Valley trainer works to restore equine
Nancy Camp applies ‘Whole Horse’
By MEGAN THOMAS
Express Staff Writer
"My focus is to bring awareness, to let
the horses teach people and see if they’re not happy on another path," Nancy
Camp, a horse trainer in the Wood River Valley explained.
Camp guides others to explore alternative
paths that work to restore optimal health in horses.
Nancy Camp uses alternative
approaches to help horses like Granite.
"It’s not about fixing, it’s about
healing, which is a process of changing," she explained.
Camp’s holistic healing techniques are
based in her depth of experience working as a horse trainer, veterinary
assistant and manager of equine facilities. Currently, Camp is applying a
breadth of alternative health applications to restore a horse’s wellbeing and
introduce a new method to manage horse training.
Camp utilizes acupressure, equine
craniosacral work and the Japanese art of High Touch Jin Shin to rebalance
energy flows in a horse’s body. She also applies TTeam TTouch, equine stretches,
massage techniques, aromatherapy and herbal supplements as well as structured
groundwork exercises to improve a horse's wellbeing.
Throughout the summer Camp is sharing
these techniques through workshops at the Rhythm Ranch in Bellevue.
Camp’s alternative approach considers a
horse in its entirety, hence the name of her business, Whole Horse Training.
The Whole Horse Training approach to
healing begins with change. Change requires Camp to piece together postural and
behavioral issues with their potential relation to injuries and experiences. Bad
behavior may be because of a bad tooth.
She compared her work to peeling away the
layers of an onion.
"I listen very carefully to what they have
to say," she explained.
Listening and working in a partnership
with horses has enabled Camp to find the source of many behavioral problems, as
is the case of Granite, a horse she has worked with since 1996.
When Granite arrived to Camp, he would
buck anyone who attempted to ride him. After disciplining Granite to the point
he would tolerate a rider, Camp realized something else was causing the
As in Granite’s case, "things show up as
behavioral issues," she said. These behavioral issues are "based in fear,
discomfort or stress and cause them to behave the way they do," she further
After spending time with Granite, Camp
called on a California chiropractor who found the horse had a displaced rib. The
rib caused such discomfort that Granite could not tolerate a rider.
While spending further time with Granite,
Camp also discovered the horse needed intense dental work as well. Camp
attributed Granite’s resistance, such as refusing to be touched on the side of
the head to the needed dental work.
But, Camp emphasized that a horse’s
behavior should not be isolated to a single injury, like the tooth. Instead, it
is the accumulation of experiences, the layers of an onion, that drive the
animals to behave the way they do.
In Granite’s case, Camp hypothesizes that
the dental problem was caused when the horse was scared with fly spray, a fear
the horse manifests. She guesses it is likely, that at a previous time someone
applied the spray in such a way that it caused the horse to jolt and caused a
displacement in his teeth.
Granite is a perfect example of how the
amalgamation of experiences emerge as behavioral tendencies. It’s a process that
involves "listening to the horses, to get information from the horses," Camp
In order to restore a horse’s wellbeing,
Camp works to solve the physical discomforts with a variety of techniques.
She emphasizes she is not trying to take
over the role of a veterinarian. As a veterinary assistant for 11 years, Camp
understands the importance of medicine.
Instead, she offers a complement to solve
chronic injuries and maintain optimum comfort for horses through the application
of alternative health techniques.
As she massaged Granite’s neck, she
reflected, "I run a program that respects the horse."
Camp’s upcoming programs include Clicker
Training for Horses and Dogs with Corally Burmaster, July 17, 18 and 19;
Equimotion Feldenkrais Integrated Riding Workshop, July 23 and 24, and
Alleviating Stress in Your Horse, July 31.