“To whom it may concern,
I am pleased to share my incredible experience with Ilona Staikou. I went to Greece on Corfu Island, from April 15 till July 15, 2013. I was there to learn with her husband, Franklin Levinson working on the ground with horses. I met at the same time Ilona and restart to have riding lessons with her. I was out of riding since about 20 years. I start riding when I was around 18 years old and for about 15 years on and off , and I took a lot of riding lessons (dressage and jumping). Ilona was so far the best coach I ever had. She was always taking time to explain very clearly, and helping me with my posture, her method helped me a lot with my confident for riding in relax and gentle way. I progressed with her in 3 months, faster then I never did.  I loved her way of respect both of us, me and the horse. Her approach is humane and she is always calm and super gentle, with both adults and children. I wish she was close to me, I would take lessons with her and would recommend her, to all the people in the equestrian world. I hope you will be able to understand my letter because my first language is French.
Sincerely, Rose Sylvestre
Tadcaster Animal Physiotherapy. Karina Hawkridge. DipAPhys. IAAT registered. Tel; 07900 887527. Email; Website;  Broadacres Stables, The Old Coach Road, Tadcaster, Nth Yorks. LS24 8HA
I have been very fortunate to work alongside Ilona Staikou on a number of occasions, both here in the UK and in Corfu and always find her method of teaching balance and harmony between horse and rider a refreshing approach to coaching. Ilona uses gentle, easy to understand methods, both for the rider and the horse, which produces calmness and a sense of relaxed cooperation as well as promoting a deeper understanding on the rider’s part, as to what we should expect from our horse. There is no force and never any sign of reproach should either party momentarily misunderstand. Ilona always takes time to explain her teaching methods and goals to each rider she coaches before they mount. I find this is an excellent opportunity to help both coach and student ‘connect’. Any questions can be addressed before the ridden session commences. Ilona has a deep knowledge of the horse’s anatomy, biomechanics and psychology and utilizes this knowledge to encourage correctness in the horse’s posture, gait and general way of going. 
Ilona is a very calm and quiet teacher. Her gentle methods of coaching always produce an elegant result and riders always leave her lessons with a feeling of accomplishment with the horse leaving the lesson feeling relaxed, confident and much improved mentally and in his way of going.
Thank you,
Karina Hawkridge. Equine Physiotherapist, freelance instructor and owner of
A comment from a former student: from Amalia Charikipoulou in Hellenic Riding Club:   “Ilona Marianna Staikou is a blessed and spirited teacher. I must say having her as a teacher in a young age it was therapeutic and didactic. IT IS A CONFESSION THAT HER WAY IS HOLISTIC AND TEACHES HUMANS HOW TO BALANCE AND COEXIST WITH SOMEONE ELSE. SHE IS A THERAPIST AND A MENTOR!!!!! thank you dear Ilona for enlightening our lives. LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU FOR THE STATE OF MIND YOU INTRODUCED TOO.” Ilona instructs a very enlightened and evolved way of equestrian activities. She teaches lightness, balance, rhythm and harmony between horse and rider. A most unique instructor indeed.”
Comment from a former student from Crete: “It was really fortunate for me to meet Ilona and not just to meet her but to have my coach in Horseback Riding. The word coach is probably not as representative because she was a mentor for me! She showed me how to communicate effectively with each horse. To be quiet and always listen to what the horse is trying to say to me! A whole new world opened in front of me and it all made perfect sense time.
From the first lesson I became aware of the fact that her philosophy was equally oriented both on the rider and on the horse.The fact is that unfortunately you rarely meet this in today’s equestrian world. The experience was really rich in knowledge: at the equine technical level, but also at level of overall horsemanship.I got strong bases; I changed as a rider but mostly changed as a person.
Now I’ve got my own horse. I’m really lucky to have him because he is great and I love him…!
One could say that he is lucky too, that he has me; we owe a big thank you to Ilona!”
Chrysanthi Sfakianaki from Crete

Comment from Electra Asilian: “Ilona is an amazing person, with pure love for horses and humans. She has excellent knowledge of both the physical and mental training of the horse. Her tranquility and patience always helped for easy acquisition and processing of knowledge for both the horse and the human. I feel very lucky for what I learned while being next to her, both as a student and as a collaborator. Working closely with Ilona has made me a better horsewoman and a better person.”
Electra Asilian