Mr Mack with ET – Session 1

So I’ve done a couple of full body balance sessions with Mr Mack now since the course ended and after the initial TMJ stuff I did last week.

He was a really good boy but is still really itchy all the time when in his stable so that has probably made it a bit more difficult for me to practice. He has responded really well though to both sessions and we have to deal with these things with horses don’t we. For the itching he now has a fly rug and we have bought some special shampoo we were recommended to ease the itching. If it doesn’t improve with both of these things then its the vet I think.

So back to the ET.

Session 1. Last weekend.

Branding
He was itchy so kept pushing into my hands to have a scratch. Otherwise I noticed overall how much muscle tension he carries throughout. This was more noticeable in his quarters and hamstrings and over the base if his neck and withers – the trapezius area. You can almost see the individual muscle fibres and see the boarders of the muscles in these areas. He had some slightly warmer areas around his withers too. The most noticeable thing was his reaction to the girth area. Very sensitive and very clearly told me to get off. He appears to have quite big triceps too on both sides. He lifted his front legs well but not his back legs, kicking out quite a bit. He has been difficult for the farrier when having his feet trimmed (he’s barefoot) so that was worth noting too.

He appeared to enjoy the whole process of the body balance but was pretty fidgety in the stable and wanting to itch quite a bit, which was no different from before we started the session.

He was enjoying most of the hindquarter procedure but was sensitive on the lateral ham move and also the pop the cap, but I expected that from him as he’s a sensitive sort. I didn’t notice much processing at all at this point but gave him plenty of time to think about it.

The forequarter procedure was also tolerated well with just the girth lift being sensitive. His reaction was to put his ears back and swing his head round, but the inch worm he seemed to really enjoy and was pushing against my hands as inf it felt nice. This makes sense as its the trapezius which shows some pretty high tone to it. Some small amounts of processing were noted including licking and chewing and the odd yawn but he was still fidgety.

The neck procedure passed by with little to comment on. Let me do the moves but again with no real processing or reaction. Emma did say to expect this with thenfirst few goes so I gave him a bit of time and then carried on.

The saddle procedure was a bit more telling. On both the first meridian and second meridian he showed some twitching of the muscles in his back and in the centre area of his back, maybe where the back of his saddle sits, he was quite sore. He curled round towards me with a big contraction of the muscles under my fingers. This was despite me going soooo gently I was barely touching him, or so it felt. The reaction was more so on his right side and interestingly he didn’t seem to mind the technique and initially stopped fidgeting and stood well for me to get on with it. As he reacted so much I did a row of blocking moves along each meridian as Emma had showed us and this he didn’t really find comfortable. I took that as my cue to leave him alone and we finished the session there. He showed a little processing after the saddle procedure but nothing to write home about.

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Level 1 Chestnut Horse

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Equine Touch Course – Level 1

Well I attended the level 1 Equine Touch course last week. I was inspired to attend for a number of reasons. After having my little girl 2 years ago I returned to work less than inspired by the prospect of working in a hospital as a respiratory physio. It’s a stressful environment and the time away made me realise that its not a place I want to stay. I originally did my physiotherapy degree with the intention of going to to my vet physio masters. However I have never been able to afford it due to horses and babies etc.

So I started looking at what else I could do, that might possibly lead to earning some money that might possibly fund my going to uni. That would be great. Or if I could could earn some pocket money alongside my current job to maybe pay for horses the thats great too. I also wanted a new challenge and I felt that my current share horse, a six year old ex-racer, would benefit from some bodywork.

So why equine touch? Well my old horse Boo had EMRT (which is also based on Bowen therapy and is very similar) which was recommended by the McTimmony Chiropractor Emma Overend, who has since trained to do ET and instruct it and was in fact teaching this course!! Boo responded so well that I have always wanted to be able to do it.

I looked into equine massage and in fact have registered with the EQ50 anatomy course from equinology and looked into their body worker course. I have also looked into the Masterson Method but I kept on coming back to the Equine Touch course. My boy’s response was so powerful 10 years ago that I had to find out more.

So I booked onto the course and was immediately excited. I turned up on the first day at the venue nervous and not quite knowing what to expect. I immediately knew I had nothing to worry about when I went through the yard and was shown to a porta cabin out the back where I met Emma and after a few minutes Sandie, who was taking the course with me. We introduced ourselves and went through some theory.

Accuracy – Integrity – Intent

I knew that the intent was something that was intwined within ET but I have to admit that I didn’t really know what it was all about. Emma explained it perfectly. I’m not sure that I can put it down on paper accurately but the basic principle is that horses are great levellers!! Your integrity and intent are such that if you are not there for the horse then you may as well not bother. I’m sure i will be able to put into words what this means to me more as I go along.

The moves themselves were then taught and we practiced them on our own legs before we were let loose on each others bodies. I was model first and the instructor would demonstrate first and then Sandie would have a go. I know from my physio degree that feeling how something is done before I have a go is something I find useful, although at one point I did have two women, neither of who I had in known very long, having a conversation over me with their hands on my bum. Made me chuckle! The main thing I learnt from the work on humans, apart from the techniques themselves, is how painful such a gentle move can be when you’re accurate. During the butt shots on my right side it was so painful, I had to be peeled from the ceiling afterwards and I felt a little sick and dizzy for a few moments. If thats how I felt when I didn’t know I had a problem in that area, then I knew the horses could feel the same. The thing is they are unable to talk so will communicate this in ‘other ways’. Worth bearing in mind for later.

The work on the horses in the afternoon was amazing. The time flew by with us being shown the move on one horse, leaving that to process and then us doing one side each on a different horse. I think both Sandie and I felt that by working together we achieved and learned more than if we were working on our own. By the end if the first day we had done a complete body balance on a horse between us and I was shattered.

The morning of day two involved more work on each other. I was grateful for this as my ability to remember the moves was dwindling and I needed a recap. I was getting in a pickle with fingers and thumbs all over the place. A quick recap put everything back in order in my head and I was able to concentrate more on my breathing and body position. We did a full body balance on each other and my right buttock felt much better, so Emma decided to show what can happen if you put the muscle on stretch!!! So more screaming from me but god did I feel better afterwards!! My new found mobility of my bum and hips was really helpful when working on the horses later that day. We went over the full body balance again on the horses and started on areas of concern, again with us being shown first and then practicing and I was really getting into the swing of things and getting a feel for the technique. It felt great to see the horses reacting and processing away and I left the second day feeling very happy and inspired. 

Day three felt like a consolidation day. No more work on each other just straight in on the horses. We finished off the areas of concern and then Sandie and I competed a body balance together on a lovely chestnut horse who reacted really really well. I’m not going to go into his history on here as I don’t have permission, but he processed at the start of the branding and it was a struggle to keep him from lying flat out so that we could finish. I have a video of him processing and some pictures which I may post on here if I get permission. At one point he had a mega stretch, front legs, back and both back legs in turn, before taking a huge breath and then zoning out. The feelings associated with helping this horse were pretty emotional and I was close to tears afterwards.

We then worked on a horse each in the afternoon and I was picked by a big coloured horse who was fairly new to the yard. He was a very friendly chap, the type that mugs you for attention. I quickly realised that to process he needed to be stood near to me. I would move away from him in the stable and he would follow me round until he was stood with his shoulder next to mine. After a while I would just go and stand by the door and he would stand next to me licking and chewing and yawning. The signs he was processing were more subtle than the horse in the morning, but when he ‘came round’ he would give me a nudge or paw the ground as if to say “get on with it then”! He made me laugh quite a bit and it was great to be unleashed onto a horse on your own.

On the third day we were joined by a gentleman who is undergoing the practitioner route and is currently working towards his level 3 exams. He was a fountain of knowledge, from a students perspective, which helped me in many ways. From quick tips to how to approach the practicing to stating out with VHT. What also pretty weird is that I quickly worked out that he kept his ponies with my friends mum. Very small world.

To summarise (as this is getting very long) the course has opened up a whole new world to me and brought me back into the horse world with such a positive attitude. I am now completely committed to continuing my ET training and also starting with VHT, as I would love to be able to address the horse and rider together, to compete the package. I have already started to practice the technique on friends horses and the moves are becoming natural to me. I have had reactions to the technique that I wouldn’t expect, just three horses in, and offers for models from lots of different horsey friends. I’ll keep this site updated.

 

I think that every horse owner should be able to attend one of these courses to help their horses. If anyone wants more information the I’m sure Emma would love you to pop along to her website to find out more. 

http://www.equinetouchcourses.co.uk/

Jx

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Mr Mack on the lunge

So I popped up the yard quickley to see Mr Mack and have a bit of a play. Inspired by Viola’s (HHO) blog I thought I’d lunge and see how he is getting on with the chilling out. I last lunged him a couple of weeks ago and it resembled more like water skiing at times, with some good work.

He was delightfully easy to catch and have me a little nicker when I walked up to him and came strolling over. He was a little itchy again – fly rug is on order, and distractedly in the stable and his normal fidgety self. He was also a little bargy so I decided to try some ET moves just on his head (TMJ area of concern) as he was happier with me stood by his head. He responded really well, processing quite a bit. Licking chewing and finished with a big sigh and turning super chilled. I left him to chill for a bit (about 20 mins) then popped a bridle on him and he trolled out and lunged beautifully. Really chilled despite the wind and really listening to me and he only kicked out once when he strick off disunited in canter.

So pleased with him and convinced the ET chilled him out so he was concentrating on me. When I turned him out he was a saint and stood but the gate watching me go and gave me another little nicker.

I think he likes me!!

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Day 1 The Beginning

So today was the last day of my Equine Touch level 1 course. I went into the course with an open mind but hoping that I would become inspired and encouraged to take up the practitioner route to learn how to become a practitioner.

A little background on me. I graduated from physio school in 2002 with a 2:1 BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy. I always intended to go to university to do my Masters in Veterinary Physiotherapy. However at this time you had to have postgraduate experience first and once I got a job, I bought a horse and I was never going to be able to afford it. I therefore stayed working for the nhs and ended up working in the area of respiratory physio. I had a baby girl, now 2 years old and when I went back to work I realised that I had missed the point and I knew that it was time I followed my dream of working with horses and other animals.

However I still cannot afford to go to uni. It takes at least £10,000 to do your vet physio course and who has that kind of money lying around when they’ve just had a baby. So I started looking for other things that I could do, to get me my working with horses fix and maybe earn me some money to save for my vet physio course.

This led me to Equine Touch. I had an ET practitioner treat my old horse when he fell in the field and injured his back a few tears ago. He responded so well I knew I had to learn how to do this. Once I realised that my little girl is old enough now that I can leave her without feeling too guilty I signed up for the three day level 1 course.

The course has left me feeling inspired, drained, shattered and close to tears. The modality is so very powerful and I felt today, having completed 2 full body balances, that I have done something to help the horses and make them feel better in some way. Not sure if thats physically, emotionally, spitiually or a bit of each. I’m not sure it matters actually. I just know that I want to do more.

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Mr Mack

Mr Mack

The little horse who inspired me to give ET a go!!

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