The Equine Touch® - In Harmony with the Universe

The Equine Touch does not involve skeletal manipulation of any type; the gentle moves are merely performed over the muscles and connective soft tissue of the animal.

The Equine Touch is a unique and gentle procedure that is currently astounding the equine allopathic and complementary health world. MVDr Zdenek Zert, the head of surgery at Brno Veterinary University and one of the most respected Equine Veterinary Surgeons in Europe, had this to say about the modality:

"The Equine Touch in the equine species is historically presented as one of the first indications in this field of alternative medicine. My experience however with this art of illness management in the horse is short and incomplete. The Equine Touch practitioners as well as the vets can use this type of specific movements on the horse's body for releasing hypertonic and traumatic muscles in the equine athletes before competition and for unspecific reconvalescency after or during races and events. Interesting is the Equine Touch monotherapy of some diseases such as inflammation of the lymphatic veins, sprains, combustions, some neurologic and musculoskeletal problems. It reaches many interesting and encouraging results, however the most important indication is the support of classic allopathic therapy with this type of treatment. Together with homeopathy and acupuncture The Equine Touch is an important member of the alternative medicine in the horse."

Relatively new in the field of complementary animal modalities, The Equine Touch has already achieved credibility with horse owners, riders, trainers, equine therapists, equine chiropractors and veterinary surgeons in all countries where it is taught. The results in competitive horses have been, to say the least, stunning, and the ability for a horse to address a long-standing problem be it emotional, physical, neurological or behavioural has astounded even the most skeptical of traditional equine doctors and therapists.

The correct execution of these simple non-invasive procedures has many effects, one of which is releasing hypertonic and traumatised muscles.

The Equine Touch is simple to learn and requires no great knowledge of anatomy or physiology. The main ingredients required are accuracy, integrity and intent and a great deal of love for the equine.

The Equine Touch is not a therapy as such. It is in essence an energy release modality, which must simply be considered as a holistic healing gift to the horse. It is not a treatment designed to focus on any particular injury that the horse may or may not have. It is merely a series of specific non-invasive moves over the soft connective tissue which when performed with accuracy, integrity and intent in a predetermined order have a profound effect upon the innate healing wisdom of the equine, encouraging it through the medium of relaxation and body balancing to maximum response.

The Equine Touch is not designed, or intended, in any way to be a substitute for normal veterinary practice. It is extremely complementary to allopathic medicine, as it is to acupuncture, homeopathic and herbal medicine while standing on its own as an initiator of amazing results.

The Equine Touch is merely a series of specific non-invasive moves in a predetermined order over the soft connective tissue.

The Equine Touch does not involve skeletal manipulation of any type; the gentle moves are merely performed over the muscles and connective soft tissue of the animal. The correct execution of these simple non-invasive procedures has the effect of inducing deep relaxation, releasing hypertonic and traumatised muscles, encouraging muscle tone recovery from injury and atrophy, reducing the pain spiral, assisting in lymphatic drainage, balancing the entire body physically and emotionally, releasing energy blocks, and stimulating the flow of Ki energy throughout the meridians, thereby allowing the equine to attain and maintain the ideal state of homeostasis.

The Equine Touch was pioneered and ultimately choreographed as an individual equine modality in its own right in 1997 by Bowen specialist and international acclaimed instructor Jock Ruddock. Jock, principal instructor for the International Academy of Somatic Harmonization and national standards advisor on Bowen for the Institute for Complementary Medicine, initially addressed the equine by transposing the basic Bowen human procedures to the horse. Subsequently the modality was introduced to veterinarians in Europe and Jock was joined in developing and teaching the modality by his wife Ivana, a veterinary surgeon and former university lecturer in anatomy who researched and monitored the success of the treatments and assisted in developing the Equine Touch even farther. As a result of Ivana's input, equine anatomy was studied, the location of each move noted, new moves and procedures tested and tried, and while at this stage there is no medically acceptable explanation as to how The Equine Touch works, the results appear to have a profound and positive effect on all patients exposed to the work.

Jock Ruddock demonstrating one of the Basic moves, learned first on each other before used on the horses.

Critics of the Equine Touch seminars have described Jock and Ivana's teaching collaboration as beyond perfect - Jock the intuitive and seasoned bodyworker with over 30 years of experience in his hands, and Ivana the consummate researcher and medical professional whose allopathic interpretation of the discipline satisfies even the most dubious academic. As a result of their dedication and input to the modality, the Equine Touch has now been recognised by the Institute for Complementary Medicine in the UK, The British Complementary Medicine Association, Natural Horse Magazine in the USA, Equinology (equine therapeutic college) in the USA, and the Hypiatric Society associated with the Veterinary University in Czech Republic.

The Equine Touch is not the Bowen Technique for horses though it has often been called that. The moves are performed using the principles of Tom Bowen's technique in that there is what can be described as a 'slide, bump and glide' used in performing each procedure. Novices are required to practice the basic moves 'a la' the Bowen technique on their fellow students before practising on the equine. Apart from the feedback that the human will give to the novice that the equine cannot, this allows the novice to be able to address and assist imbalance in the rider, which may in many cases be contributory to the horses' problems. The Equine Touch is a holistic practice; if we are to accept the premise that the horse and rider are in fact one emotional, energetic, physical body, then what must be true for one may be true for the other, each taking on the others' problems or happiness.

The Equine Touch is now being developed and choreographed into a total discipline which is gaining recognition not only by horse owners, horse lovers, and trainers but equine chiropractors who find this technique less stressful to the horse, and also by allopathic veterinarians whose treatments are enhanced by the balancing on all levels that the Equine Touch appears to bring about.

The Equine Touch is not a therapy. It is not a substitution or alternative for allopathic medicine. It is simply a holistic gift to the equine that is being used by amateurs, professional horse carers, and trainers throughout the world with great enthusiasm and success.

Ivana Ruddock, left, introduces 'Canine Touch' to the Advanced students.

When performed with accuracy, integrity and intent the moves have a profound effect upon the innate healing wisdom of the equine.


The Equine Touch Seminars

Even the feline begged to be 'worked on'.

The Equine Touch is easy to learn - a good, loving pair of hands, a big 'aloha' and understanding for the horse are, coupled with integrity and intent, the main requirements to successfully master the discipline.

1. The Horse Lovers Seminar: The Horse Lovers Seminar is a three-day intensive hands-on foundation course in which the novice is instructed in both basic equine and human body balancing and the essence of the initial transposition of these procedures to the equine. The student is taught basic safety in addressing the equine as well as ten Equine Touch procedures that cover the hindquarter, forequarter, neck, saddle area, hamstrings, forelegs, sacrum, lymphatic drainage and TMJ. A user-friendly instruction manual is supplied and a certificate issued upon completion.

2. The Advanced Seminar: The Advanced Seminar is held three to six months later and is run over three days in conjunction with a Horse Lovers Seminar during which time the advanced student will review the basic introductory procedures, both human and horse, and be instructed in twenty more procedures relating to the discipline. The advanced student will also be expected to adopt the role of 'journeyman' with a novice to assist the newcomer in attaining a higher standard of proficiency. This system we believe also enhances the advanced students' abilities, as the best way to learn anything is to teach it. Once again a certificate is issued upon completion and a user-friendly manual is supplied.

3. Practitioners Seminar: Once again this seminar is run over three days. However the approach and build up to the Practitioners Certificate is somewhat different and slightly more complex. Firstly, the trainee must apply to be on the course; secondly he/she must present 12 case histories. The participant must purchase a complete practitioners manual, rather large, which covers everything they have learned plus basic equine anatomy, case studies, articles and advice from Equine Touch veterinarians, trainers, and riders as well as advanced procedures which are not essentially a derivative of 'Bowen' but include tried and tested non-invasive hands-on procedures learned from respected equine practitioners around the world and which harmonize perfectly with the principles and philosophy of The Equine Touch. Practical assessments are then held on all levels of the discipline and the novice practitioners must sit a written exam in their own time in order to become a certificated 'Practitioner' recognized by IASH and eligible to join the British Register for Complementary Practitioners.