Healing Trauma, Deepening Connection with
TTouch & Equine Therapy

Prayer, by Stuart Kestenbaum, from Prayers & Run-on Sentences

Our problem - may I include you? - is that we
don't know how to start, how to just close
our eyes and let something dance between
our hearts and our lips, we don't know how
to skip across the room only for the joy of the leap.
We walk, we run but what happened to the skip
and its partner, the gallop, the useless and imaginary
way we could move through space, the horses we
rode before we knew how to saddle up, before we
had opinions about everything and just loved
the wind in our faces and the horizon in our eyes.

What a gift to horsemanship and consciousness! I can't wait for Paula's next class. She provided great practices and tools for transforming the foundation of our relationship with our horses - as well as any other living creature. Such a shift will bring more grace, ease and joy into the lives of all. I will enjoy being present with my four (and two) legged partners more, simply noticing the "problems/challenges" disappearing.
Louise Dobish, Michigan

Download Embodied Horsemanship brochure


for you, your horse and companion animals

Embodied Partnership is for those who would like to become more attuned, mindful and improvisational in their relationship with their horses and other animal companions. By learning basic movement awareness skill that expand softness and connection and you will create greater physical and emotional balance and ease for you and the other four and two-legged creatures in your life.
Some of the skills you will learn:
  • Develop a consistent feeling of softness and connection in all aspects of your horsemanship.
  • Learn how to track your own body and its responses to the horse.
  • Build feelings of confidence, mindfulness and a spirit of improvisation.
  • Connect with the horse using bodily practices that are intuitive and playful both on the ground and in the saddle.
  • Learn how softness and listening can create physical and emotional balance for you and your horse.


    the touch that teaches

    Sessions use TTouch, Clicker Training and groundwork exercises to help resolve physical and behavioral issues. TTouch is called "the touch that teaches" because it helps the horse, dog or cat to feel and think rather than simply reacting. TTouch releases held patterns of tension, injury or imbalance. The result is greater freedom of movement and balance. Lessons include instruction for the owner in specific touches and exercises that you can do with your animal companions.


    What is trauma?
    Trauma exists in many forms. It may be the result of an accident or injury, a profound loss, abuse, medical trauma, or family history including birth trauma. Signs and symptoms of trauma may include anxiety, hyper-vigilance, low self worth, compromised immune system, depression, hopelessness and chronic anger or rage. We may feel shut down, inhibited, or overly sensitive. Our emotions may be unbearable or feelings may be absent, with an array of somatic symptoms. Our system is in a constant state of fight or flight.
    Treating trauma
    The most effective treatment for trauma engages both body and mind, focusing on regulation and repair. By listening to the body and becoming curious about our emotional responses, we gain resilience, balance and calm. This can give us a clearer sense of purpose and place in the world. By establishing effective defensive responses, we create better boundaries and a feeling of greater empowerment.
    How horses can help:
    Horses mirror our physical and emotional expression and can show us when we are "out of sync" - that is when our inside and outside are not in harmony. Unlike humans (or any predator), horses are always congruent - their behavior always matches their feeling. Learning to be with a horse in a quiet, reflective and embodied way builds confidence and supports you in seeing and feeling yourself more clearly. The simple presence of a horse can help us calm and ground ourselves physically and emotionally. Over time, this can transform your relationships at home and at work and inspire you to move courageously toward goals that may have seemed impossible or out of reach.
    What does a session look like?
    It starts by just standing with a horse, noticing the horse and our own responses to simply being together. Work can take place in the stable aisle, in the stall or in a larger enclosure. Each session has its own organic structure, sometimes involving touch, leading, or simple, ordinary movements. We break things down into simple steps, noticing when we are moving too quickly or asking too much of our equine partners or ourselves.
    Horses do not judge or project. By mirroring and being mirrored, learning to slow and feel the body, we become more mindful and heart-centered in our relationships with ourselves and others.

    No previous riding or horse experience is necessary. All work is done on the ground.

    Paula Josa-Jones loves horses and what they teach us about being more human. Paula is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst (CMA) and a registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist (RSME/T) accredited by ISMETA, the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association. She is currently completing her training in Somatic Experiencing®, the trauma recovery work developed by Dr. Peter Levine.Her writings on movement and dance have been published in Contact Quarterly and she writes a blog called Ride Dance Write. Her book, Our Horses, Ourselves: Discovering the Common Body is to be published by Trafalgar Press in August 2017.

    Embodied Horsemanship