This is a picture that I took of my beloved 26-year old Andalusian stallion Capprichio last summer.  I laid in the grass and let my camera catch the landscape of his body.  Several months later, He would choke on a carrot, and during the treatment to clear the choke, we discovered that his heart murmur was now significant, even dangerous.  We did an echocardiogram, then a stress test.

He is on medication, including COQ10, and a diet of soaked timothy cubes (he can no longer chew hay), and supportive organic supplements, hemp oil, and of course his Himalayan salt block.  He has continued to love to work – he was/is, after all a Grand Prix level performer.  His exuberance under saddle is one of my great, great joys. Even now, he gets just as excited to see the mares (and geldings).  Always, I watch his breathing carefully, and only ride for short periods, and only do what he tells me is ok on that day.  AFter 14 years together, we are very good at listening to each other.  Did I say that I love him?

Yesterday it was oddly hot, and so we walked for awhile, and I noticed that his breathing was more labored than usual.  I got off, checked his carotid pulse, got back on, and asked if he wanted to trot.  He did, but it felt like the air in his tires was low, and that the spring in his step was not what I want to feel if we were to keep going.  So we stopped.

Back in his stall, I opened the top of his Dutch door, and we stood side-by-side an gazed out at the big field that has been his home for the past ten years.  Did I say that I love him?

Capprichio is specific about how, when and where he wants to be touched.  But yesterday he let me circle his neck with my arms and lean my head into his neck for a long time.  Then we pressed our ribs together and I breathed his rhythm, which was slow and a bit ragged.  Then I called the vet.

Next week we will repeat the echocardiogram. I carry all of my horses in my own body – like cellular heiroglyphs – each one so spedific, beautiful and detailed.  Capprichio’s hieroglyph would be in all caps, and circled with flowers.  I love him.  Say a prayer for my beautiful boy.



inspired conversations

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I had the pleasure of speaking to Amy Schuber for her PODCAST, Inspired Conversations.

We talked about some of the following:

  • Embodiment as a conscious flowing awareness of inner and outer experiencing.
  • Orienting to pleasure and how horses can help us
  • Inter-species communication through the shared language of movement and touch
  • Consciously moving toward greater expansion and flow in our lives
  • Gaining access to more of our creative selves
  • How we can open to the unexpected, and have a more improvisational, playful relationship to life
  • How our relationships (human and equine) are about reciprocity: the balance between giving and receiving

I hope that you enjoy listening.  Don’t hesitate to contact me with the email link below if you have questions or would like to schedule a session in my studio, at the stable or via Skype.

the playful body

1M0B8555Dillon Paul, DeAnna Pellecchia and Ingrid Schatz in FLIGHT at Mistover Farm, Pawling, NY     Photo: Jeffrey Anderson


Yesterday I had the privilege of giving a webinar on working with horses and movement for the Somatic Experiencing© Trauma Healing Institute.

One of the things that I said during that talk was that for most people, movement is functional: about going somewhere or doing something. In that “going/doing preoccupation” much of the expressive world of our movement can be lost. We forget that we are all dancers. We forget to play, and that we are moving participants in a human/animal herd!

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 2.08.18 PMChandrika Carl-Jones, DeAnna Pellecchia, Summer Brennan and Amado in ALL THE PRETTY HORSES at Little Brook Farm, Old Chatham, NY                        Photo:  Pam White


In my experience, by “waking up” the body, becoming more improvisational and playful in our movement interactions, becoming more aware of how we are moving and how that movement feels – we can begin to feel and connect to each other more clearly, with greater curiosity and fluency. After all, 60-80% of our movement interactions are non-verbal.  Movement is our first and most important shared language!

The horses can help us with that. When I am working with a client or student, I focus on supporting her (or him) in listening inwardly to their own bodies, and in particular to any impulses for movement. If we are working with a horse, I may ask them to simply rest with their hands on the horse, noticing the horse’s and their own responses and the feeling in their own body. Breathing. Settling into a shared, breathing stillness. Feeling the play between stillness and whatever movement may be happening.  Connecting the inside of themselves with the inside of the horse.

From there, instead of just moving the hands to another place on the horse’s body, or petting or massaging the horse, wait for an impulse from your own body to move your hands.  If there is no impulse to move, just stay where you are.  Be curious about that.  When you do move, imagine moving from a sense of  attunement with the horse. After moving,  let yourself settle into the reciprocal (giving and receiving) feeling of that connection.

If you have questions about working with movement and horses, or would like to schedule a session or a clinic, you can contact me at

the shape of water


Immersion, suspension, depths, quiet, transformation.  I saw Guillermo Del Toro’s extraordinary new movie, The Shape of Water, last night.  It is my new favorite movie of all time.  Last night, my dreams were full of images of underwater suspension, hovering in the depths, of state changes, solubility.

Maybe some of this is because I am developing a water dance, River/Body, and my thoughts and dreams are very full of what it is to enter the waters, to become the waters, to join our waters with other waters. One part of my research involved learning about the small creatures living within the currents, unseen, always present – damselfly nymphs, water boatmen, diving beetles, giant water bugs – little beasts of the river shallows.

This movie is about a larger creature – a merman and his connection with a different kind of nymph. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it.  Sally Hawkins is exquisite – Chaplinesque –  reminding me of Fellini’s lovely wife, the actress Giulietta Masina

And then this movie is an inter-species love affair. I have spent the last twenty years exploring what can happen between species – specifically horses and humans – if we will only listen, if we will only allow ourselves to drop into the deep well of sharing movement as language, movement as the heart of connection. In this drama between a mute girl and a creature from the depths, movement is everything and silence speaks volumes.