Category Archives: the body

embodied equine experiencing

Version 2my daughter Bimala with two sweet mules

Yesterday I made some big changes to my website.  I felt that it was important to differentiate my ways of working with horses and humans. Embodied Equine Experiencing is the new name for the equine-assisted work that I am doiing with clients who are recovering from trauma of any kind, or who wish to become more settled, easeful and confident in their lives, by becoming more conscious of what their bodies are communicating. This work is an important dimension of my book, Our Horses, Ourselves: Discovering the Common Body.

Connecting in an embodied way with horses opens us to discovering our authentic selves and learning new ways of settling and balancing body and mind. Horses can help us become more comfortable in our own skin, more trustworthy to ourselves and others. With their help, we can find a more reliable sense of physical and emotional balance, resilience and ease. I integrate my skills as a Somatic Experiencing practitioner and Somatic Movement Therapist into this work.

Embodied Horsemanship, on the other hand, is oriented toward horse owners, horse enthusiasts and riders. Rather than focusing on “fixing” the horse, I look at where the rider may be holding habitual patterns of imbalance or tension, offering specific exercises to help release resistance and find greater ease and flow. Often these restrictions arise from the simple size difference between horse and human, and the fact that our default is often force, rather than a more subtle and soft approach to our horsemanship. When we have a deeper awareness of how our body (and mind) are responding, and how those responses are affecting the horse, we can more easily unravel whatever may be inhibiting both communication and performance in the horse and the rider. This work can be an important adjunct or support to your regular training.

If ou are interested in exploring either Embodied Equine Experiencing or Embodied Horsemanship, please contact me.


Capprichio, part 2

1M0B9095bwdancer Ingrid Schatz with Capprichio ridden by Brandi Rivera

Thanks to all of you who expressed your kindness and concern for Capprichio.

He had his echocardiogram recheck on Monday.  Dr. Javsicas said that based on the initial review, and what she could hear, it seems that there had been no measureable decline in his heart health.  She will compare the first ultrasound, but felt that he was doing well.

Yesterday I rode him for the first time in over a week.  I could feel his ripples of excitement and enthusiasm as he lifted himself up into a little piaffe.  His canter was powerful, delicious, extravagant.  He wanted to go go go.

So we will keep dancing, Capprichio and I, but both of us must listen even more compassionately to our bodies, and remember that the heart of what connects us is deep and sweet  – far more to do with being than doing.


riding: the horses, the river

IMG_3032Sanne, ridden by Brandi Rivera

I just posted a new page on my website, called THE HORSES.  I wanted to share a bit more information about my equine collaborators, Capprichio, Amadeo and Sanne. All three have worked with me in performances, and all three are my co-therapists in my Somatic Experiencing/equine therapy practice.  Each one is so unique, so clear in what they bring to a session or a dance.

As I wrote the page, I wondered, is this confusing?  I am sending out appeals for the INDIEGOGO campaign for RIVER/BODY, the dance that I am creating in the Housatonic River this summer.  Then I am posting about my equine work.  Soon I will be telling you about some solo performances coming up this summer, and announcing a book talk or a podcast.

I don’t feel the separation among these, but more and more feel the flow of connection among them and the way that they intersect and support each other. I can feel  how one led inevitably and naturally to the next, and then back again.

Many years ago I was privileged to take a 10-day Delicious Movement Workshop training with Eiko & Koma.  It changed forever the way I experience and understand movement.  During the workshop, Eiko said that she does not commute from her work to her daily life.  I realized that I did a lot of commuting and compartmentalizing, and separating.  In saying that, she helped me to find the deeper rhythms that underlie all that engages me.

Now, as I am expanding my private work, and entering the waters of a new dance, I am listening for the connections.  What is it to enter and hold the river of the horses’s movement and body within the banks of my own? How can I ride and be ridden by the river?  How can I support others’ capacity to connect with the deeper currents underneath that which seems to separate us?  What is this common body that we share?

DSC03869 dancer Amy Wynn in the Housatonic




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.