‘Inspirational’ is the word that comes to mind to describe the story of Christian Langeder. A bit over the top? No, not when you read on…
Christian Langeder is an equine soft tissue therapist.
He does this work with race-horses, and polo and dressage horses. He keeps them maintained during competition, treats them if they get injured and in good order throughout the off-season.
Christian plays an important role in helping these horses perform at their best.
He’s worked with the Queen’s horse, been flown to James Packer’s stables and treated Olympian horses.
Christian has ridden a horse twice in his life. Twice!
Here you can see Like A Carousel, a likely Melbourne Cup runner for 2015.
He must be doing something right.
Horses are quite literally, his life. He’ll get up at 4:30am and some days gets home at 8:30pm or even later. His diary is always full.
This sprinter peeping around the corner is Rich Enuff, he was recently valued at millions of dollars. It’s hectic.
Christian could be allergic to horses.
He’s been going into anaphylactic shock and recently ended up in hospital more than once unable to breathe.
Is it all in jeopardy? …
The story of Christian and horses began when he was 30.
He was BMX riding, came off and broke his back. He couldn’t walk unaided for six months.
He was experiencing all sorts of referral pains and gave Bowen Therapy a try, a holistic pain relief method that works with fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds all nerves, soft tissue, organs, everything.
He thought, if I could walk again, what would I like to do?
Oh, yeah, there’s that niggling voice that’s been saying for years why don’t you give working with animals a try? He’d always believed that working with animals somehow wouldn’t make a valid profession.
(This beautiful creature is called Lara. Christian discovered a tear back near her tail today.)
It worked. He walked pain free!
Christian became fascinated with Bowen Therapy and decided to learn how to do it. You can only learn to do it on humans. So he did that, then transferred his knowledge to animals.
He worked with lots of small animals. Then the time came for him to go for the big guns and give horses a try.
He wrote 172 letters to all the stables in Victoria asking if they would give him a go. None of them replied.
Louise, a nurse and wife of horse trainer Ken Keys said, you can come and treat Reuben, our dog, but not the horses.
He treated the dog successfully, and they gave him a go with the horses. Christian still treats at that same stable – and that likely Melbourne Cup horse runner? That’s Ken’s horse – Like A Carousel.
Six years later Sylvia Mclachlan, a dressage trainer, was having trouble with a horse. He had ailments that no-one could fix.
She invited him to Geelong and filled out a day of horses for him there. His success was so-so, and Sylvia didn’t think much of him. Six months and $11,000 later she was still having trouble with the horse, so she invited Christian back.
This time, his skills were more developed and he had success after two treatments.
Sylvia is well connected in the horse community and she introduced him.
Between Ken and Sylvia, it all started to come together for Christian. He was on his way.
Look how calm he is while Like A Carousel acts out.
And now I haven’t even talked about what he actually does.
This is Luke, his race name is Lite Enuff…
So much of it is a feel thing. Christian slows his breath down to 2-3 breaths a minute. It calms the horse and then he can tune in, feel where the problem is and then begin treating it.
It’s really quite amazing to watch. It doesn’t really make any sense. You can see the horses submitting to him. He seems to just be standing there poking a finger here or pressing there. Only Christian really knows how it works.
What matters is that it does work. Horses win competitions, events and races in part because of the key role he plays in their physical care.
The other astounding thing about him is he is completely nonplussed about the fame of the horse, its trainer or owner or the fact that he’s charging at his peak.
It’s the puzzle that fascinates him.
And some of these horses are huge. You see him standing next to these massive beasts and admire at how he handles himself around them.
And fixes them!
And what about the breathing problems he’s having? Sometimes he has to wear a mask while he’s treating.
Turns out he needs an operation on his sinuses.
The impending panic around not being able to treat horses brought his bigger, wider dreams into sharper focus. Once he’s had the operation he’ll start to get his thoughts together on that.
Things to do like writing, taking on staff, speaking at universities in America…building the business to its natural next level.
The lessons from Christian?
He (eventually) listened to himself. He needed a broken back to hear it, but that got him started on this new path.
Where would he be now if he hadn’t given it a go? Who knows, but it’s certain he’d far from saying that his job rocks.
That’s passion and purpose rolled into one.
During the years of development, where he thought this work was a bit whimsical and not very scientific, he pushed on anyway. That takes self-belief, no matter what.
Even though he wrote 172 letters and no-one gave him a go, he could have been put off. When Louise only allowed him to treat Reuben the dog, again, he wasn’t discouraged. He saw it as an opportunity, a foot in the door. He stayed positive and look where that has taken him.
Christian’s work is so unique and mystifying. How amazing, to be so up close and personal in his world, intimately capturing something that most people will never get to see.
Thank you, Christian. You are an inspiration. And to think that you said you’re only just getting started.
Thank you so much, Ken Keys, for allowing us to capture Christian in action at Saloon Park. Good luck with the Spring season!
This was a rich and fascinating story to unravel, and then build back up again in pictures.
What a blessing.
‘I’ve had lots of people take photos of me which were just good enough. I was underwhelmed because they were a bit soul-less. So then along comes Beth and these images are just on a completely different level. I can feel the energetic dance that happens with the horse and I can see that happening in the pictures. They really do show the emotion. The process was easy and the final results are overwhelming. So of course I’m going to say people should work with Beth. I love these pictures, I love ‘em. They’re unreal.’
‘The photos solved a credibility problem I had. Even though this doesn’t look like advertising, it still is. I play an important role in getting these horses to perform at their best. It’s a big thing for the owners and trainers to trust me that I’m not going to stuff up their horses. They can see these images and understand that I’m there to solve the puzzle for the horses. I can say, here, check out what Beth did with my life story. It’s emotional and has become a bit viral for them. So I feel relief now that I can send people to the micro-doco. It is a real insight or a glimpse for them coming into my world. They can really feel what I and the horses feel.’
‘Everything has been stated factually and honestly documented. The words are just as I said them and so I don’t actually feel like I’m big noting myself at all. It was confronting as well though. Beth’s very easy to talk to, so I probably said more than I meant to. Sometimes I thought oh f*ck I overshared there. Some things come out and you don’t mean them to. But censoring yourself won’t really help because if you want to tell an honest story, warts and all are good because the warts show your character. I felt I had control all the way along and Beth nurtured me through it. She was asking if I was comfortable, which was good. I didn’t feel exposed or exploited, but in fact honoured.’
It’s personal and professional
‘I know who I was – before I met Beth – and she tapped into that back story. Everyone I know is proud of me in terms of where I’ve come from in a walking frame. In my day to day I’m covered in fur and dirt and in the thick of it so I don’t see what I’m doing the way other people see it. So this is like a biography of yourself. I like who I’m becoming, it’s inspiring to see what I’m creating and becoming as a full picture. Seeing this now reboots me, helps me recognize my achievements and give me a reminder that ‘it’s not done yet’.’
‘I was surprised that it moved people as much as it moved me. So the ‘good on you mate, well done’ was for real, not to take the piss. The response has been incredible.’
Thoughts from Andrew Griffiths
Australia’s #1 Entrepreneurial and Small Business author of 12 books sold in 60 countries
‘This is storytelling at it’s best. The micro-doco is stunning, it oozes Christian’s passion and serenity which is what it should ooze. Beautiful images. How to use it – use it everywhere. It doesn’t have to have a call to action, it doesn’t have to have a “buy this from me” – it is a positioning piece. It shows a craftsman doing his craft – and that says everything. Great job.’
If you’d like your story captured in real-life photos, I’d love to help.
The best way forward is to jump on the phone or send me an email and we’ll take it from there.
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