Less is More. A phrase made famous by a modern architect in the 20th century that gets applied to many different topics because it reminds us to . . . Do Less. Because it’s easy to end up with too much of a good thing in spite of our best intentions.
And so it is with horses and bodywork. They are hundreds, if not thousands of times more sensitive than we are, and in our efforts to help, sometimes we do too much.
That is why I talk a lot about listening to the horse, about stepping back with an exhale to pause. It gives them space. It respects their process to give them time to integrate the results of bodywork, and this happens throughout the session. One older gentlemen gelding likes to turn around and give me a pointed look (okay, a glare) asking me to pause so he can have his yawn in peace. I’m quite willing, and I can relate.
Lydia is a 22-year old Morgan mare who has been described as guarded or self-contained. No bad behavior, she is also kind and willing under saddle though she has some ouchy places in her hind end.
Today I worked with Lydia using simple craniosacral releases. After only 5 minutes of this work, she went into deep process for 10 or 15 minutes with lots more throughout our session. It has a kind of rhythm to it where she goes very deep/internal and releases with quivering lips, blinky eyes, and mobile ears. Notice how her attention is mainly focused inside which is a big deal for a horse. Then she has a release – lick and chew or head shake/jolt, and then she kind of comes up for air looking around at her environment for a moment before diving back in. I’ve observed and held space for many horses processing like this. I don’t need to know what is being released, but the horses always thank me afterwards.
Enjoy this video of a few minutes of Lydia’s processing today, and watch for the waves. This is how our bodies heal—human and equine.