Category Archives: horses, dogs & more

breathing in breathless times

DSC07608Photo:  Paula Josa-Jones

Saturday evening, the barn where my horses, Capprichio and Amadeo live, called to say that Capprichio, my 28-year old Andalusian stallion, had a swelling on his jaw.  It was warm and tender.  I called the vet.  Since he had no fever and was eating, we decided to wait and see how he is today (Sunday).  This morning it was more swollen, more tender, but still no fever.  Because he has almost no teeth left and has previously had some dental concerns (I have two of his lost molars on my desk), and because he has a significant heart murmur, the vet came. After X-rays, ultrasound and looking inside his mouth, she decided to put him on antibiotics and continue to observe him.

All of this happened without my being able to see him. Covid19 has effectively shut down all the barns in the area. And so I find myself in another breathless time, feeling the penetration of this absence of breath and presence through my whole body.

Focusing on breathing can feel activating.  I remember having a panic attack during my first silent Vipassana meditation retreat when we were instructed to follow the breath.  What breath?  Suddenly this autonomic, and at the same time, voluntary function was terrifying and unmanageable.  I couldn’t breathe.

Many years ago, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen came to my home in Connecticut to give me a Body-Mind Centering session.  I don’t remember what we were intending to explore, but my time with her that day became a lesson on embryonic breathing.

Last week, Bonnie sent out an email to those of us in the Body-Mind Centering community with some links to videos that she felt might be helpful at this time.  Rather than try to describe them, I include them here, for your pleasure.

I have returned to exploring embryonic breathing as a practical, palpable way of settling body and mind.  In the first video, she speaks of this more subtle, cellular way of breathing as like ripples widening in a pond, rather than the larger waves of chest or belly breathing.  I find this subtle practice deeply nourishing albeit challenging and elusive.

In a recent webinar, dance therapist Amber Gray referenced a quote she had found about the relationship between chaos and creativity.   I found the reference, by Dr. Betty Luceigh:  ” Perhaps what we call chaos is actually creativity in the process of birthing new ordered forms.”

That is my experience in the pandemonium of this pandemic.  I feel myself pushed and pulled into new creative expression and experience.  I am fascinated by the differences in how this shows up – sometimes as wild movement, other times as deeper stillness and reflection.  A study in contrasts. It feels a bit like riding an intemperate and unpredictable horse – be calm, be ready, and most of all stay in the saddle.

Enough for now.  Enjoy these videos, and the exquisite presence and generosity of Bonnie.

Sending love and prayers for all.



we are live!!!!

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 11.10.52 AM

We are live!!!

Our Indiegogo campaign is live! 

Please help us create our new film project:

Embodied Horsemanship:
Deepening Feel and Connection with Our Horses, Ourselves. 


We have included some marvelous perks — gifts and exciting opportunities to join us in this endeavor.


Please check out the project and make a donation! 
And please share our campaign with friends and family.


Thank you!




steps of the dance

Lynn Cross, the director of Little Brook Farm, where Izarra lived before coming to me said that the Mustangs are “wild made” instead of “man-made.” That in the wild, they either had to pay attention or die.  Izarra was culled from a herd of Mustangs in Nevada and has never really had a human of her own.  Someone adopted her, but then was willing to let her go to a slaughter auction, which, thankfully, was when LBF intervened.

When I tell this story, shockingly, many (most) people are unaware that in this country, we do indeed kill horses.  We just send them to Canada or Mexico and let them do the dirty work.  Food for the Asian and European palate.

Summer Brennan (daughter of Lynn Cross) drove to South Carolina to rescue Izarra and bring her to the sanctuary where she lived for about six years.  When I first saw her, what caught me was not only her loveliness but her incredible responsiveness to movement when we first played together at LBF.  Now we are improvising, listening, being as curious about stillness as movement, letting whatever this dance is reveal itself. I am not in a hurry.  I do not have an agenda or a timeline.

I am incredibly grateful to Little Brook Farm for entrusting me with Izarra.  I have known them since 2012, when I choreographed All the Pretty Horses, with their rescued horses and community of children and adults.  One of the horses in the dance was Amado, a Mustang that they had recently rescued, and that Summer was gentling and training.

At that time, I got to experience first hand their big-heartedness and generosity. Please consider supporting this wonderful organization.  You can donate to LBF HERE.

Stay tuned for more Izarra stories!

Screen Shot 2020-02-23 at 9.35.55 AM




Izarra is a Mustang mare that has stepped into my life.  Last September I was at Little Brook Farm shooting video for my forthcoming film:  Conscious Touch, Conscious Movement with Horses, with the wonderful Summer Brennan, dancer Aislinn MacMaster, and videographer Ben Willis.

While there, I walked past a paddock and in the run-in shed stood Hamlet, a handsome chestnut gelding of uncertain bloodline, and with him, a small dark horse.  “Who is that,” I asked Summer.  “That’s Izarra”, and then, “You should adopt her.”    Oh dear.

Izarra is fast, herd-bound, and very, very smart.  She has never had a person of her own. She has never had any particular training. She was culled by the BLM from a herd of wild horses in Nevada.  Little Brook Farm Sanctuary got a call from a person in South Carolina, where Izarra had been adopted, and for reasons that are not clear, was now headed for a slaughter auction. (Click on the BLM link to see what they are doing in their cruel round-ups of wild horses.  The intention is to free land for ranchers and cattle grazing – both far more destructive to the land than the horses!)  LBF drove down to rescue her, and she has been with them for the past six years.

Over the past couple of months, I have started working with her.  We are doing only groundwork – no lead rope, bridle or saddle- which is most exciting to me at this time.  She is a little dancer, and quite interested in seeing and picking up movement cues from me. Next month, she will move to a stable near me, and we can get to know each other in earnest.

More Izarra news to follow.  In the meantime, here she is in all her spicy glory!