Winner will be announced March 16 at EQUITANA in Essen, Germany
WASHINGTON, Va., Feb. 19, 2015 – Wendy Murdoch’s SURE FOOT Equine Stability Program has been nominated for EQUITANA’s Innovation Award, one of the most prestigious product awards in the European equestrian sports marketplace.
The award is given to innovations in six categories: stable, hall and arena construction, training technology; stable technology and equipment, pasture and agricultural equipment; vehicles; riding and work fashions, safety products; health and care; and nutrition. SURE FOOT was nominated in the health and care category.
“It’s an absolute honor to have been nominated,” said Murdoch, creator of SURE FOOT and founder of The Murdoch Method. “The end goal is to help horses the world over through SURE FOOT, and this nomination will spread the word and enlighten horse owners to alternative ways we can help our horses.”
The SURE FOOT Equine Stability Program can be used with all horses. This technique uses a variety of stability and balance pads placed under the horse’s hooves while standing still, which allows him to experience different sensations. The pads give under the horse’s weight, apparently bringing relief and attention to how and where the bodyweight is when standing while supplying new information to his nervous system through internal sensors. Movement immediately afterward gives the horse an opportunity to explore how his hooves meet the ground. The horse becomes self-aware through this process and, in doing so, the nervous system reprograms his behavior, self-confidence, and habitual patterns of movement.
“How the horse’s hoof meets the ground is how that horse meets the world,” explains Murdoch. “No matter the size of the horse, his relationship to gravity and the earth is dependent upon the way the horse stands on and lands his hooves. Offer the horse a choice and he will pick the most efficient and comfortable way over a more uncomfortable, less efficient habitual pattern.”
The program is unique because it requires virtually no interference or training by the human—the horse decides how long, or how little, he needs to stand on the pads.
“If you can safely pick up a hoof you can use SURE FOOT with your horse,” Murdoch says. “The key is to let the horse explore, not to make him stand on the pads.”
The Program can be performed while the horse is unmounted or mounted with the aid of an assistant. Commonly observed changes include relaxation, neck lowering, decreased anxiety, deeper breathing, and softening of the facial muscles. While on the pads horses sway, rock, and often appear to be tranquilized as they explore what feels good and works for their bodies. Afterward one can observe them experiment with body posture at walk, trot, and canter including limb, back and pelvic movement, change in stride length, and ease.
The SURE FOOT program is ideal for horses with tension, anxiety, repetitive training issues, lameness, or soundness issues, for pain relief, recovery from illness or to improve overall performance. In as little as 10 seconds, changes can be observed in the way the horse stands, moves, and relate to his environment. Behavior changes such as increased confidence, calmness, and an increased desire to be with people have also been observed. These profound changes can be permanent in as little as one session if no underlying cause for pain exists.
While SURE FOOT does not replace training, it does allow the horse to show you that he understands and can perform the task you desire once the underlying stress and/or pain is reduced or eliminated. Therefore SURE FOOT is applicable to any horse for a wide variety of reasons while minimizing stress on all individuals involved.
“We are the facilitators,” Murdoch adds. “With SURE FOOT, the horse becomes his own teacher. We have the privilege of watching our horses transform with this Program in a way that is truly unique and lasting. This transformation challenges our previous beliefs and ideas about why horses resist and lets us see that they are always willing to change if we can tap into something that is meaningful to them. “