News Release

Midway College 512 E. Stephens Street Midway, KY 40347-1120

For more information contact:

Mimi Porter

Midway College Now Offers Only Bachelor's Degree Equine Therapy Program in the United States

Midway College, located in Midway, KY in the heart of Bluegrass horse country, recently added the only bachelor's degree program in equine therapy in the United States to its curriculum. This degree program offers students the chance to acquire the skills and certification needed to work in the rapidly growing field of equine therapy.

The Equine Therapy program, which is open to women, is a professional degree program in which students must complete 65 college credit hours of pre-equine therapy courses before making formal application into the professional phase of the program. The professional courses will stress practical experience and include clinicals under the supervision of practicing therapists and veterinarians. Students will acquire skills in equine therapy, rehabilitation, and injury prevention. Upon completion of the course work, students will take a certification examination administered by the college.

Therapy for horses involves the use of non-invasive techniques for rehabilitation and injury prevention. Treatment involves the use of therapeutic lasers, photon therapy, electrical stimulation, magnetic therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, rehabilitative exercise and stretching, massage, and other manual therapies, hydrotherapy and the application of heat and cold. Equine therapy is considered secondary care for the horse and is applied only after a thorough veterinary examination and diagnosis.

The addition of a four-year equine therapy program is a natural extension of the nationally recognized Midway College equine studies programs. Established in 1847, Midway College is just 15 minutes from Lexington and an hour from Cincinnati and Louisville. Midway College offers fourteen baccalaureate and nine associate degrees.

Traditionally Kentucky's only college exclusively for women, Midway also offers an accelerated evening degree program for working men and women through its School for Career Development.

Centered Riding Symposium

By Susan Ajamian

"Mind, Body, Horse", the First Annual Centered Riding Symposium, was held Friday, Nov. 19 and Saturday, Nov. 20 at the University of Delaware's Clayton Hall, and on Sunday Nov. 21 at the L.G. Equestrian Center's new indoor arena in Port Deposit, Md. It was a great symposium thanks to Mother Nature's benign weather and thoughtful planning by volunteer event coordinator Jane Ramsey Marsh. We locals are lucky it is so convenient for us; I met people who travelled from as far away as Ontario, Tennessee, New York, Missouri - even Great Britain and Holland.

Centered Riding's techniques are relevant for all equestrians, whatever their style of riding. There were eight general sessions designed to be helpful to all, and then we customized our experience by selecting four from a variety of break-out sessions on Saturday.

The Symposium began Friday afternoon with an annual meeting of Centered Riding, Inc. Susan Neilson-Smith and I arrived later for the reception and dinner. The glowing fireplace, a glass of wine, and a tower of crudites and cheeses created a welcoming atmosphere. And there was a relaxed feeling since we were all there to learn with and from each other. The round tables at dinner made introductions and conversation easy. Thanks to clear name tags, I realized we were sitting with former Olympian Kim Walnes, who told us she started using Centered Riding while on the Team (and still has The Grey Goose).

After dinner, President Debby Hadden and Jane Ramsey Marsh welcomed us, then Sally Swift gave a talk which was rather like a group lesson. We were on our feet both to practice the Centered Riding Basics (soft eyes, breathing, building blocks, centering and grounding) and to give her a standing ovation. On Sunday we saw how the rider's use of these basics improved the horse's attitude, balance and impulsion when Sally taught two

30-minute lessons.

Saturday began with a continental breakfast, then we all attended Dr. Joyce Harman's presentation on "Practical Saddle Fitting for the Horse and Rider." Joyce explained that saddle-fit problems are a major contributor to poor performance, and that having the saddle sit on one-third to one-half of the Bladder Meridian means fit problems can become health problems. She also discussed problems arising from manufacturing defects, poor fit to the horse and poor fit to the rider, including stirrup bar placement. Check your saddle if you get backaches from riding. And if you are afraid of jumping, it may be your inner ear signaling that your stirrup bars are unbalancing you. Later, Joyce used her Saddletech system's computer display to show us the increased pressure spots from fit problems of several different saddles.

The Saturday schedule also included talks by Bettina Drummond and Dr. Janet Edgette. Bettina drew on her extensive classical dressage training with Nuno Oliveira to discuss the relationship between classical equilibrium and the rider's seat. She had a wonderful sense of humor (for example, videos of how she coped with her barn's "terrorists") and shared out-takes of Oliveira training horses. These showed the horse's problems, and Bettina explained the body weight shifts needed to correct those problems. She also reminded us of the link from the modern cowboy tradition back through the New World Spanish to classical dressage. We saw Bettina again on Sunday for both a demonstration of classical dressage training techniques in ground work with her Lusitano mare, and later as one of three demonstration riders for Wendy Murdoch's session.

After dinner on Saturday, Dr. Janet Edgette's talk "Control Over What?" was relevant to riding and more. She was warm, wise and very funny. She identified and then challenged our three major assumptions about control - that we need it, that we can have it, and that it comes without a cost. She discussed how power and influence were different from "control." She also pointed out that although we cannot control how we FEEL or THINK, we can control what we choose to DO in response. She welcomed questions from the audience, and there was often laughter and clapping as we recognized common situations in her descriptions. On Sunday, a demonstration rider told us how she used Janet's advice to successfully deal with her mare's panic on the ride over to the indoor arena.

Saturday we had eight break-out sessions from which we could select four to attend. We were offered Tramp-Pole-Line with Melanie Alexander-Fuchs, Animal Communication with Anita Curtis, Marketing Your Business with Amy Budd, Alexander and Feldenkrais Techniques with Sandra Code-Cabell, Yoga with Lil Lack, Learning Styles with Robin Brueckmann, and Gail Field and Sue Leffler each taught Unmounted Exercises. Sandra, Robin, Gail, Sue and Wendy are all Level IV (Senior) Centered Riding Instructors.

Gail Field had us pair up and use "reins" in exercises which let us feel how they telegraph to the horse even subtle changes in our breathing, focus and tension. My partner was Level IV instructor Sue Leffler, who was both a knowledgeable "rider" and, when we switched roles, a sensitive and responsive "horse." This did include some balking, rooting and bolting. I expect my horse will appreciate the heightened awareness I gained from Sue's responses.

Robin Brueckmann's presentation of the three major styles of learning (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) helped both students and instructors understand how to get more out of lessons, how to retain the knowledge, and how to access it. Robin also told us that the horse is a visual learner. And she had a funny story. Her new horse was raised with sheep, so he is used to looking for "sheep" body language. She had to turn him out with horses for a while so he could learn "horse," since she doesn't speak "sheep."

Then I had lunch with my friend Anita Curtis. There was a story in Anita's book about Centered Riding. I thought Sally would like a copy and she asked to have Anita sign it. It was fun to show Sally the story about my horse saying my riding improved when I recited the Centered Riding basics Debby Hadden taught me, and that I had to learn not to focus on his ears, but to see the whole landscape (the "soft eyes" of Centered Riding!).

Sue Leffler's Unmounted Exercises presentation taught several movement, breathing and stretching techniques. Then I learned some Yoga techniques from Lil Lack of Hilltop Farm. Lil led us through pleasant, gentle, exercises. At home, she combines lunging lessons with Yoga, visualization, focus/concentration and relaxation exercises.

After lunch on Sunday, the Symposium wrapped up with Wendy Murdoch's demonstration of "Centered Riding Put Into Practice." She worked with three riders - a former USET 3-Day rider, an FEI-level dressage competitor, and a classical dressage rider (Bettina). These three had all reached their levels of expertise without using Centered Riding, yet they visibly improved as Wendy reminded their bodies how to function freely and correctly. With the dressage horse, she also changed the bit and saddle.

Mark your calendars for the Second Annual Symposium in November 2000. It's an experience I highly recommend, not only for the wealth of information you'll gain but also for the camaraderie.