer, Chris Irwin. As a participant in Irwin’s first Equine-Assisted Personal Development course, and after reading the works of best selling author, Linda Kohanov, (The Tao of Equus) Dorothy’s awareness of, and interest in, equine experiential learning began to develop.

While involved in her own deep healing work, including a debilitating five-year struggle with adrenal fatigue, Dorothy became aware of the role Complex-PTSD had played in her life. This led her to participate in the profoundly healing Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL) certification program at Horse Spirit Connections from which she graduated in 2014. In 2016, Dorothy went on to achieve Advanced status as a FEEL practitioner and since then has focused her practice on the establishing and nurturing of sacred space. In early 2018, Dorothy developed a workshop entitled, “Self-awareness and the Quest for Authentic Sacred Space,” and presented it at the FEEL Alumni Conference in June.

During the past 20 years, Dorothy has been on a personal healing journey which has, ultimately, incorporated all of these endeavours. Since 2006, that journey has been focused on the equine world through a deep bond with her horse, Bear, who helped to reclaim her heart. In 2015, Sophi became Dorothy’s dressage horse and together they are finding their wings. The equine experiential learning journey continues.

Dorothy has a profound appreciation for, and understanding of, the power of equine experiential learning and its potential to change lives for the better. It’s her privilege to be able to help those who wish to experience their own journey of personal growth and self-discovery through the way of the horse. To this end, Dorothy is documenting her healing journey in a book entitled, “I Rescued Me: A Journey out of the Shadows of Complex-PTSD.” Release date TBA.



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