Dear Horse Enthusiast:
We are pleased to announce this year's Equine Hanna Somatics Training Program.
The EHS training program will be conducted by Novato Institute Director and Equine Hanna Somatics practitioner Eleanor Criswell Hanna, Ed.D. Her co-instructor is Alissa Mayer, certified Equine Hanna Somatics instructor.
Equine Hanna Somatics (EHS) is an adaptation of Hanna Somatics for horses. Like humans, horses experience stress and develop chronically contracted muscles. Chronically contracted muscles often create discomfort and restricted movement. Equine Hanna Somatics is a hands-on procedure for teaching horses, horse riders, and horse handlers the voluntary, conscious control of the neuromuscular systems of horses suffering muscular disorders of an involuntary, unconscious nature. Horses find EHS very relaxing. After the EHS session, horses walk, trot, and canter more easily and their muscles move more fluidly. During subsequent riding sessions, they seem to respond more readily to rider requests. Riders report enhanced bonding with their horses.
The program will begin with an introduction to the principles of Equine Hanna Somatics. Other topics addressed will be the history of Equine Hanna Somatics, equine anatomy and kinesiology, somatic horse handling, safety, EHS basic protocols, Hanna Somatics for riders and horse handlers, the nature of the horse and learning, herd dynamics, equine neurophysiology, conformation/posture, assessment, equine somatic issues, ethics, legalities, practice building, and others. The day will be divided into two sections: The morning will be devoted to practice with horses; the afternoon will be lecture, discussion, and somatic exercises for equestrians. The horses will be provided by Morning Star Farm.
Each of the three modules is $750. Participants are required to have experience with horses. If you are interested in attending, please call (415) 897-0336 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. A telephone interview is necessary for acceptance into the program. If you are accepted into the program, a $200 deposit is due by February 10, 2020. Please mail payment to: Novato Institute 1500 Grant Ave., #228, Novato, CA 94945. We will mail you a confirmation card. Checks received after the training is full will be mailed back to you. For late registration, please phone the Novato Institute to see if there is space available. I hope you can join us for this year's EHS training program. Download pdf of the program here
Eleanor Criswell Hanna, Ed.D.
Equine Hanna Somatics® - Now available on DVD and VHS - with Dennis Reis and Eleanor Criswell, Ed.D. (Ordering)
Equine Hanna Somatics (EHS) is an adaptation of Hanna Somatics for horses. Hanna Somatics, originated by Thomas Hanna, is outlined in his book, Somatics. Like humans, horses experience stress and develop chronically contracted muscles. Equine Hanna Somatics is a hands-on procedure for teaching horses, horse riders, and horse handlers the voluntary conscious control of the neuromuscular systems of horses suffering muscular disorders of an involuntary, unconscious nature. Following an EHS session, horses walk more easily and move more fluidly. During subsequent riding sessions, they seem to respond more readily to rider requests. Riders report enhanced bonding with their horses. EHS is beneficial for all horses- all breeds, ages, and disciplines.
This video is an introduction to Equine Hanna Somatics. With this video you will learn how to do some of the basic EHS procedures with your horse. EHS is a somatic educational process. The video begins with an introduction to the basic principles. Safety for you and your horse is essential. Use good body mechanics as you do this work; watch out for your horse's sudden moves. As much as possible, let the horse do the work this is not a horse stretching method. The horse must do the movements. Your job is to facilitate the horse moving slowly, especially when moving out of the contraction of the muscle group. That is when the horse will be relaxing the muscles.
DENNIS REIS, a master horseman, has devoted his life to work with horses and horse handlers. For the Past 16 years, he has taught the principles and methods of Universal Horsemanship. A member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Reis competed in the bareback, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, and team roping events. After a career in rodeo, Reis began to work with horses in a new way, using principles based on the horse's basic nature. He established Universal Horsemanship in 1989. Reis's popular weekly RFD TV show features Universal Horsemanship. He may be reached at email@example.com His web address is www.reisranch.com.
ELEANOR CRISWELL HANNA, Ed.D., the originator of Equine Hanna Somatics, is a professor of psychology and former chair of the Psychology Department at Sonoma State University. She is the founding director of the Humanistic Psychology Institute (now Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center), editor of Somatics Magazine, and director of the Novato institute for Somatic Research and Training. Her books include Biofeedback and Somatics: Towards Personal Evolution and How Yoga Works: An Introduction to Somatic Yoga. She conducts Equine Hanna Somatics workshops, clinics and private sessions for riders and horse handlers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Somatics Educational Resources produces and distributes somatics books, audiotapes, and videotapes. Videography and editing: Jason Pedri, Roaring Mouse Productions. Cover photo by Warren Park.
This videocassette is for private Use Only. No portion of it may be copied, televised- broadcast, cablecast or closed circuit- or used for public performance without prior consent from Somatics Educational Resources. ©2004 Eleanor Criswell Hanna
Reflections of The Editor: (from the Somatics Magazine/Journal, Vol. XII, No. 1, Fall/Winter 1998-99)
The human-horse relationship has existed for approximately 6,000 years. Archaeological sites in the Ukraine show evidence of early horse domestication. Highly prized throughout human history, horses have been used for many purposes. 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. Riding is most effective when there is maximum somatic integration of both horse and rider. As human mind-body integration can be enhanced, so too can equine mind-body integration be enhanced. The result is a greater harmony between horse and rider, an interspecies relationship.
I have worked with a number of equestrians over the years from a variety of riding disciplines, teaching them somatic education. Approximately two years ago, Dennis Reis of Reis Ranch invited me to come work with the riders in his month-long horse riding clinic. Reis is a former rodeo rider who reaches what he calls Universal Horsemanship. Universal Horsemanship is similar to what others call natural horsemanship, which works with the natural tendencies of the horse.
I agreed to come and we developed a plan for my visits. I would come one evening to do postural assessments and practice some of the somatic principles relevant to riding. The next visit I would guide them in a session of somatic exercises and somatic yoga as they began their riding day. Finally, I would come for a day of individual hands-on somatic sessions, addressing their specific somatic issues and goals.
After a couple of visits, Reis asked me whether I thought hands-on Hanna Somatics could be done with horses. I told him that it probably could be done and I would give it some thought as to how to do it. After ruminating about it for a period of time, suddenly it came to me how it could be done. I was very excited. I called to tell him I had figured it out and I would come show it to him next time I was in town.
Horses are prey annuals, hardwired for the startle response. Humans also experience the startle response. When horses are startled, a brain-stein mediated polysynaptic reflex occurs, causing muscle contractions, adrenaline level increases, heart rate increases, and so forth. This is the fight-or-flight response. Horses are frequently startled from birth on; it is a survival mechanism. As the muscles contract, horses move or run. Some of the muscles are stretched; the stretch reflex is triggered and the muscles are recontracted. Horses become more and more chronically contracted. Over time horses, like humans, develop characteristic postures, movements, and behaviors. They also develop pain, discomfort, and restricted movement.
I drove up to Reis Ranch and arrived just in time to see Dennis Reis, Shirley Park, and Tristan, Park's magnificent thoroughbred horse, standing beside the barn. Park had been interested in somatics and somatic yoga for humans and had been working with it herself for some time. She was intrigued by the prospect of using hands-on somatics with horses and graciously agreed to try it with Tristan.
In some ways horses are very much like humans, and in other ways they are quite different. Many of the structures and functions are the same. Based on thousands of somatic sessions with humans and a study of horse anatomy and kinesiology, I developed a basic protocol for working with the major equine muscle groups. On my next visit to Reis Ranch we took Tristan through the entire protocol, It took about an hour. Park worked with Tristan as I gave the instructions, and Reis made suggestions from his vast knowledge of horses. It was a profound experience for all of us.
Since then we have tried it with horses and riders of all ages. They all respond to the degree that they are able. About halfway through the protocol, the horses become deeply relaxed. They stand quietly; their eyes glaze over; their lips hang loose; they lick their lips; their ears fall to the side; they sigh occasionally, and so forth. After the somatics session, they walk more easily and their muscles move more fluidly. During subsequent riding sessions they seem to respond more readily to rider requests. Riders report enhanced bonding with their horses.
We share the globe with other species; we are all very interdependent. The more we are aware of other species as sentient beings, as the Tibetan Buddhists say, the more we can treat them as important partners in the balance of nature. The more we can appreciate their basic natures and the interdependence of life, the more likely we are to create the interspecies relationships necessary for survival.
DVD or VHS Ordering
Equine Hanna Somatics® Session 1.
An Introduction to Equine Hanna Somatics® (EHS)
with Alissa Mayer, EHSE and Eleanor Criswell Hanna, Ed.D.
A hands-on natural method of neuromuscular integration that resets resting muscle tone, returning the body to homeostasis. Guides you through an EHS education session, done in cooperation with your horse, to enhance bonding, relieve pain & stress associated with chronic muscle tension, improve posture, enhance suppleness and give your horse the freedom to live up to his/her athletic potential. Discover: Sensory Motor Amnesia, the Stretch Reflex, and Pandiculation... Habitual Postures that most horses exhibit that interfere with their ability to perform and reduce quality of life. Plus an introduction to Hanna Somatics for humans. Equine Hanna Somatics is safe and beneficial for every horse, at any age or stage of training and development. DVD, color, 55 minutes. $45.00.