Thoughts on "The Traveling Horse Witch?"

I am curious if anyone is familiar with The Traveling Horse Witch? She’s all over Facebook and a blog I follow is singing her methods praises.

From what I gather it’s a combination of body work and exercises, with a lot of focus on the thoracic sling. But it’s all I know because you have to sign up to get access to her methods. Which I am considering! I’m definitely intrigued. I’d love to hear if anyone is familiar and any feedback. Feel free to dm me if you don’t want to post publicly.

I’m especially curious to see how this would work into other more traditional dressage work.

Thank you!

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I have been following her for a short time, someone I follow on social media recently did a class with her and apparently loved it. I’m definitely curious as well bc I kind of want to do one of her virtual consultations but they are super expensive :sob:

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Yes, same. So expensive but I’m definitely intrigued. I hope someone who has worked with her with comment.

Yes I’ve done her clinic twice! Her focus is basically to help a horse develop correct self-carriage, without the rider holding him/her up. Really going back to the basics until everything is correct. It is useful across all disciplines (my clinics have had a lot of western riders as that’s who put it on), but especially dressage. Celeste has a background in both dressage and jumping, and was also raised around bridle horses.
The hands on massage/release she does seems to be very helpful for getting my horse moving more freely. For me personally I’m not sure how much I could get out of a virtual session just because my technical knowledge is not that great and I really need to be able to see and talk through things. But I know other, more seasoned, people have found them very worthwhile.

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Thank you! I’m in Colorado. It looks like she’s in Washington? Not sure if she comes out this way but I was also told to check out someone who has trained with her a bit too.

She’s not traveling at all temporarily as she is about to have a baby, but will resume clinics later in the year. I don’t know if she has any regular barns in CO. If I recall, she needs about 12 sessions for a weekend clinic, sessions are 2 hours and you can do one or both days.

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I find her FB interesting and my horse definitely needs help developing pectorals & thoracic sling but her consultations are pricey… plus I don’t have a good wifi situation at the barn! Would love if she wrote a book someday or offered online content.

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Can someone educate me on why there is a sudden hype over “thoracic sling” on FB? To me it reads like a buzzword precipitating paywalled mumbo-jumbo…

I have had certified body workers(chiropractor vet/masseuse vet) work on my horses for more than twenty years. No one has ever mentioned to me thoracic sling - but I am seeing an awful lot of FB diagnoses on groups like Pferde Mitt Kissing Spines/Horses with kissing spine and OTTB Connect all about it. Just the other day I was reading a post from a ‘bodyworker’ that suggested that all KS was secondary to defunct thoracic slings and that their exercises cured KS… Nothing about underlying spine anatomy or farriery playing a part…

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It’s talked a lot about in the classical dressage communities on Facebook.

I don’t doubt that is a very important part of the biomechanics of how a horse should move. But I too get weary if someone presents something as a cure-all.

I’m really not sure if that’s what she’s presenting or not though. It seems like you really have to pay for a consultation to really know what it’s all about. I’m intrigued but I do really wish it was easier to get a sense of the program.
My horse had a stifle injury, from being in a really muddy paddock. But I have no idea if this program would work for my horse or not.

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I agree, to some extent she is capitalizing on a current trend and this helps get people in the door so to speak. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t many horses that need this issue addressed, and also yes she has a more holistic approach. I was going to try to sum it up, but this blogger does a much better job explaining than I ever could (it’s long but worth the read if you’re interested in the method)

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I’m reading “Core Conditioning for the Horse” by Simon Cocozza, published 2019, and he mentions the thoracic sling a fair amount.

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A snip from the article:

“Celeste very much wants people to learn things for their specific horses from her and her approved clinicians because it’s such delicate work that can really harm a horse if done improperly”

Aaand, There’s the money shot. Sorry to be cynical, but this where she lost me. I’m sure this helps horses, but if it isn’t labeled as special and delicate she won’t make money. Just smells like carrot sticks to me.

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Bear in mind that’s not an article, it’s someone’s personal blog. And that blogger is a very experienced and lovely rider who’s earned her gold medal on a horse she brought along herself, and she says she’s found it very beneficial for her current horse.
Again this method might not help everyone, but many can benefit.
Yes Celeste is making a living off this (after a very difficult past growing up in the foster system and overcoming domestic abuse and poverty- which I only share because she is very open about it on social media. Her story is quite inspiring. ) But she also knows her stuff and is genuinely passionate about helping people and their horses, and seeing improvements.

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I’m not saying no one will benefit and it’s bad for horses, not at all. I’m also not saying anything about Celeste as a person, I don’t know her. Everyone has to make a living. I’m just giving my impression, that’s all.

A good trainer/rider would have looked at the chest of that supposedly 3rd level horse and said that there is something seriously wrong with this horse that needed to be addressed 2 years ago :frowning: Anyone should be able to see that those pecs are under-developed which should have raised a red flag about the way the horse uses itself in general.

Good for this rider seeking help. Shame she didn’t have proper help in the first place to prevent the problem!

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So, I am glad you mentioned this guy. Who is he? It might be my totally uneducated smurfiness, but I also lumped him in with the Klassical Folks that sell woo-woo just because I always see his name thrown around in these discussions.

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Not sure if you read this rider’s post in its entirety? That this is exactly her point - she spent years working with (big-name, top-level, S-judge) trainers who, in response to her concerns about her horse’s musculature despite getting 70s at Third, basically seem to have told her ‘sorry, that’s what you get for trying to do dressage with a Friesian cross.’

I have followed her journey with his horse for many years (she has an active social media presence), and any objective observer would certainly not say she didn’t have proper help. The implication of your post - that she is not a good rider/trainer, nor was she working with any - is pretty uncharitable in response to a single blog post.

I think the more interesting implication of her experiences is that she did do everything ‘right’ - i.e. seek out guidance and follow direction from multiple top-level dressage professionals - and the competitive sport rewarded her with big scores throughout the horse’s career - despite the biomechanical issues.

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My wording is poor. I meant it as a more general statement of WTF is going on in dressage in general if this sort of giant hole in a horse’s work gets routinely looked over. It truly boggles my mind, but then, I got very lucky in my ‘formative’ years with teachers and clinicians that had a clue and would not back down from insisting that ridden ‘physio’ for the horse comes before ALL tricks. Even though I know that this is not the way all all trainers train and that not all riders have access to someone who does train that way, it still makes me shake my head.

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Horses are not built to carry weight. If you really want to learn about the horse’s anatomy and how we can ride in ways that do not cause long-term damage, take one of Jillian Kreinbring’s functional anatomy courses. Purely science-based with no woo woo. If you cannot get to one in person, her first course is available online – though there is currently a waiting list.

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I think it has to do with new discoveries or understandings on how these things work and help the horse.

Im not sure about this course, but you can easily work on your own horses thoracic sling using masterson method and riding correctly.

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