What is Equine Touch?
Equine Touch is a hands-on system of bodywork. It consists of an organised series of gentle moves over the soft tissue, and works in a holistic way which means that the whole horse is addressed. It may have the effect of releasing tense muscles, reduce the pain spiral, assist in detoxification and lymphatic drainage by increasing circulation. It can be also used in conjunction with the training or rehabilitation of your horse, helping with the improvement of muscle tone and encouraging recovery from injury and muscle atrophy. My experiences show that ET can facilitate the horse’s innate ability to heal.
Through my work as a registered Equine Touch practitioner, I aim to enable greater athletic performance in the horse, working across all equestrian disciplines, and also to facilitate a more harmonious partnership between horse and rider. Equine Touch is a system of bodywork which addresses muscle tension, encouraging recovery from injury and promoting realignment and balance through the body.
Working in a holistic way, I also consider environment, nutrition and riding styles. I can offer instruction in groundwork and ridden approaches which can help make your horse stronger in the correct muscle groups, to be able to carry himself (and his rider!) with greater fluidity through his back and topline, and to work both sides of his body correctly.
I mainly cover Oxfordshire, but also have clients in areas such as Northamptonshire, Surrey and Hampshire. Do get in contact if you would like to learn more about my work and to discuss your particular horse.
The history of Equine Touch
Equine Touch started in 1997 by Jock Ruddock when he adapted his human bodywork for horses. He had trained in Bowen and was very focused on activating the innate healing systems of the body. News spread and Jock was invited veterinary seminars and conferences, the setting where he met his future wife, Ivana, who was at that time teaching at a veterinary University in the Czech Republic. Jock, who sadly passed away in 2011, was the intuitive bodyworker and Ivana with her knowledge translated his intuition into the educational Equine Touch structre. Today, it is known and recognised as a premier equine care discipline worldwide from Denmark to New Zealand.
Equine Touch may:
Assist competition horses as they prepare for elite athletic performance, or afterwards during the recovery phase.
Help as a preventative measure to reduce the likelihood of injury.
Improve suppleness, willingness and balance during training.
Relieve muscle tightness and lessen asymmetry.
Provide a re-balancing of muscles after veterinary treatment, farrier/trimmer, equine dentist or a period of box rest.
Act in a holistic way to reduce emotional stress and promote deep relaxation.
Overall, it works to balance the horse both physically and emotionally, generating a sense of well-being, muscle release and re-alignment.
I was featured in the March 2014 edition of Your Horse magazine, and the article explains how I became involved in Equine Touch and how it can help horses. Please click here to access the article.
Many instances of ‘bad behaviour’ or reduced ridden performance can be traced back to discomfort or pain. As riders and handlers, we need to be aware of what the horse is trying to tell us, in order to build a true partnership.
From an evoluntionary perspective, horses which showed weakness would be the first to become a predator’s lunch! As such, they do all they can not to show signs of injury or pain. By the time that a lameness is present, or signs of a sore back become evident, it is likely that compensatory pain is also part of the picture. Often I discover tightness through the poll, neck, whithers, sacro-illiac or hamstrings even when the problem seemed to be ‘simply’ pain in the mid-back.
Many horses adore Equine Touch due to its gentle, yet remarkably effective style. Equines of all ages and from all disciplines can benefit. I have worked on foals a few months old to assist correct growth, on equine athletes in their prime, and on older horses who deserve some pampering to keep aches and pains at bay! It promotes optimum function, and is powerful both when used to assist the healing process, as well as preventative when it helps stop small imbalances in the body from persisting and eventually becoming significant problems.
You can read more about Equine Touch here in a PDF leaflet.