Equine Somatics aims to cultivate the natural self-corrective mechanism within the animal. The focus is to provide an environment for the horse in which to harness this innate ability of finding ease and health. Equine Somatics is based on the principle of the body’s natural ability to self-correct, to heal, and to maintain the somatic state of health. Modalities like massage, chiropractic acupressure/puncture, or most other bodywork modalities, are applied to the horse's body. In contrast, Equine Somatics is a cooperative system of guided movement that works with the horse's own brain, enhancing a healthy mind-body connection.
The equine somatic educator makes hands-on suggestions, and the horse moves their own body by contracting and relaxing their muscles very slowly. These purposeful movements originate in the voluntary motor cortex, which is the only part of the nervous system that can actively relax muscles. Once the horse feels the release that occurs with such intentional muscle relaxation, they can do it again on their own. Their neurons have been “rewired", and are now able to recall how to communicate with muscles more effectively.
“The human-horse relationship is by nature somatic: It is the integration of two minds and two bodies, the mind and body of the rider and the mind and body of the horse... The result is a greater harmony between horse and rider, an interspecies relationship.”
Eleanor Criswell Hanna PhD, founder of Equine Hanna Somatics
"We apply this work to our horses and they have never been happier, softer or more relaxed... somatics goes beyond bodywork."
"Equine Somatics is the only technique that improves the function of the nervous system, reconnects the horse's body and mind, resulting in improved performance, avoidance of injury and an overall more integrated horse."