Spotlight on the Equine Touch


The Human Link: It's Greater Than We Think!
By Jock Ruddock, BRCP

Jock works on Sparkle while Marilyn, Michelle, and Cate observe.

As we travel around the world teaching and practicing the Equine Touch®, we are constantly amazed at the unique transposition of human injuries to the equine on various levels.

Neither Ivana nor I come from a background that allows us the liberty to say that it is a spiritual connection between the horse and the human, but we have found this phenomenon to be an extremely important factor in our work in achieving equine balance on all levels.

When I first came across the injury 'link up' between horse and rider, I put it down simply to an unbalanced rider, unbalancing a balanced horse - the rider adjusting his position so that he was comfortable and the horse compensating for this adjustment so that he would be comfortable. This was a simple answer which appealed to me and which, in many cases, is borne out when, after addressing the four legged client with the Equine Touch, the practitioner then works on the rider and lo and behold - same pain, same tight muscles in exactly the same spot.

A few weeks ago I was in Colorado and had the opportunity to work on two bonded thoroughbreds. I say bonded in that they lived together, played together, and were owned and ridden by the same lady, an internationally well-known equestrian. As I worked on these horses it became evident that both had exactly the same soft tissue problems. The right side rear gluteus muscles showed some atrophy, the right side paraspinal muscles were in a hypertonic state (as tight as a steel cable) and the TMJ on the right side was extremely painful to the touch.

After palpating the middle back of both horses I mentioned to the owner that it could perhaps be the saddle. I felt a little perplexed when I was informed that the horses had not been under saddle for months. However it was abundantly clear that both horses had exactly the same problems as each other and that there had to be a common link. Or did only one have the problem and the other was merely feeding off the host? Ivana suggested that I work on the owner after completing the work on the horses. Within minutes I found a difference in the two buttocks, the right gluteus lacking the texture and quality of the left while the right side paraspinal muscles were as tight as a steel cable. After discussing the relativity of the injuries between herself and her horses I asked her if she remembered the pain spot on the horses' TMJ. When she said yes, I touched her on the same spot and, yes, she screamed.

The lady is well-known as a bareback rider and this was an obvious case of what we will refer to in holistic terms as an unknowing unbalanced rider riding a horse which was compensating physically for its riders physical problems.

However there is another side to the 'link' and I will only dare to suggest that this was also an ingredient in the above case due to the love and bonding that existed between this lady and her horses. This side to the link involves energies, and feelings for which there is in essence no real answer on an allopathic, veterinary or radical plane. This involves what we have come to describe as emotional, spiritual energy, the unseen link, the bond for which only anecdotes exchanged around the dinner table or camp seem to give credence to its existence.

Allow me the privilege of sharing such a unique story with you. A couple of years ago in Norway, Ivana and I were working on some horses in a trotting stable outside Bergen. Three of the horses appeared to exhibit the same problems - right side TMJ, which they would not let us touch, and pain and restriction of movement from the poll down the right hand side of the neck.

The very next day we started teaching a course, and as usual addressed the human aspect first teaching the basic balancing moves on the two-legged clients before transposing them to the equine. One of the ladies on the course, Marie Anne, a masseur, appeared to suffer from Bell's Palsy, however when Ivana worked on her neck she found resistance in the right side scalene and called me over. Being an 'insensitive male' I went in a little deeper than normal, found the resistance in the scalene muscle and released it, then followed this up with a TMJ procedure. Immediately Marie Anne started to cry, not from pain but from emotional release. She informed me that she could see the operating theatre, and smell and taste the anesthetic one more time. I made her comfortable and left her to sleep. Fifteen minutes later she stopped the class, to tell them that 14 years before she had been operated on for a brain tumor, and since then she had been deaf in her right ear - and the hearing had now returned. Also what was evident to all in the class was that the Palsy on the right side of her face was far less evident.

That afternoon we went once again to the stables to start to teach the moves on the horses. When Marie Anne arrived she immediately went to the three horses Ivana and I had looked at the day before but could not touch. Each one she gave a carrot to, and each one she patted and gave a kiss; they were her horses. Ivana immediately walked up to each horse and performed the same moves that none of them would allow her to do the day before. The moves were immediately accepted and there was no sign of pain or restriction of movement in the neck, poll or TMJ. She did not ride these horses; they were harness trotters. The link is greater than we think!

I know there are a million stories like that out there, and this is only one of the many that we have. I will not try to explain it, I will not try to force my beliefs upon anyone; however if you have a similar story and would like to share it with us then please send it in. We are all going into a fascinating and wonderful realm of the horse and human link up on a physical, emotional and some would say spiritual level. Thanks to people like Pat Parelli, Monty Roberts, John Lyons and others, the world concept of a horse being more that just an 'animal that is there' has changed. There is a new equine awareness in the world and you and your horses are all part of it. Your stories will help that new awareness to grow and flourish and give us all a greater insight and understanding of this unique and inspiring bond that exists between our species.

About the author:
Jock Ruddock, BRCP, pioneered The Equine Touch, a retraining, rebalancing, and some would say healing modality for the horse. Jock and his veterinarian wife, Ivana Ruddock, have turned the Equine Touch into a discipline that is now recognized and applauded by all who see or use it, including veterinarians throughout Europe. For more information, or to submit your 'link' story, visit