I would like to begin our work together with a very honest note to you, reader.
I have never taken a course on equine rehabilitation.
I have not studied from the masters of classical dressage or biomechanics.
I am not well-read on classical literature.
I do not own a single book on equine exercises.
I cannot tell you how my work differs from ____________________. Everything I know to be true is because I am a forever student of the horse, and the horse alone. Everything that you will learn from this methodology is simply and purely my personal beliefs and what I currently have found to be true from countless hours of self-study along with trials and so many errors.And, more than anything, humility and observation.
In my own professional training and then bodywork journey, I have come across many challenges and have done the work to navigate through them to find answers to the other side. And these answers are what I now would like to gift to those on a similar journey as I dedicate my life teaching alongside my continuous path of learning.
After years of now successfully teaching my work and being referred to from Veterinarians I deeply respect as an “expert on equine movement and biomechanical soundness,” I suppose it’s fair for me to take those compliments as a good metric as I simultaneously teach to the best of my ability and continue forging my own learning path as this forever student of the horse.
I firmly believe that even the most skilled of horsemen come across many of the same difficulties and questions - and they all draw similar conclusions. We are all working with the same body and type of creature, after all. However, it’s how we arrive at these conclusions that differs based on the lens we look through. This lens is often informed by our life experiences, and how we choose to use what we see to respond to our observations and conclusions is what I believe sets our different teaching styles apart from one another. One of the things I find to be the most fascinating about my research is the number of people who are coming forward to show me how this work falls so closely in-line with classical dressage principles.
I do not come from an educated background within dressage or biomechanics - I simply found myself chasing the sole thread of supporting nerve function rather than following a set school of thought. Because of this, I am able to peer through my own unique lens for how to develop and support the whole horse while noticing and being able to discern between any differences between my methodology and those who specialize in the dressage arena.
When I was trying to figure out how to utilize movement to mimic the nerve release work I was doing along with my manual therapy, I found similar movements to dressage like the shoulder-in and shoulder-fore. When I was trying to solve more long-term issues of why the body was predisposed to nerve impingements in the first place, I found that lack of correct development of the muscles was the core problem. When I was mapping the body for how best to support its development, I found a way that allowed for only positive growth without allowing that growth to come at the expense of another area of the body.
Along this journey, I have realized that the levels of dressage and the movements required within each of the tests were correct in what the horse’s body should be physically capable of doing. But my focus has always been about the horse's body upon palpation before and after every session. I do not care if they are able to perform the movements - because it was never about the movement. It’s about what that movement is meant to do FOR the body.
One of the most common parallels I come across in training programs is that the goals and expectations are not in alignment with the horses’ needs. Instead, the narrative always centers the desires of advancement for the humans who ride them. They tend to have the goal of strengthening a movement despite how the horse must compensate to do it. (I believe this to be done unknowingly as we are all just doing our best with the information we have).
Unless you are blessed enough to own one of the “special ones” that has zero tolerance for allowing your decisions to be at the expense of their body, these forgiving beasts will continuously throw their hearts and souls into our requests until they no longer can.In which case, you’ll feel right at home with all of us who have found this path from those exact horses. Our entire priority here within the BTMM community is to strengthen the horse's mind AND body so that the movement comes naturally, with ease and joy. We prioritize honoring their autonomy, toning the nervous system just as much as the musculoskeletal, and we NEVER strengthen one thing at the expense of another.
Because of how I came to these conclusions and the horses I have loved and lost along the way, I have a visceral reaction when I am either watching or riding a horse that is moving in dysfunction. (Something that I must warn you, comes as a side effect from diving down this path). Part of that comes from the fact that I had the good fortune to develop my feel as a child who rode on horses that were balanced and “finished” bridle horses. The other piece comes from the years of dedication to palpating every single horse I could get my hands on, and making it my goal that every ridden session could leave them feeling just as loose and free of nerve compressions as my manual therapy could.
And that’s what I’ve done. For me, every answer that I have arrived to has been from the horse. By taking the time to sit and watch and listen.
By remaining open and willing to be humbled.
By learning to respect not only their own autonomy, but their own awareness of their system. A system of which I am just a student. Regardless of the technique or piece of equipment I am using, my ever-constant weathervane is the response from them.
Both emotionally, mentally and physically. Because at the end of the day, it is their body that we are trying to “master.” And it seems like fairly common sense to me that we would allow ourselves to be taught by the only ones that could truly ever be masters of it - the horses themselves.
Balance Through Movement Method was never meant to be a training program in and of itself.
It was created to give people, in any discipline, a tangible checklist to use as they tuned in and noticed if their horse was operating out of function or dysfunction for their nerve health. That was all. But the conclusions that I came to, inspired by the horses that lead me there, created a new path - one that is both subtly and radically different from classical approaches. And this path is something I believe should be readily available to anyone who works with horses.
I believe that this path offers missing pieces of information that need to be in the hands of everyone. My hope is that as you are reading through this site and exploring this work, you try to keep an open mind and receive this personal journey and slab of my heart as it is intended. We are all on our journey here, and this mine. More than anything, I hope you take it all back to your own horses.
Sit with them.
Invite them to the conversation and listen.
For their voice is the only one that should matter.
Sending you love and light on your journey,