Introduction of EEWA’s Board

EEWA’s board consists of experts from different fields, who share the passion of bringing people to understand the intrinsic value of horses.

Elisa Seppo
Chairperson & Co-Founder

Elisa is the Chairwoman of the board and one of the founders of EEWA. She has a Master’s degree in Economic Sciences (Hanken Svenska handelshögskolan) and works at SEY Animal Welfare Finland as the head of marketing and equine specialist. Elisa’s passion for horses started in her childhood when she was first introduced to traditional riding. She enjoyed spending time with the horses but always had one question on her mind “Do horses have a happy life and do they enjoy being ridden?”. These questions of welfare followed her throughout the years.

After doing horse rescue work in Portugal and going deeper into the newest ethological knowledge about horses, she couldn’t turn her back on the answers she had found; Horses struggle with severe welfare problems all around the world and even in Finland, her home country. Elisa believes that in order to create higher welfare for horses there must be a change in how we think of them and their intrinsic value. The intrinsic value of horses and equines must be prioritized in every decision concerning their lives. Every horse has the right to live a good life, in which they primarily get to live as horses instead of equipment.

Jasmin Niemelä
Vice-Chairperson & Co-Founder

Jasmin is EEWA’s Vice-Chairwoman and one of the founders. She holds  a Master in Educational Sciences and works as a Talent Acquisition & HRD Consultant. For her, volunteering at a Portuguese equine sanctuary was an eye-opening experience, which led to a lifelong path of learning and understanding horses better. One of the most important lessons for her was to start looking at things from the horse’s perspective. She believes the world would be a better place for horses, if archaic beliefs – for example related to leadership and a horse being “bossy” – could be left behind. Instead, people should start asking themselves: What is the horse actually trying to tell me with this behavior?

Katariina Alongi
Board Member

Katariina is a coach, writer and podcaster, who has been involved with horses all her life.

 Over the last two decades she has transformed from a competitive equestrian and internationally successful trainer to someone who – first and foremost – believes in interspecies empathic communication and cooperation.  Currently Katariina guides equestrians as a rider biomechanics and emotional intelligence coach. Guiding people to understand and appreciate the deep wisdom horses have for humankind is Katariina’s passion and life’s mission. In 2021 she co-authored a book on the subject of emotional intelligence skills for equestrians and her equestrian podcast had thousands of listeners.  

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Marjukka Savolainen
Board Member

Marjukka Savolainen joined EEWA because she considers EEWA’s work and the way the organization brings  awareness to equine welfare extremely important and meaningful. Marjukka, too, wants to strive for a better future for horses. Moreover, she finds all the things we can learn from equines fascinating. She is a Senior Designer and is especially looking forward to helping with tasks related to EEWA’s brand and marketing materials. In addition to being a designer, she is a professional contemporary dancer, and regards movement and physicality an excellent way to approach life and stay grounded.

Sari Bernardo
Board Member

Sari Bernardo is a non-profit sector professional with over 14 years of international NGO management experience. She is also a founding member and CEO of Romi’s Way, an NGO which promotes balance between humans, animals and nature. Since she was a little girl, Sari has loved all animals, particularly horses. Sari started as a traditional riding school hobby rider, but her mare Romi guided her to a different path which began with a strong sensation that the traditional way to ride and be with horses was not making Romi happy. And Sari wanted her horse to be happy. 

What started as a small task to increase the mare’s happiness, turned out to be a life-changing journey which altered the way Sari understood life itself. Through Romi’s guidance Sari discovered a new way to be with horses. This rooted her intentions to reality and calmness based living, in which love, respect and gratitude are the guiding forces and horses are the master teachers. These teachings from her horses are not just applicable to her equestrian life, but to her work and family life as well.

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