Tag Archives: Sandy Rakowitz
Thankful Thursday: The Mind and Spirit of Sandy Rakowitz

Thankful Thursday: The Mind and Spirit of Sandy Rakowitz

thankfulthursdaygratitudeAs Simrat at Akal Ranch says,

Gratitude creates its own attitude.

Once again, It’s Thankful Thursday, and I’m taking a moment to consider all the things I have to be grateful for. Part of mindful awareness is living gratitude every moment of every day, and not just while writing Thankful Thursday’s post, however. Please remember that even if you don’t participate in Thankful Thursdays, be mindful and grateful for everything.

Take a few minutes today to create your own Thankful Thursday. If you don’t have a blog of your own, you are welcome to post your thoughts here. If you have a blog, post what you are grateful there, and please link back here. Feel free to tag other bloggers. We are trying to get a mindful movement of gratitude going.

For more thankfulness try out Akal Ranch, Tired Dog Ranch, or the Pony Expression.

The past week and a half I’ve been trying to assist with a very large project at Tellington TTouch Training. Since I missed the first two weeks of the visit to Hawaii of Sandy Rakowitz (One Heart Healing Center and The Holistic Animal), I played catch-up the whole time.

Sandy  Ibis  eyes closed  LB camera1

Even after mostly catching up, I could not contribute in a quality way to the development of the project because I don’t have the 25 years of experience with Tellington TTouch that Sandy has. But that’s not what this post is about.

Sandy’s knowledge is astounding. Just by talking about the subject at hand, she taught me things I might never have had access to. By her demeanor, so calm, grounded and honest, she shows me a better way to be. I spent much of our time together marveling at the rich complexity of her body of knowledge and her skill at integrating it into the project, and in communicating it to me and others. There aren’t a lot of people like this in the world. I’m grateful to have spent this intensive time with her, and even more grateful to know her.

© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch and Kim Cox Carneal

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Ride With Pride

Ride With Pride

Yesterday I accompanied my friends Sandy Rakowitz and Robin Bernhard to Cedar Creek Stables to give a clinic in TTEAM and TTouch® to the volunteers and employees of Ride With Pride, a therapeutic horsemanship program in Staunton, Va.

At the intersection of therapeutic horsemanship and Tellington TTouch lies my dream. When I grow up, this is what I want to do, and I think that Sandy and Robin, with their incredible expertise in science, horsemanship, riding instruction and Tellington TTouch, may just be the partners I’ve been looking for. In comparison to these gifted women, I may bring only gumption to the table. But every undertaking needs gumption, right?

Sandy had planned an afternoon introduction to basic TTEAM and TTouch concepts for the fantastic volunteers who work with the horse heroes at this NARHA facility. A colder day than we expected, it nonetheless proved very fruitful, as TTEAM tools revealed themselves to be very effective in changing undesirable attitudes of some of the horses.

One of the most pleasing outcomes of the day was the result of using the body wrap. For years, Tellington TTouch has used a body wrap made of two or more 4″ Ace bandages to give fearful or anxious horses or dogs a sense of support and confidence. The benefits last beyond the time spent wearing the bandage. The scientific reasons for the success of this wrap are as yet unknown, but at present they are being explored. Temple Grandin lends credibility to the concept of body wrapping in her book, Animals In Translation, where she describes a self-constructed “squeeze machine” used to calm her mind. According to Grandin, many autistic people benefit from wrapping or tight pressure. It is said to increase calm, relaxation, and to promote feelings of compassion and empathy, which in autistic people is desired–social feelings don’t come easy. Sandy and Robin have completed a pilot study with traumatic brain injury survivors in which the participants both report and demonstrate increased emotional and physical well-being when wrapped in various ways. The final report has yet to be published, but the results of both the EEG studies and the body wrap experiments are definitive. (click on the link in the previous sentence and then drop down to 2007 TTouch Classes for Traumatic Brain Injuries for a link to a precis in pdf form).

Two horses in particular benefited from the body wrap, each for different reasons. Here are their stories:

The Fjord was adorable and very spunky.

Feisty Fjord

Feisty Fjord

This horse resisted being led, slowing down and accepting directions on the ground, and barged ahead of his leader at times. This made moving through the labyrinth and other ground exercises more difficult. I once saw an adult handler throw herself in front of the horse to stop him. One can only imagine how hard it would be for a handicapped rider to manage this horse on the ground and under saddle with this spunky attitude. After putting the body wrap on the Fjord, he settled down substantially. Almost immediately, he held his head lower, licked and chewed more, and took a lot of deep breaths. It became clear that his resistance was mediated by anxiety. The simple support of the body wrap seemed to calm him, and he moved more slowly, paying careful attention to the cues from his handlers.

The Belgian was afraid of everything. We had the opportunity to watch him go under saddle in the covered arena as we set up for the clinic. He inverted and ran, tossed his head, skittered away from every stimulus, and trotted fast. He did everything but move around the arena a few feet off the ground. He presented the picture of a horse with zero confidence. It was all Sandy could do not to ask the rider to get off and allow her to try to wrap him so he could calm down!

Taking a deep breath and lowering the head a little

Taking a deep breath and lowering the head a little

The minute we put the wrap on him, he settled. We were so relieved, we allowed him to stand there for a few minutes, getting accustomed to the feeling of support on all sides. I didn’t know what would happen when I flipped his tail outside the wrap (take cover!!!!), but he stood still. In a few minutes, he was taken through the assorted ground exercises, a changed horse. His confidence and ease were so increased that he no longer displayed any of nervous tics such as head tossing, stamping, moving around on the ground, or barging out in front of his leaders. His head carriage was immediately lowered, and he also licked and chewed as he went through the exercises. His anxiety level was low enough to allow him to process what he was doing and to learn. I was pretty impressed! I was disappointed to be unable to stay and see him go under saddle with the same rider. I plan to call to ask Debbie Winters, the director of Ride With Pride, what changes she sees in him under saddle.

I don’t imagine for one minute that receiving TTouch from volunteers and a half hour wearing a body wrap will change the behavior of these horses permanently. But it’s a start, a head start. They are already doing the best job in the horse world. If we can increase their confidence with TTouch and TTEAM so that they can do their jobs happier, then that’s what matters to me.

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Thankful Thursday: The Guinea Pig, The Student, And The Shadow

Thankful Thursday: The Guinea Pig, The Student, And The Shadow

What a day yesterday was. For the first time since November of 2008, I spent time with horses. Real, live horses. I was surrounded by horsey love and affection.

From the moment I went to put on my boots, it was a good day. How long had it been since I wore riding boots? It was as good as the day so long ago (much longer than I’ll admit) when at twelve I got my very first pair. No glossy brown paddock boots could have felt finer than the worn, supple boots that fit my feet so well yesterday morning.

I went to visit Sandy Rakowitz and her horses Zoey and Ibis. The day was, for once, sunny and warm. A toasty 62°! Not warm enough to have dried up the mud, but so pleasant. The horses didn’t mind the mud, and they didn’t mind me fawning all over them.

Sandy was kind enough to review with me various T.E.A.M. leading positions and the balletic maneuvers necessary to change among them for people still learning. I needed a review, because this weekend I’m going to help her out at a clinic. It wouldn’t do to have a clueless helper.

Zoey was a tolerant guinea pig. She suffered my ministrations (including many errors) with patience and grace. She taught me many things. I was a rather mirthful student today, drunk on sunshine and horse perfume. Ibis shadowed our every footstep, marching along behind or beside as we worked slowly through the labyrinth or around the barn. Often I had to ask him nicely to move a little, for fear he would stomp my toes. He was very interested in what we were doing. He duplicated Zoey’s movements, supporting me in my efforts.

I am so grateful for Zoey and Ibis and their attentive lessons yesterday. Their willingness to show me where I wasn’t being clear in my cues, or where I was using too much or too little pressure, was a reminder of the good will of horses in general. It’s not that I’d forgotten. It’s just been a long time.

Zoey and me

Zoey and me



I am indebted to Sandy for allowing me this time with her precious horses and for showing me the finer points of lead handling and wand-switching. Prior to this day, I mostly switched myself in the face on handoffs. I have a little more confidence for Saturday now.

For other Thankful Thursday posts, see Akal Ranch. Should you decide to post on Thankful Thursdays, please link or comment here.

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Guest Blogger: Sandy Rakowitz of One Heart Healing Center

Guest Blogger: Sandy Rakowitz of One Heart Healing Center


I first met Sandy Rakowitz of One Heart Healing Center for People and Animals a few years ago at a Tellington TTouch training. Standing next to Sandy’s deeply grounded and very appealing energy, I felt like a tornado in comparison. With Sandy as a mirror, it was the first time I realized that, when nervous, my personal energy was fractured and frantic. Since then, I’ve made inroads. I don’t know where they lead, or if I’ve gotten very far, but I’ve been digging that path. Daily. Thanks Sandy, for the example of your elemental calm.

A couple of months ago, I asked Sandy if she would mind answering a few questions. I’m presenting her answers here, in original Q & A format. I hope you enjoy reading about the life and profession of one of our area’s leading horse and healing professionals.

Sandy Rakowitz

Sandy Rakowitz

Question What do you do?
SandyI own and operate One Heart Healing Center for People and Animals in Charlottesville, VA, where I offer Energy Healing Medicine, TTouch, Animal Communication and Young Living Essential Oils. I offer sessions and classes that teach people how to use TTouch and Young Living Essential Oils.

Question How did you get started with that?
In June of 1995, I graduated from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, a 4-year professional training program working with the human energy field. In October of 1995, I moved to central Virginia to open my healing practice with people. I taught Centered Riding and to train horses using TTEAM (The Tellington TTOUCH Equine Awareness Method). I had already become a level 2 Practitioner of the method of working with horses developed by Linda Tellington-Jones that includes TTouch bodywork, Ground Exercises and Riding.

Then in the fall of 1995 I became a faculty member of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing where I continued to teach for 6 years. In 1997, I began the TTouch training program to become a practitioner with companion animals and became a Practitioner in Training for working with dogs, cats and other small animals, which I achieved in 2003.

In 1998 I began using Young Living Essential Oils for myself, my animals and with my family. I discovered many uses for these amazing gifts of nature in calming animals, soothing and releasing trauma, and help in speeding the recovery of injuries and wounds. Within a few years, I gradually began to integrate the use of Therapeutic grade Essential Oils along with Energy Healing Medicine, TTouch and Animal Communication.

By 2003, I opened One Heart Healing Center for People and Animals. I expanded to offer classes, workshops, write articles, a newsletter, and private sessions in person and via telephone consults for people across the U.S., Caribbean, and overseas. I have worked with many species. The majority of my clients are People, Horses, Dogs, and Cats though I have also worked with Mountain Lions, Birds, Lynx, Bobcat, Zebra, Lizards, Turtle, Fish, and Ferrets.

I have taught classes in Vet Clinics to teach employees TTouch so they can incorporate TTouch into their practices. I have worked in numerous Animal Shelters and Sanctuaries to help animals to be more readily adoptable with the combination of TTouch, Energy Healing, Animal Communication and Flower Essences.
Beginning in 1990, I began working with my animal communication skills. In 2004, after taking classes and practicing and honing my skills for those many years, I began officially offering Animal Communication services.

Question Tell me about your decision to go to the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, and a little bit about what that was like.
Sandy In the summer of 1991, I went to a four day Introductory workshop to the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. As I was listening to Barbara Brennan speak, I knew that I HAD to go to this school. I had begun researching schools earlier in the year. Although I had liked the other programs in Alexander Technique, Synergy, Feldenkrais, Herbalism, and so on, nothing seemed to meet this internal sense that I had for a spiritually-based program that was all-encompassing. I was not absolutely sure what I was looking for, but hoped I would know it when I found it. Going to the Barbara Brennan School was an interesting choice for me. One that did not make logical sense. Until that point, I had wanted to teach riding and train horses. Here was a school that focused on healing people and had nothing to do with animals directly.

After I arrived home from my first class, I went to the barn to visit my horse. While there, I decided to practice some of the skills that I had just learned. I brought my attention to my center, or Tan Tien, did the deep breathing that I had just learned, and focused on my Hara line that was grounding me deeply down into the earth. As I felt calmer, I noticed that my horse also got more relaxed and softened immensely. I was fascinated by his response to what I was doing. I had seen in Centered Riding that the correct use of self directly impacts the way the horse traveled while riding. But here I was witnessing these changes while I was just standing next to him, not asking anything of him. I was really amazed. I continued practicing the next set of skills where you sense the chakras and the colors. He continued to relax. I decided to test this out even more. When I rode him, I tried doing the same exercises. He was softer, longer and more relaxed than usual. He was very attentive to the changes in my body that these exercises produced in me. Then, I decided to do the actual healing technique called chelation. This technique works directly with the chakras and is grounding, clearing, balancing and replenishing.

I had learned these techniques with people, but I was drawn to translate them to my horse.

I explored where the chakras were located for the horse, tried out the chelation and proceeded to watch him get really relaxed. He seemed to enjoy the whole thing immensely.

Little did I know that my tendency to translate everything I learned for people into how it would work for horses, along with all that I was learning with my horse was the beginning of my healing practice!

Did you go to college? If so, what did you study?
Sandy Yes, I went to Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. I began as a business major and found that incredibly boring. I began in 1978 and went part time for 6 years graduating in 1984. I ended up with a degree in Psychology and was a few credits shy of a second major in Sociology. I discovered that I had a knack for putting together programs and organizing events. For instance I developed a Peer Career Counseling Program helping students discover what they loved to do. The early stages of my healing practice to uncover someone’s life purpose.

In 1983, I won a scholarship for a program I developed for the University to reach out to prospective Freshman. That summer I attended Wroxton College in England for the summer abroad program studying Shakespeare. The following year I traveled to Ghana, West Africa with Operation Crossroads Africa, a program that was the inspiring predecessor to the creation of the Peace Corps. I spent time with a small group of volunteers from across the US, Europe and Ghana in the small Village of Brewniase with a group of volunteers helping to build a much needed community building and part of a school. We also were able to travel to Morocco, the Ivory Coast and through parts of Ghana.

Question When did you start your life with horses and animals?
Sandy When I was growing up, we had no animals in the house except for a turtle, goldfish and guppies who all had extremely short life spans. I craved having a cat, horse or a dog and begged for years to have an animal. Finally, when I was 8 years old, I was allowed to begin riding lessons. When I was 13 and 14, my instructors along with the horse owners in the barn where I rode in West Orange, NJ began asking me to ride their horses. This was the very beginning of my learning about training horses. The more challenging the horse, the more I loved it.

When I was 16, I got my first horse, a 5 year old Thoroughbred Canadian bred cross named Fiddlin’ Around. Fiddler was a huge hearted, playful, clever and talented horse whom I loved dearly. We taught each other for six years as we navigated through our flat work, jumping, showing and living of life. Fiddler became New Jersey Horse Shows Association Junior Hunter Champion in 1977. During that time, I continued to gain invaluable experiences by riding many other horses as well.

Sandy aboard Fiddler, Rolling Rock Horse Show, 1976

Sandy aboard Fiddler, Rolling Rock Horse Show, 1976

Even though I had been casually coaching friends for years, I did not begin formally teaching until I was 18. I had always thought I would just train horses. I did not see myself as a ‘Riding Instructor.’ Once I began I realized that I loved it immensely. I continued to teach and train for many years. There was nothing alternative about me at this time, I was traditionally trained, and this is how I taught. In fact, in the 70’s when I first heard about Linda Tellington-Jones and TTEAM, I poo-pooed it! I thought it was way too touchy-feely and hokey. Little did I know then!

Question What brought you to TTouch?
Sandy In 1987, I bought a horse that within the year had me totally stumped. I went to a Centered Riding Clinic with Sally Swift and was blown away by the perspective. This work showed me the ‘how to’ of riding and teaching in a way that I had not experienced previously. The calmness, centering and the understanding of the use of body made total sense to me and I could see the results.

Centered Riding began to open doors for me. While at this weekend clinic it was recommended that I contact a TTEAM Practitioner to help me with my horse. It took a few more weeks of struggling alone at home before I finally called someone. This woman spent 2 hours with me. I was blown away at the things she saw and pointed out to me. As she used the TTouches, I watched my horse melting and looking more relaxed than I had ever seen him. She gave me tools to use on my own. She recommended that I start using TTouches all over his body and to continue to use all of the ground and leading exercises that she had shown me. She recommended that I get Linda’s book and read it. This was one of those life-changing times for sure.
I began using TTEAM avidly with this horse and with my riding clients. I began seeing results that came much faster and more easily than I had previously seen.
I was working with a client at this time with her yearling Quarter Horse gelding who was difficult to lead and handle. As soon as I began using the TTouches and ground exercises with him he began to relax, soften and learn more readily. His owner and I were both impressed. I had some new tools to use to help with leading and teaching him about being handled in a way that he seemed to understand and be able to respond to more easily than before. I was intrigued and hooked!
Twenty years later, I continue to be amazed by the depth and power of TTouch. I am excited to have been invited to the Oakland Zoo in March 2009 with Linda Tellington-Jones, Robin Bernhard, and a few others to do additional research with giraffes, measuring their EEG’s (electroencephalographs) to gauge the effects of TTouch!

Question Tell us a bit about the EEG/brainwave research you have done.
Sandy Robin Bernhard, Jessica Eure and I worked with a group of people who have experienced traumatic brain injuries from June of 2007- April of 2008. We taught the group TTouches for self-help. EEG’s were taken of each participant before the group began.

I got the idea for the group after speaking with several people who had experienced TBI’s. I was talking with one woman about TTouch and the recent projects that we had been working on where we had been looking at the calming effects that TTouch had and showed up with EEG’s or brainwave patterns. She was intrigued, and so I showed her the Clouded Leopard TTouch. She tried it out immediately. I got an email from her the next day saying she had been using the TTouch since then and her head pain was greatly diminished! I realized that we needed to offer people how to do TTouch for themselves.

This group was the beginning of the most amazing journey for us all.

We found in the Traumatic Brain Injury Class that TTouch reduces the impact of many common symptoms. Pain has been reduced; mobility, motor function, coordination, concentration and memory have all improved. TTouch Heart Hugs in particular have been consistently calming and centering for people. Body wraps have helped with sharpening focus, pain reduction & calming. The unique pattern of the whole body sequence using Clouded Leopard Circles has helped physical- emotional balance, physical strength, motor function, and coordination along with the reduction of pain.

Participants said things like:
“The TTouch I did today is helping already. I’m not dragging that left foot anymore and I’m a little sharper in the head, with less pain.”

“My head pain has improved greatly over the last few months. I don’t know if I can convey how much that alone has improved my quality of life. I had begun to believe after 2 1/2 years that it was chronic pain I would have to try to deal with the rest of my life. In my dark moments, it was overwhelming. I’m also sharper and more focused generally.“

Question Tell me a little bit about the use of the oils, and about the oils in general. How do you feel they enhance what you do?
Sandy I love working with the therapeutic grade essential oils with animals and people. I find that they are helpful with behavior issues, emotions, and can help boost the immune system.
I had a dog come in recently who had just had surgery for amputating a cancerous toe. He was chewing on his foot a lot, was lame and very very restless. I used a wonderful blend called RutaVaLa that is extremely calming to the central nervous system and can help someone quiet quickly. I placed a few drops in the palm of my hand and wiped it down along his back. I then took a look at his paw that was quite red and sore. I used several oils directly on the foot that have anti-inflammatory, pain relieving and itch reducing properties. Fairly quickly he quieted and lay down with a big sigh.
I was then able to use TTouch along his back and shoulders, which were quite sore from compensating from the limping that had developed. I also used energy healing techniques. I did a combination of chakra balancing and grounding along with working with the structured levels of the energy field. The energy lines get severed when there is surgery and this creates pain and inflammation. Restructuring the lines of light help to reduce pain, inflammation and speed the time of recovery.

I have found this combination of using therapeutic grade essential oils, TTouch and energy healing to be quite effective. I am able to teach people how to do TTouch and use the oils so that they have tools to use and follow-up with at home.

The dog and his person had a peaceful night’s sleep that night for the first time in a few weeks!


Sandy currently shares a farm in the magical foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with two wonderful horses Ibis and Zoey, two awesome dog helpers Liza and Haley, and the queen cat herself, Scarlett, wild Canadian Geese, deer, hawks and other wild inhabitants. If you have questions or would like to learn more about Young Living Essential Oils, please contact either Sandy or me.

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