Case Studies

Before/After Equine Hanna Somatics® and/or Somatics for the Rider

One-Day Case Study Series

Photos showcasing the immediate and often mind-blowing results of Hanna Somatic Education. As near as possible, all photos were taken on the same day, on the same surface, less than 2 hours apart, by me.

Click on the image to enlarge the photos and read my session notes! Many more photos COMING SOON!


EXTENDED Case Studies – Equine, Human and Canine




March 2013 ~ Oldenburg Warmblood Gelding ~ 5 years old

History: N/A, sound;

Discipline: Natural Horsemanship, Training in Dressage;

The medial rotation (toe-in) of the forelimbs (observed since 6 months of age, see photos below) straightened significantly at the halt after Session 1, and is noticeably reduced overall, now only observable on the left forelimb during movement.

Before/After 6 sessions of Equine Hanna Somatics® over 3 weeks


6yr wb before

After 1 Session

6yr wb after1

After 6 Sessions

6yr wb after6

nb: Subject appears quite dark and shiny in the bottom left photo in part because he is wet and it was spring time…

August 2014 ~ National Show Horse Gelding ~ 10 years old

History: Rescued from starvation, poor posture;

Discipline: Natural Horsemanship, potential for Dressage

This horse was described as stiff, spooky and lame on and off prior to the session. He was able to tolerate touch with difficulty, and was “uncomfortable in his skin.”

*The owner reports that since the case date, this gelding has completed his rehabilitation and been successfully re-homed!




After Session 1





After Session 1


November 2014 ~ Lori

Lori is a helicopter pilot, soldier, horse rider/trainer

Presenting Complaint:

Lori* is a 30 year old woman who has had a persistent pain on the right side of her upper back for the last 9 years and gradual loss of range of motion in her right leg and hip.


392_Leonardos_helicopterNoticeable and recurrent pain began in 2007 while carrying heavy rucksacks and using her right side repetitively to lift and carry heavy objects. Pain resulted in interference with breathing due to sharp pain when inhaling deeply. Doctors diagnosed Lori with muscle spasms and prescribed 800Mg Ibuprofen and ‘lying on a rock’ to cause the muscles to relax. The chronic pain continued, leading to a significant neck spasm in 2010 that required emergency room care with injected muscle relaxers and pain medication. That neck spasm remained for three days. Lori was unable to turn her head or lift more than 30 degrees off of right shoulder during that time. Her doctor prescribed hydrocodone and muscle relaxants. Treatment included physical therapy and chiropractic care. Physical therapy included traction and resulted in no improvement. Chiropractic care made the most significant improvement, (3x/wk for 3 weeks, 2x/wk for 4 weeks, 1x/wk for 4 weeks, then 1x/mo until she moved away).

During 2012-12, Lori experienced tendonitis of the right knee and left shoulder, and pain in the right psoas muscles. With treatment her symptoms eased but never subsided, resulting in significant limitations to Lori’s daily activities.

Alternative therapies of chiropractic work and massage led to temporary relief that lasted up to a few hours if she remained at rest. She was unable to conduct physical training regularly, which directly affected ability to perform her job as either trainer or pilot/soldier.

Examination notes:

Lori is a fit and athletic woman who uses her body daily in her work and sport. The pain in her back caused weakness in her right arm and persistent pain/soreness in her right neck, shoulder, and hip (psoas). She noted that the pain was worst when the muscle was used continuously for more than 30 minutes (IE when flying, or handling horse training ropes) and particularly when she did rapid movements of her right arm. Limited range of motion in the right leg/hip.

Posture: Green Light, Trauma: C-curve to the right, right shoulder dropped.

Palpation: Apparent spasm of the right rhomboid muscle, with a palpable knot of hardened tissue. Area was uncomfortable to the touch and painful on deeper palpation. Variable muscle tone elsewhere, fairly symmetrical muscle development.

Possible causes:

Neuromuscular problems may be caused by myopathies, neuropathies, or junctionopathies. Causes of myopathies or neuropathies may be inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Residual muscle or nerve damage or malfunction from prior injuries may contribute. Distorted posture may be caused by chronic muscle contractions that have become involuntary in nature. Discussion of un-ergonomic seating and high impact work environments as additional contributing factors.


The Cat Stretch; Seated Somatic exercises for the Head, Neck, & Shoulders, targeted floor exercises for upper back, all following the existing pattern in the posture.

Voluntary Pandiculation and Means Whereby as appropriate.

Session notes:

Lori noticed some soreness and significant “ratcheting” sensation in the muscles of her shoulders and upper back during the Somatic Movements. She has good control over her speed and was easily able to focus on the internal sensory feedback while doing the exercises. The observable imbalance between the range of motion of the shoulders diminished markedly during the first 20 minutes of the session.


Immediately following the session Lori felt relaxed. She reported a few hours later that she inexplicable felt that she wanted to move her right arm around, and was enjoying the sensation.

The next morning Lori noticed a burning sensation in her right upper back between her spine and right shoulder blade where previously she had experienced either chronic pain or complete numbness.

By the second day following the HS session, Lori was feeling tingling and significantly reduced pain. She noticed an unexpected increase in strength and range of motion, and the knot noted in the palpation portion of the pre-assessment was gone.

2 weeks later: Significant improvement in ambulation and endurance.

The client reports: Lori continued with recommended Hanna Somatic Exercises 1-3 times daily. She practiced limited HS exercises during her flight period and was able to complete 2 full flight periods in a row (3.1 hours) with no reduction in performance and no persistent pain. This increased overall productivity and efficiency of the flight period and allowed for focus on the task instead of being distracted by pain. Other areas of her body that were under strain are starting to perform better. Now Lori is able to enjoy exercises that previously caused injury. She also noted better balance while riding horses.

Lori writes:

“I am back running again and I have yet to injure something. Amazing that that was my standard over the past three years. It used to take me days to recover from a single run. Now I am running or spinning every day in addition to riding and I feel great. I am still getting random pain in certain places, but I think it is just because all the compensations are now uncompensating and the muscles are having to readjust. My range of motion in my right leg is now almost equal to my left, which is awesome. I didn’t realize I had become so restricted. It took so long for me to get that bad…

Also – I saw the chiropractor right before I met you, and he was unable to move some of the vertebrae because my muscles were so tight. He told me to come back when I was more relaxed and I was like “right…” But I saw him about 2 weeks after our sessions and everything moved well. He was actually expecting more resistance. He is able to adjust less when I go because the muscles are not pulling it out of place so much. I am expecting to not need him much at all in a few months!”

*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

August 2014 ~ Ned the Yorkie

Presenting Complaint:

Ned* is an 8 year old male Yorkshire Terrier with an accumulated onset of difficulty walking over a 2-3 year period.


427_NewtNed fell down some stairs at one year of age and injured his lumbar area, resulting in two herniated discs. He also has a heart condition diagnosed by his veterinarian at that time, that prevented him from having any corrective surgery. He recovered and lived an active life until nearly 3 years ago, when he began to have difficulty walking and going up and down stairs.

Ned is bright, alert and responsive but has difficulty walking but for a few awkward steps at a time. He hops his hind feet together, and spends most of his time sitting up with his pelvis tilted to one side or the other, with both hind limbs extended to the same direction. He could not make it up the three porch steps to the door of the house, nor could he cross the slightly raised threshold between mud-room and kitchen once placed indoors.

The owner does not think there has been any worsening or improvement recently, nor does she think Ned is in much pain. He eats and drinks well. He has had acupuncture and red light therapy with no noticeable improvement. There is no other significant medical history.

Pre-Assessment Examination notes:

Mentation: bright and alert

Gait: non-ambulatory. When encouraged to walk Ned carries most of his weight on his forelimbs with a hopping and extremely short stride in the hind limbs. He moves only a few strides at a time before sitting again, preferring to remain at rest.

Posture: Red Light, Trauma (C-curve to the left)

Palpation: No pain apparent, variable muscle tone all over, fairly symmetrical muscles and fat, muscular atrophy of lumbar spine, pelvic area, and both hind limbs.

Possible causes:

Neuromuscular problems may be caused by myopathies, neuropathies, or junctionopathies. Causes of myopathies or neuropathies may be inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Residual muscle or nerve damage or malfunction from prior injuries may contribute. Distorted posture may be caused by chronic muscle contractions that have become involuntary in nature.


CHS Session 1, following the existing pattern in the posture.

Voluntary Pandiculation, Means Whereby and Kinetic Mirroring where appropriate.

Session notes:

Ned chose to lie on his side or back for most of the session, and was cooperative and willing to adjust his position as needed. Most of the hind limb pandiculations included some degree of means whereby to assist Ned in participating in the movements. He was most appreciative of the Vertebral Highlighting and Kinetic Mirroring of the spine, pelvis and hind limbs.


Ned was immediately moving more easily and was able to walk several steps moving his hind limbs independently. He was drowsy following the session and went to sleep for the night shortly thereafter.

The next day, Ned followed his owner out to the Equestrian school, at least 300 feet from the house, and was energetic and alert. He was walking more than he had the day before, and was able to cover more ground and move with more speed. He was observed sitting in a more balanced position with both hind limbs folded under his pelvis in at least two instances.

2 weeks later: Significant improvement in ambulation and endurance.

The owner reports:

“Hey, just wanted you to know I found Ned on the porch this morning having climbed two steps on his own. THEN I found him upstairs after I got home from errands….having climbed 15-20 stairs. Holy, Moly! He hasn’t been able to climb a single stair in like a year. So cool. Up until the past two weeks he has been only able to walk for short periods of time. Today, I had a hard time finding him, he was so active.”

*Ned’s name was changed to maintain client confidentiality.