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What is The Equine Touch?

Jock Ruddock developed the Equine Touch in 1997, and with the help of his veterinary surgeon wife Ivana, has amended and evolved his approach to where The Equine Touch is now recognised as an equine care discipline in 18 countries worldwide. MV Dr Ivana Ruddock is a qualified veterinary surgeon from the Czech Republic. A consummate researcher, she is also a qualified university lecturer in anatomy and physiology who brings with her a wealth of training and knowledge from the orthodox veterinary world. Together they have taken it to a standard where it was recognized as the first complementary equine healing modality by the ICM and the BCMA and the first to be given national education accreditation and recognition in the United Kingdom.

The Equine Touch Foundation Inc., and the discipline has also been recognized by: BTER, Equinology, NAHRA and is the only school of Equine Bodywork endorsed by Parelli Natural Horsemanship.

Lyle 'Bergy' Bergeleen, one of the most acclaimed and respected farriers, instructors and hoof experts in the world who had experienced the Equine Touch first hand had this to say. "I have been shoeing and trimming horses hooves for over 30 years and I am more than well aware of the effect of tight and spasmed muscles on the horse and its effect upon the work of farriers. In all my years I have never seen anything as powerful and effective, gentle, simple, act so quickly and yet be long lasting as The Equine Touch"

How Equine Touch Works

It can be used on happy hackers to elderly companions, to release traumatised muscles, stress and tension in racehorses and indeed on any type of equine athlete throughout all disciplines. It can be used as a preventative measure or to aid in rehabilitation. It is particularly useful for relieving or reducing the current level of pain in the often compromised saddle area.

The Equine Touch is a non invasive, non-diagnostic energy and muscle release discipline. It works on a holistic leve3l, addressing the equine as a whole rather than as a therapy targetting a specific problem. The fingers and thumbs are used to manipulate the muscle tissue, helping the horse relax, realign and naturally rebalance. It consists of a series of gentle moves performed over specific points in a pre-determined sequence. The routine includes waiting periods that allow the horse to recognise and process the effects of these procedures. It works by sending signals to the brain, to start the healing process. The gentle, subtle moves stimulate the energy flow around the body, thus allowing the horse to heal itself. These movements include energy releasing; lymphatic drainage; stretching and manipulation of deep tissue. The soft tissue vibrations have the effect of releasing spasms, distortions and adhesions in the connective tissue, known as the fascia.

Fascia is a continous network of liquid collagen fibres that are found everywhere in the body, surrounding muscles, bones and even the brain. The fascia should be loose and elastic. However, when the muscles when the muscles are tense it can quickly become tight and distorted. This in turn can cause compensatory issues throughout the rest of the body.

The Equine Touch allows the horse to balance on many levlels; physical, chemical and some would even say spiritual. This helps the horse to address any structural or emotional problems it may have, and thereby attain the ideal state of homeostasis

Equine Touch can stand on its own as a positive corective discipline at all levels, but it also works in total compatibility with traditional veterinary care, chiropractic and osteopathy, acupuncture & shiatsu and many other modalities.

The Difference Between Equine Touch and Sports Massage

When I went on my first basic Equine Touch course, after the rigours of a Sports Massage course and having to memorise every single muscle name in Latin, I must admit it initially seemed a far easier and much less labour intensive alternative. There was a small number of moves to remember, over muscles that I already knew. Intent is perhaps the most vital keyword for this discipline, and without understanding how its interpretation can affect the validity of the moves, this discipline dulls from something extra special to simply comparable with many others.

lesley & faithful friend

Developing My Skills As A Therapist

Although I treasured the time I spent with my beloved horse, I had no idea of what went on within him. He was just my horse that I thought of as my best friend but whom I thought only needed a stable and good hay in return for everything he gave me. It took his sudden death, and the rather uncanny arrival within months of not one but two 'hopeless cases', that made me realise how much more I could have done for him.

I learnt all about massage, so I could help my new horses with their aches and pains and try to repair some of the damage done to them by unreasonable demands. It all seemed very nice and I could see how much they enjoyed it. However, it is not all about muscle knots. I was fortunate enough to attend a Cranio-Sacral course and what a revealation it proved to be. I started to see the change in their eyes, not just the much touted 'softening, but the stillness, the withdrawal, the inner focus, the sadness and the recognition.

Equine Touch and Feel

How wonderful it is to see horses lose some of their pain and tension, to visibly relax and enjoy being given something with nothing expected in return. Equine Touch has not only improved my relationship with my own horses, but has made me approach horses in a different way.

Equine Touch really is about touch and feel. It is a discipline based on anatomy and physiology, but it is also about true interaction between two separate species, about offering to help, and being respectful enough to step back and wait. It's about not trying to diagnose a specific problem, or treat only a specific area. It's about understanding the pain spiral, how pain spreads like a weed throughout the body, the compensation factor. It is about releasing the muscle memory and rstoring its blueprint. It is about balancing the whole body, so that it not only addresses every aspect of the horse wholistically but encourages their innate ability to heal themselves.

Lesley completed a course in Equine Touch. Lesley also trained in the following therapies Equine Sports Massage, Myofascial Release, Podiatry and Cranio-Sacral Therapy. Lesley has a base in both the UK and France and can be contacted on +44 (0)7940 533113, or by email: lesley@equiwork.com

Visit her website for more information on her work as a therapist: www.equiwork.com

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