The Equine Touch was brought to New Zealand around 2001 when Jock returned to “his” country for a holiday, to relax after touring the world and to spend some time with his NZ grandkids. Around the house, there were paddocks full of horses, and of course he could not resist when he saw horses in pain and discomfort – he would just jump the fences and work on them. And people started to know of the “wrestler” who was helping horses in the gentlest of ways.
The first official class was organized by “ET ambassador” the late Merilly Morgan. She was an American citizen who loved New Zealand and she returned back here at every possible opportunity and stayed as long as she could. She was known for her ability to appear at any time or place when there was an injured horse; she always seemed to speak to the right stranger who would end up guiding her to see the animals in need. In this way she would trigger the curiosity of locals and she was often asked if she could organise a class so people could learn this simple technique and continue to work on their animals.
Both, Jock and Merrily were introducing the Equine Touch to New Zealand’s horse lovers in the most natural way, by word of mouth. Accordingly the Equine Touch technique had to earn its own reputation.
An interesting turn happened when a journalist attended one class in Tauranga and after three days he wrote and published an article – “The miracle in the mist”. Simply he described what he saw, horses changing in front of his eyes – scared animals starting to relax, horses in pain becoming less reactive and a frightened thoroughbred, straight from the track, was chilling and sleeping after the first session. Equine Touch had made her name.
From that time Equine Touch classes were hosted every summer when Jock and his wife Ivana were in the country. In 2007, they were joined by their personally trained New Zealand ET instructors and classes could be held all year long.
When Jock’s health deteriorated he wanted to come back to New Zealand for his final days. After his death in 2011, Ivana stayed here, and continued teaching the Equine Touch and Canine Touch classes. She lives in Whangarei with her horses and dog, traveling around New Zealand introducing this gentle bodywork to all people who would like to learn more about helping their horses.