Equine Align Academy has grown out of 20+ years of The Art of Equine Massage and Bodywork classes, graduates, and faculty. We are dedicated to developing in ourselves and others the skills and abilities with which we were born.
Equine Align©️ is the name for our approach.
Listen, Connect, Follow, Influence is how we work.
We teach you how to use your native intelligence combined with your experience and knowledge to be of service to horses in particular and all other beings in general. All of the work is offered with gratefulness for the kindness of our teachers in the spirit of furthering their remarkable work.
We believe that we touch to belong.
Everyone has seen pictures of dogs cuddling with fawns, cats and rabbits along with videos of playful friendship between a raven and a stray cat. We’ve seen gentle embraces in photos of lions who have adopted calves and of humans who have bonded with wolves, bears and other fierce creatures. We touch to show affinity and when we have nothing else to offer we touch to console. We touch those who are suffering and a touch is our final gesture to our dead. We touch children to show affection and care. We touch our beloved. The message is the same in every case – beings touch as a sign of belonging. So, we touch to belong and simply belonging is the most primal comfort beings share. Touching is a vital expression of our nature, of our essence. Touching is acknowledging the spirit all beings share. We teach about exploring how beings share their essential nature and healing through touch. Our approach is most closely aligned with what Confucius called “Ho” – beings living in such a way that each finds their own fulfillment partly in, through and interdependent on the genuine fulfillment of another.
Sara grew up riding fences and herding cattle on an 8,000-acre angus cattle ranch in eastern Wyoming. She spent countless hours playing horse tag, riding double through streams and ponds and sneaking a ride on “Big Red” whenever opportunity presented itself. She lives with two rescues that teach her the ways of horses on a daily basis. She used to train them and soon realized they were training her. It’s all lessons in life.
After receiving a Shiatsu massage treatment from a friend, Sara immediately became an apprentice of Barefoot Shiatsu and studied with Shizuko Yamamoto in the 70′s. She later received her Certification in Massage Therapy and Body Insight Neuromuscular Re-education in 1995, studied equine bodywork from a certified Rolfer and continues to study CranioSacral Therapy with the Upledger Institute. In the mid 90′s she decided to apply her unique approach to horses.Sara has had a bodywork practice since 1978.
Sara’s equine bodywork and biomechanics practice is a blend of many studies and amazing teachers she has encountered along the way. She believes that change should never be forced on a body; rather the body must be allowed to find its natural alignment and rhythm through relaxation. Sara teaches those principles so that participants can find them within their own body/mind and then influence their horses to do the same.
Sara is a co-founder of Shen Tao T’ai Chi Chuan. She has been a student, practitioner, and teacher of the Yang Style Short Form since that the late 70′s. Sara taught T’ai Chi at the Dali Lama’s 1997 Conference on Education at Naropa Institute in Boulder, CO. She created T’ai Chi for Horsemen clinics and released a DVD entitled “T’ai Chi Chi Gung – An Ancient Art for Horsemen.” Working with the rider and the horse she helps facilitate freedom of movement and a quiet listening communication for the partnership through relaxation.
At the age of two, Karen Saindon rode off into the sunset on her 12 hand high steed named Dandy, Actually, Dandy was last seen off in the sunset. Karen was in a snowbank. That was the beginning of her journey with horses that has continued throughout her life.
Karen grew up on a mixed farm operations in Manitoba, Canada, where they kept broodmares and wintered Standardbred racehorses that her grandfather raced for a living. By age ten, she noticed that Standardbred horses needed a flat surface in order to pace or they’d break into a gallop. In fall, when the racehorses came to the farm, she rode each one into a slope where they would break into a gallop until they reached the top. By spring, all of her grandfather’s pacers were galloping, some of which were running barrels! This was the first idea that sparked her love of equine movement.
In 2003, Karen’s horse sustained a severe sweeney injury to the shoulder, where all soft tissues completely atrophied leaving behind only skin and skeleton. Although it was suggested that her horse be euthanized, she started researching a solution and contacted Sara. Sara guided her in the rehabilitation, and within a year, her horse completely recovered.
In 2004, Karen graduated from The Art of Equine Bodywork (aka Equine Align Academy) program and has a full practice in Canada and the United States. Already the Academy”s most accomplished graduate, she has continued her education in Cranial Sacral Therapy and is currently a student of the Vluggen Institute of Equine Osteopathy, Germany. Her work has evolved into teaching in Canada and the US. Karen works with Equine Assisted Programs at home and in Europe. She is also retired from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Karen lives in Manitoba surrounded by her children and eight beautiful grandchildren.
Equine Align Academy strives to be green and so encourages pre-cycling (aka ‘avoiding’), re-cycling, and cooperating to share living and travel resources.