I first came across Equine Touch in late 2003 when a friend showed me an article in a magazine. I had just spent several hundred dollars at the vets to try and find out why Khal my arab was suddenly uncomfortable when I rode him (although he looked sound) The vet turned round and said he couldn’t find anything wrong and he was probably just messing me around! Anyway, Jock and Ivana were holding a Level 1 course here in Southland in early 2004, so I booked on so maybe they could tell me what was wrong with my horse.
After 3 days, I was amazed at the difference in the horses we worked on during the course and after 3 weeks of practising on my horses and friends I remember shaking my head saying ‘My god, this stuff actually REALLY works!’ After doing Level 2 and 3 in 2005, I worked on getting my Practitioner Certificate and also started tutoring after Jock & Ivana came back and ran some more courses in Southland.
In 2007 I went over to Texas for my Instructor course and have been teaching Level 1 and 2 Courses in the South Island of New Zealand since then. I work full time doing Equine Touch and am constantly amazed at the horses reactions, I’m sure that sometimes it’s pure relief that a human has actually realised that they are sore and are helping them. I love helping people to understand why their horses are reacting the way they are and helping them to help their horses.
My first contact with Equine Touch was from the website, which I found while researching other bodywork modalities I could learn to apply that would fit with my Cranio Sacral Training. The website was very well done and the information was interesting reading so I applied to host a Level 1 Clinic. We had 9 students keen to learn and Jock duly arrived to teach us this amazing technique. My friend and I were amazed with the changes we could make on horses with ET, and we were very keen to progress through the levels to learn more. We hosted a Level 2 the following year, then we went to Invercargill for Level 3 and then several months later we did Level 4. I really enjoyed the upper levels, they offer some very in depth information on biomechanics, anatomy and the influence feet, teeth and saddle fit have on horses. I was in USA in 2007 training for my electrotherapy unit as an instructor and Jock invited me to Texas to train as an Equine Touch instructor while I was over there.
I use ET regularly on my horse treatments ( I am working as a Equine therapist using many techniques) but my ET body balancing is the technique of choice to complete a session with. It seems to aid well in changing the patterns of incorrect compensatory behaviours.
I am also trained in Cranio-Sacral therapy with Maureen Rogers in Melbourne and Level 1 CS human with Upledger in Chch. I studied Massage techniques, acupressure, and trigger point therapy and combined these to address sore horses.
The first year or two I just did my own and friends horses but as demand grew I started to work regularly as a therapist and currently allow 2 – 3 days a week to treat horses in North Canterbury areas.
I compete in Showjumping mostly with my favourite breed of horses the appaloosa. Buddy “Spotswood” won the NZ Show jumping 1.20 title 3 years ago. He has also won pretty much every other big competition in North Canterbury, most points SJ at CHCH royal show 2 years ago, and many Hunter Championships.
I have several other “rescue” horses that I repair, retrain and rehome which is very rewarding. One thing I have found with being an equine therapist is that the more you learn the more you realize you don’t know. It’s a long and exciting task becoming efficient and effective but can recommend it to anyone as the most rewarding thing you can do if you love horses.
Denyse Cambie North Island Level 1, Level 2
I started ET in Jan 2004 hosting a course after hearing about it from a friend. I kept organising courses every summer when Jock and Ivi were in NZ, and moving up the levels myself eventually becoming a practitioner. But I mainly did ET on my own horses and dogs, and a few friends horses as well as running refresher days and tutoring students.
I always fully believed in the modality, but didn’t have so much belief in my own ability / experience so I didn’t accept any other ET work offered. Then I heard about a horse that was going to be put down and I begged to be allowed to work on him and give him one last chance. He was in the most pain I have ever seen a horse and he had only been ridden for about 3 months of the 2 years the current owner had him. He had apparently been shunted from behind in a major racing crash and his front and back end looked like 2 separate horses. With his new owner he had been having very expensive and ongoing vet treatments, special shoes and all sorts of other bodywork to no avail. His owner told me he hadn’t managed to cope with any previous bodywork and he wouldn’t let me touch his withers, his hamstrings, his neck, his head, his shoulders etc. I said to let him make that decision, and to her amazement he let me do everything except his shoulders. His owner was completely stunned with the difference a few days after his first session “I don’t know what magic you did but he let me put my hand on his wither in the paddock without a halter”. After 3 sessions he was back in light riding work, had put on weight, had a glossy coat and eye and was loving his new life and being able to roll right over and play with other horses.
After that I progressed to working on a other peoples horses in my very limited time between working full time, working on my property and keeping my 2 horses fit for horse trials.
I get a great satisfaction in working on all sorts of horses from those just needing a little TLC to more serious cases, and along the way I picked up a few human cases too. And now as instructor I am looking forward to introducing more people to the ET way of life.
Ivana Ruddock – North and South Island Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4