Alissa Mayer BS EHSE HSE
Smile, and the world smiles with you.
International Instructor, Advocate, Teacher, Trainer, Clinician, Natural Horse Care/Hoof Management, Holistic Horse Habitat and Facility Design Consultant
- Creator of A Somatic Approach to Horsemanship™
- Certified Equine Hanna Somatics® Educator
- Coach – Somatics for the Rider/Athlete in the tradition of Thomas Hanna
- Co-Star – Equine Hanna Somatics Session 1 Official Selection of The Equus Film Festival
- Co-Owner – Criswell and Mayer Productions LLC
Alissa Mayer’s study of the nervous system, motor control, and resetting resting muscle tone to return the body to balanced posture, aka homeostasis, reveals that we can change our ability to perform physically and with ease while remaining pain-free — based on pure physiology — simply by practicing Hanna Somatics, and learning to use basic Equine Hanna Somatics to teach our horses to be relaxed and connected in body, mind, and spirit..
“I have developed A Somatic Approach to Horsemanship™, a step-by-step layered program designed to help students apply what I have learned without having to give up their current training method or sport or discipline.
Applying A Somatic Approach to Horsemanship™ will immediately improve posture and relieve pain without causing bracing and tension while training or playing.
By building lightness, self-carriage and the foundation for collection sooner rather than later, we can prevent the wear and tear of improper biomechanics, therefore keeping teams progressing instead of plateu-ing.
My students gain an understanding of learning theory and physiology as well as relationship building strategies to increase bonding and safety while decreasing frustration and misunderstandings.”
– Alissa Mayer
As a child I wanted to be a horse. At twelve I quit “riding lessons” because the horses didn’t seem to like it, and I wasn’t making fast enough progress, so what was the point? As a teen I rode bareback on the beach because I wanted to be like the boy in the Black Stallion movies: a part of my horse, my horse an extension of my soul…
After graduating with my BS in Equine Business Management from J&W University, I traveled the country and the world working in Eventing Barns, Dressage training facilities, Ranching and Trail-Riding operations… always leaving a job when something clashed with my sense of ethics or morals or humane treatment of animals and interns and earth. From 2005-2012 I started and ran my own Natural Boarding and Training Facility on Kaua’I Hawaii, Equiloha Farm.
I began teaching horsemanship clinics in Hawaii, California, Belgium, Spain, and Holland, and discovered Equine Hanna Somatics®(EHS). EHS was the missing link in completing the picture of healthy horses and happy partnerships that I was looking for. I became a Certified Equine Hanna Somatics Educator(EHSE) in 2012 after two intensive years of study, and have now formed a partnership with Eleanor Criswell, Ed.D of the Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training, to further the global awareness of Equine Hanna Somatics by creating educational materials and course content like our educational video Equine Hanna Somatics Session 1, available to purchase and download (right now!).
In my work and travels as an International Riding Instructor, Hoof Trimmer, Equine Hanna Somatics Educator and Natural Horsemanship Trainer, I have observed the same patterns of problems and holes in the understanding, safety, partnership, biomechanics, and mind-body integration in my students, across the spectrum of disciplines, both horses and humans. As my studies into Equine Hanna Somatics and Natural Horse Behavior deepened my understanding of anatomy, vertebrate physiology, neurophysiology, horse psychology and the way we learn, I began to modify my applications of what I knew about horse training, riding and horse handling. I have developed A Somatic Approach to Horsemanship™, an easily digestible package of information designed to help my students apply what I have learned without having to give up their current training method or sport or style – to immediately improve posture and relieve pain without causing bracing and tension while training; to build lightness, self-carriage and collection sooner rather than later to prevent the wear and tear of improper biomechanics and keep teams progressing instead of plateu-ing; and understanding learning theory and relationship building strategies to increase bonding and decrease frustration and misunderstandings.
Continuing Education: I ride and study with Aimee Brimhall McCord of Inspirational Horse, a phenomenal natural horsewoman and teacher who is expert in teaching her students to build connection and reveal new layers of subtlety in communication. I ride, train and collaborate with Saskia Martin of Anora – Natural Dressage, a brilliant classical dressage rider/trainer based in Belgium, who focuses on horse-friendly training techniques, correct classical posture and training programs, and practices Equine Hanna Somatics.
I am currently continuing to study and research the applications and results of Hanna Somatics® with humans – so that I can best help my students get out of pain, get supple, and get into the saddle so they can perform up to their athletic potential with ease. I posit that a serious rider who has an awareness and regular practice of Hanna Somatics will accelerate their progress to building the “perfect seat” 1000 fold! As for the rest of us, we’ll get better faster, and feel sexy doing it!
I am super excited to continue sharing my discoveries and challenges with you, and all my students around the globe!
Join me at one of my NEW Somatic Immersion Workshops in your area, or HOST ONE at your facility!
– Alissa –
My Education, Certifications, & Continuing Education
2004 BS Equine Business Management from Johnson & Wales University
2005 Eventing Groom/Rider/Trainer at Il Quadrifoglio, Sciolse, Italy
2006-2012 Founded/Directed/Managed Equiloha Farm, Natural Boarding Facility and Horsemanship Program on Kaua’I, HI
2007-present Student of Classical Dressage trainer Saskia Martin, Belgium
2012 Certified as an Equine Hanna Somatics® Educator by Eleanor Criswell Hanna Ed.D at the Novato Institute for Somatic Research & Training
2013-present Student of Aimee Brimhall McCord, Inspirational Horsemanship
2015-present Clinical Hanna Somatics® 3-year Professional Training Program at the Novato Institute for Somatic Research & Training
Lifetime Student of the Horse I am endlessly grateful to my most esteemed colleagues and furry professors – the horses in my life – from Marco the Mini, to Toby the (formerly) “evil pony…” to the large equines in my daily life: Jedi my appendix thoroughbred and Master of Sensitivity, and of course Doc A’Nalu, my warmblood/quarter horse cross who waited so patiently for me to learn to offer him a more sophisticated conversation. And all the rest! Keep ’em coming. Much Love!