Equissentials of Happy Horsekeeping


God's Gift to Tom Bowen:

For the Greatest Good of All


By Lauren Giannini

Yipes. Deadline time.

What do I do?

Write a column that starts out - Hi there, all you hippomaniac readers of Natural Horse. Come on! Stand up and shout woo-hoo if you take great pride in being totally horsecrazy.

Or do I write about what's been going on. Like not having time - oops, Not MAKING time for my horse. Running around like a maniac or staggering about in total collapse from exhaustion. Taking on a real live GIFT horse, and feeling grateful for the reunion, but that's another story. Meeting new friends associated with the Bowen Technique. Now that's great news.

The creators of Natural Horse Magazine just happen to be organizing something very special. It's a first in the Keystone state.

Note this weekend date on your calendar: 25 - 26 - 27 August

Natural Horse is bringing Jock Ruddock to Lancaster, a county that lies west in a southerly slant outside the Main Line of Philadelphia. Randi Peters, the editor, is the primary mover and shaker behind this event, a three-day basic course in Equine Touch, one of the techniques developed for horses from Tom Bowen's work.

Sylvia Schmid, who lives in South Africa, did the Basic Bowen with Jock in October 1999 and the Advanced in February 2000. She has been active with horses since she was 14, even though her father had forbidden her to have anything to do with them. As an adult Sylvia has been involved in natural healing for the past 12 years. In addition to a doctorate in homeopathy, she has studied Touch for Health, Kinesiology, Reiki (which she teaches), and the TTEAM- Tellington Touch for Horses. The Schmids keep two Thoroughbreds and an Anglo-Arab on their property in Harare, Zimbabwe.

"I work on humans and horses. I have also done quite a few dogs and cats with great success," Sylvia says. "My favorite story is the first 'patient' I got my hands on after I only did the basic Bowen. My friends' dog Spike, a terrier type, was lying in his basket waiting to die. He is only 8 years old, as thin as a rake, does not want to eat anymore. At this stage, my friend was feeding him molasses with a dropper bottle. I had the feeling I must do a few Bowen moves on him. It can't hurt if it doesn't help. I put in the 'stoppers' and went straight to the left shoulder. I placed a Bowen move behind his front leg, the tendon there felt like a wiry guitar string. The dog started to go into spasm. Oh help! What have I done?"

Now, this is where Sylvia's story gets really interesting.

"I waited for a few minutes, then did the other side," she recalls. "He started to lick my hand with a vigor I have never come across before! Well, that was all I did that day."

Spike had been living with a gimpy leg. The right hind was emaciated and useless. The dog moved crookedly, and had to be in great pain. He hadn't been using it for more than a year at least. He had been run over by a car when he was young, and the vet found a broken shoulder and pelvis.

A week after four Basic Bowen moves, Spike's person phoned all excited, wanting to know what Sylvia had done to her dog. This made Sylvia anxious and she admits, "I thought, 'he is now even worse', which was almost unimaginable."

Oh ye of little faith in Tom Bowen*.

[*The bequeather of a priceless inheritance. Only a few handpicked individuals managed to get close enough to study what he was doing in Australia to help all those no hopers and last resorters. Perhaps as few as 10,000 or as many as 20,000 people in the world know and practice this technique. They are a knowledgeable minority. The author of this column is an enthusiastic disciple of Tom Bowen's technique, and she calls Bowen the miracle of the new millennium.]

"No, no!" replies the friend still in extreme excitation. "You had better come to see for yourself, you will not believe what happened."

And so Sylvia went over right away. She described her reaction as one of incredulity.

"I could indeed not believe it," she recalls. "Spike started howling as I entered the gate of her property. He came running like a young puppy - ON ALL FOUR LEGS! He treated me like a long lost friend. This is what miracles are made of, that's for sure!"

Two weeks later the two friends took Spike for a run in a field. He behaved like a puppy, running and jumping, chasing the cows, always returning to give Sylvia's hands a few more kisses - well, her exact words are "just a few more licks" - and all he had were those four Bowen moves the day he lay wasting away in that basket. With Bowen, less is more, and people learn to look for the miracles.

The bottom line on Spike?

 "This dog has recovered fully," affirms Sylvia. "Every time I go there he comes shooting around the house, positions himself in the way that I cannot misunderstand where he wants to be treated. He also has put on weight, his fur is shiny again, and he looks younger than he actually is. He has to catch up what he has missed out with his long time of pain."

Bowen is an art. Tom Bowen had a gift and he gave it great expression throughout his life. He had a passion for helping people and even some horses. When Tom Bowen's technique resonates with someone at a course or being worked on or even watching his or her equine or canine darling being Bowened, it can strike like a bolt of lightning. The person tends to feel somewhat blinded and dazed by its brilliance. It is just so doggone simple, pardon the pun, and it tends to work, period. It doesn't matter whether it alleviates symptoms or corrects disorders and dis-eases. It works.

Patrice Pendarvis is an artist who makes her home on the island of Kauai. She specializes in scenic watercolors although she admits to painting other subjects, horses and all. Like many horse lovers, Patrice admits that she depends on horses for her sanity and her soul, as well as riding being her chosen aerobic activity. Her involvement with horses began in her childhood and she claims to be in constant awe of what they can do for her or for the soul of someone else.

 "I ride to places to paint - and have fun," she says. "I own three at this time, two 8-year-old Arabian mares and one 24-year-old Arabian/Quarter gelding. I am so honored to have the information taught to me by Jock when he gave his course here on Kauai to work with the horse on a level I didn't know I had. I am not in the process of any Bowen degree status. I do not have the time for that kind of involvement. I work on my own horses as well as friends', and a little on my canoe racing active 50-year-old husband." Her husband, Kawika Goodale, is still paddling like a 20-year-old.

Patrice related an experience that happened just a few months ago. When she went to feed her horses, Ibn the older gelding who happens to be the big eater of the three just stood there, not whinnying and not moving. His behavior was a red alert. She walked over to him and checked his gums: they were blue. She moved the two mares to another pasture immediately.

"I listened to what my heart told me," she recalls. "Colic. I took his vitals and they were not too off. So I walked Ibn, and he groaned. I ran my hands down his groin and it was as hard as a rock."

Patrice called for her husband and a neighbor. All agreed it was colic. She gave the horse a syringe of stress prep from Springtime and began the Bowen method.

"He immediately relaxed," she recalls. "His memory of the three day course was a very good one! Ibn was monitored through the night, medication at hand if needed, and the next day he was sore but alive. I just have to believe his relaxing and my catching it in the early development was key."

Bowen works. It's that simple.

Sylvia's favorite Bowen on humans story concerns an 83-year-old man who couldn't lift his arm 5 cm away from the side of his body. With four Bowen treatments he is back at his club playing bowls. "He is a changed man," she adds. "From an old grumbler to a man telling jokes and laughing. He has sent all the oldies for treatment. He is a walking advertisement for Bowen."

Tom Bowen's techniques can mean the fundamental difference between living in pain and living with freedom of movement. Sylvia relates that a few physiotherapists attended the course in February, and that they were very skeptical at first. "Now they see the benefits daily in their practices," she says. "They also do not attempt to explain it. 'Just DO it,' they say. It can work miracles."

For more information about the basic Equine Touch three-day course to be held 25-27 August in the Lancaster area, please contact Natural Horse at 610-926-0427 or randi@naturalhorse.com .

Tell them Ibn and Spike sent you.


About the author: Lauren Giannini is a freelance writer, Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist, and Bowen Practitioner for horses and humans. Her lifelong favorite subject, horses, led her to be a riding instructor, a remedial trainer for horses off the track, out of the show ring, and in the field, and much more. Lauren has since turned her efforts to bodywork on horses. Her latest project is a short course, "Happy Horsekeeping Massage 101" in which she teaches people how to incorporate massage principles into their regular grooming routine. Happy Horsekeeping 102 will offer ways to spot and prevent potential red alerts from turning into major muscular and movement problems.

For more information on Bowen, Massage 101-102, or to book a barn call in your area, call Lauren at 540-349-8141 or email happyhorse@erols.com .