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Friday, July 9, 2004

Arts and Entertainment

Valley trainer works to restore equine health

Nancy Camp applies ‘Whole Horse’ Technique

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 behavioral problem.

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 explained.

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 explained.

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.


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