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.