Our Unique Approach

As long as the student’s whole body can listen the application of one technique can be evolved into a hundred techniques. But if the student cannot listen then even teaching the student one hundred techniques will be fruitless.- Cheng Man Ching
The model we follow is Listen, Connect, Follow and Influence.

Listening begins with approaching the work quietly so we are able to sense and interpret small signals the horse gives. Then we connect by sensing the horse listening back to us. Following begins as we allow our hands to be led by the horse. As we explore patterns of clenching or bracing we influence healing by waiting for the horse to make the changes. This process can be characterized as a feel following a feel. Since the horses make the changes themselves results are more enduring and complete. Skillful timing and sensitivity enables you to release a horse’s bracing, tension and compensating patterns as you supple, relax, and encourage the horse to seek what’s right for them.

Horses notice what you notice and the more you notice the more interesting horses find you.- Rick Noffsinger
To approach massage in this way you must work with a horses attention.

The horse must be intently focused on where were encouraging them to adjust their alignment. From the moment a horse notices you, getting and holding their attention is the basis for everything that follows.

Everything horses do is meaningful to them so we encourage you to notice everything they do and work to understand what the meaning is to the horse. Regardless of whether you’re approaching to halter them, asking them to lead up freely, or releasing a knotted muscle, the important thing is not so much whether they do it, the important thing is to notice what they do and adjust you’re presentation so the horse knows you notice their try. Working this way you sense and follow where movement is restricted. Working this way you earn a horse’s trust and willingness – the first step towards the horse allowing you to help them.

In order to release horses into joyful, energetic, rhythmic movement you need a guiding vision – something you’re striving toward.

Working to a purpose makes the difference between just doing something and therapy; doing precisely the right thing to change how the horse carries himself. The Art of Equine Massage and Bodywork offers a unique, principles based method to assess self-carriage so that you see and understand what’s missing, what’s interfering, what’s needed to┬áthen form a guiding vision to work toward.

Photo of classExperiential Immersion – Real Equine Massage skills take root when practiced intensively, on a daily basis for a protracted period, on a variety of horses.

For six weeks your day starts with walking into a herd of horses, catching one up at liberty in 40+ acre pastures, assessing their movement and self-carriage, working quietly with the horses attention to release restrictions, turning them loose, and selecting another horse. By the time you graduate you will have had the opportunity to observe and work on a wide variety of working horses.

Every class is conducted from the perspective of movement.

Tightly integrated massage, anatomy, physiology, pathology, shoeing and trimming, saddle making and fitting, and reading the horse lessons all focus on how the subject relates to comfortable movement. There is no point in memorizing names/origins/insertions of muscles if you don’t understand how they affect movement. Understanding how saddles support or impair a horse’s movement, how a trim and shoeing change a horse’s frame/power/balance, and the importance of the work/recovery cycle for working horses is critical to recognizing problems and forming a guiding vision.

The Art of Equine Massage and Bodywork offers an unparalleled opportunity to study movement, performance, and the penetrating efficacy of this unique approach. Patient, kind, passionate teachers guide you step-by-step into this coherent body of work. Students come from all over the world to study this unparalleled, unrivaled approach in this ideal environment.