Contact us to schedule training.
Learn Conformation Balancing for horses:
Modules 1-3: Training is 4 days per module. Work with varied horses to find fascia limits and resolve them. Contact us to apply. Classes are small & individualized. This work teaches you a new universe of health possibilities. Certificate given at program completion.
Training Modules for certification:
Module 1: Introduction; Stance, Top line, contact methods. Identify fascia limits, horse approval/warnings. Visual patterns for fascia compensations.
Module 2: Compensations, Fascia patterns, Conformation progress patterns. Soma-emotional recall for horse trauma/anxiety. Tracking changes.
Module 3: Advanced compensations & Soma-emotional recall for horses. Series work on horses. Report & photo progress on 5 horses.
Certification: A final report is accepted and certification issued.
The Conformation Balancing path
The program develops kinesthetic tools for finding imbalanced fascia in horses. Like Ida Rolf’s method, we learn to feel the horse’s body to find the limits, along with photos that identify compression and compensations.
Horses are master compensators. Riders, trainers, breeders and all horse owners benefit from this skill of finding body limits and problems. You learn to keep keep your horse in top shape and also trouble-shoot any injuries. You will develop touch skills to find adhesions, tight wires and other problems to prevent smooth movement. As you work with horses, you develop intuition for working with the horse’s body, mind and spirit. Trust lets you solve the most painful limits the horse has, without aggression. You develop confidence in understanding horses since you know their fitness problems, which create tension and fear for them.
Conformation Balancing identifies fascia limits to restore lost horse ability and relieve pain and anxiety from these limits. The horse is then free to become himself and bring total competency to all his work and life.
This is progressive fitness. Conformation Balancing is results driven. We show you how to restore horses from serious injury, especially the elusive ones. A serious horse owner learns how to resolve hidden problems before they turn into expensive veterinary issues costing thousands of dollars without results. Since fascia is a soft tissue, it’s healing is not achieved by traditional vet methods. Joint replacement surgery is not a solution for horse owners. A rider who develops understanding of fascia and its compensations will thrive on this path.
The Modules & Certification prepare for using this fascia release bodywork both professionally and personally. . We show you how to apply the releases, contact and patterns to work successfully with varied horses. We encourage Certification for those who plan to work on many horses. It’s easy to get “lost” in fascia and its unlimited variations. The Modules are essential for serious fascia practitioners. The written report trains you in how to present the results to riders and owners by using photos and language that describes the changes this miraculous tissue makes when helped by our hands.
I started working with my horses using the methods I learned to promote fascia change and bring about Conformation Balancing. I am already seeing changes for the better. I will complete the levels for certification in the near future. To me it seems the perfect way to promote well being in our horse partners!” Bette, NH
From Head to Tail: Balanced or “Stuck”?
While attending an instructor clinic several years ago, a spontaneous educational event occurred and fascia was first explained to me in a barn. I was fortunate to observe cranio-sacral work on a horse “stuck” in its movement who had some tight spots, especially in his TMJ, which affected his stride. Sure, all the parts are connected; we know that the origin of physiological problems may be somewhere else on the horse’s body. But I was fascinated to see how this “melting” of the problem area changed the movement of the horse in a completely different place.
Fast forward a bit, to a nurse practitioner suggesting I try cranio-sacral therapy for myself. And then came good fortune: to have the previously mentioned equine practitioner work on my horses. To see – and feel – the changes that took place amazed me. Even better, he taught me to utilize a specific technique; this was the first recognition that a new adventure, already begun, had been jump started into something way larger than I had anticipated
Fascia, or myofascia, is the elastic, connective tissue in our bodies that surrounds every organ and cell. It holds us together, stabilizing the organs and muscles, and determines our flexibility. Considered “self-directing” and “self-intelligent”, fascia determines the extent and ease of our movement, ensuring our vital parts communicate with each other. Fascia has recall memory; a holding pot for emotional trauma and tension, any fascia release can produce both physical and psychological healing for human or equine (or dog, cat or other living creature!).
One practitioner described fascia as a “big sheet of plastic wrap that surrounds everything; when it gets crinkled, it needs to be ‘melted’ so it can straighten out”, which it does from the heat of our hands. An equine chiropractor, also a vet, explained that in vet school they learned about fascia: it was “the stuff you had to cut through to get to everything else!” Now our knowledge about what it actually does is great; surely the rising interest in fascia release work comes partly from the results of experiencing it! Ever see the white stretchy film on a chicken breast? There it is; that’s fascia in the flesh
Last fall, when presenting at Equine Affaire, I became fixated on attending a workshop by Margret Henkels, who had studied extensively the role of fascia, with significant experience working on horses. Margret had a book signing (Is Your Horse 100%?) and I went to meet her. A fascinating conversation ensued; she had desired a Centered Riding Instructor to connect with, and I hoped fascia release work could address an equine body issue.
Margret had developed Conformation Balancing, a program integrating the many facets of equine bodywork she had invested years in studying. We eventually created and presented a workshop entitled “Soft Riders, Soft Horses”, our coordinated effort to facilitate softening the multiple areas of tightness affecting both horses and their riders; we have presented this twice so far. I have completed her course, becoming certified to work on equine bodies. And what a fantastic journey…
In some circles, fascia is considered to play an important role in just about everything. If it gets “stuck” we may have issues somewhere within the body: movement, pain, anxiety, tension, tightness, and flexibility, to name a few. Because it surrounds and connects all organs and systems, each part is affected by the whole; an entire network (Margret Henkels calls it internet-like) impacts each minute and large piece in our structure by directing, recognizing, reacting, compressing, releasing, remembering, and feeling. That’s quite a system, and no doubt works better than my computer!
Articles are available on the effects of tack on a horse’s nervous system and fascia. We need not avoid using tack; perhaps our practices will change somewhat as we consider fit and purpose in a new light. Personal observations from horses I’ve worked on have implicated pressure points from horse clothing, tack, equipment, injury, trauma, riding, or inactivity. Certainly, this list is not exhaustive; many physical and environmental factors can impact fascia.
The good news: our horses can be helped and they do tell us where the issues are. This is non-invasive work; strategic placement of our hands, on specific points of the horse, changes the temperature of both our hands and the horse’s body, ultimately changing the fascia. Horses do the work themselves, going deep inside and allowing the changes and releases. Any areas they don’t need, or aren’t ready for, are places they resist, directing us to those spots most productive and helpful to them at that time.
Of course, none of this precludes the need to consult your vet for health issues of any kind. But it is nice to know there many ways to assist our horses to optimal health and functioning!
Dorothy Crosby is certified both as a Level III Centered Riding® Instructor/Clinician and CHA Instructor for both English and Western riders. Dorothy manages a small farm in Stoddard, NH, where Equi-librium is based. Most recently, she has added fascia release work on horses through Conformation Balancing. Her joy is in teaching humans and equines of all ages and levels of experience. http://www.crosbyequi-librium.com
"I attended Margret Henkel’s SOFT RIDERS/SOFT HORSES clinic in VT. I had already read her book, “Is Your Horse 100%?” and watched her companion DVD. But there is nothing like in-person, hands-on experience. Margret demonstrated a technique - we then performed it on our horse. We were able to practice all the basics on multiple horses thus having a range of experiences. Centered Riding with instructor Dorothy Crosby demonstrated how to be “Soft Riders”. The instruction was very good with exercises and images given to help us all find our centers. A good time for all." Elizabeth V, NY
Frederic Pignon, Margret and Magali Delgado smile for an “authors photo” when Margret attended their Albuquerque clinic and applies their philosophy in working with her own horses.
Their books “Gallop to Freedom,” and “Building A Life Together” inspired Margret to take their clinic. The gifted couple were riders and trainers for the celebrated equine theatre “Cavallo.” The authors are published by Trafalgar Square Books.