Levels I-V

Level I: Online Course

Down to work
Beginning Thoughts —

From here you can download the online manual and view the three introductory videos: Hands as Tools, The AEMB Massage Model, and Working towards a Vision. These three videos convey the basics of how to work, the method we follow, and the approach to release the inherent alignment of each horse.

Lectures & Demonstrations —

Lecture videos highlight the functional anatomy of each major part of a horse — the bones and important muscles. Demonstration videos show how to massage each part of a horse and what you’re working towards.

  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Sacrum
  • Hindquarters
  • Ribs
  • Neck
  • Head
  • Putting It All Together


Level I Online Course Overview

Level II: Hands-On Practicum

TeachingEfficacy and elegance of bodywork comes from sensitive listening hands. The hands must know the form so well that they are free to discern what is needed to enhance natural alignment.

Work directly with instructors in the hands on practicum to enhance and refine skills gleaned from the online course. Knowing the elegance of the bodywork form is the foundation upon which all the other modalities anchor their efficacy. The more fluid and sensitive your hands are with continuity of the form the more responsive the horse is to working with you. Learn how to discern and soften mental bracing at the beginning, become skillful at releasing restrictions to mobilize joints, and learn to see subtleties in alignment and balance.

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Level III: Anatomy In Motion

Photo of Sara lecturing
Bones are the levers, muscles pull the levers, tendons and ligaments attach it all together, and fascia is a wrapping that binds the entire collection of pieces into one amazing whole.

This is not another dry clinical study of equine anatomy. This is an engaging hands-on clinic where you learn functional anatomy which is the road map of the horse’s body so that you can visualize what lies beneath the skin.  Each bone has a name, every muscle has a name, where two bones meet, is a joint, and each joint has a functional name. Even the tiniest piece has a finely tuned and very specific function. All these parts need to line up according to the body’s natural design in order to move with relaxed and balanced ease.  To know the form is to understand the biomechanics of the horse in motion. Learning to see proper alignment is important in resolving restrictions that inhibit natural movement. Studying dynamic anatomy is a guiding vision of what you are trying to achieve so that you are skillful in resetting the horse back to optimal alignment and balance.

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Level IV: Integrative Modalities

Knowing when horses are listening to you and granting you influence is essential to this work.- Sara Stenson

Delving deeply into the practical study of when and how to apply each modality refines your skills to the next level of proficiency. The efficacy of your work is predicated on how intimately you understand and apply each modality. This practicum teaches you the how’s and when’s to apply the modalities of:

  • Shiatsu/Acupressure
  • Myofascial release
  • Neuromuscular Re-education,
  • CranioSacral Rhythms
  • Principles of Balanced Movement

Blending these methodologies gently and seamlessly influences the body to realign without resorting to force or a matching of wills with the horse. Restrictions in soft tissues require one modality while bracings require another and you must be able to shift smoothly from one technique to another to stay connected with a horse.

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Level V: Rhythm Alignment

The impulse to straightness must emerge out of the inherent integrity of the spine. It cannot be achieved from without, only evoked from within.~Stuart Heller

Life is about movement.
In any action the entire body should be light and agile, with all of its parts connected like pearls on a thread. No one part should resist moving with the whole.~Cheng man ch'ing

Horses move, run, buck, rear up and kick out as they play and find their place within the herd. They have an inherent rhythm and a natural balance internally and externally. What we see externally is the direct result of the organization and potency of the internal rhythms. Out of synch internal rhythms visibly restrict movements making them stunted, uncoordinated, and lacking in continuity. Craniosacral is an important pulse — one of many facets of the vital forces of life. The heart, breath, chi, impulse, thoughts, and spirit also have unique rhythms. Traumas interrupt those energetic rhythms by restricting and rerouting their course through the body creating dysfunctional compensation patterns.  Knowing how to release those dysfunctional trauma patterns is the most subtle of all bodywork. It takes clarity of focus and refined sensitivity to hear the direction and potency of their course and careful listening to release their hold on soft tissues. This is what makes the difference between just rubbing muscles and making real lasting changes. Listening, connecting, following, and influencing are what ultimately release the entire structure to return to natural balance.


Equine Align Academy offers flexible lesson venues:

  • Online Courses — Live Zoom sessions and video courses so you can get started immediately, work to your own rhythm, and earn certificates from anywhere in the world.
  • One week Clinics — so you can take hands on courses for each level as they fit with your life. 50 Hour Certificates are earned for each Level.
  • Intensives — immersion is the best way to learn anything so our Intensives offer the most hands-on support, the most in-depth education, and additional content (hooves, saddle fitting, physiology…) in four weeks of training resulting in 250 hour certificates.

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