Human Touch

Human Touch
Equine massage courses focus on health of students

By Damon Arthur, Record Searchlight
June 8, 2004


Learning about yourself was not on the course outline. When Lisa Hartley saw Geary Whiting’s horse massage courses advertised online, she saw that they included classes on equine anatomy, technique, saddle fitting, and marketing.

Geary Whiting, right, demonstrates horse massage techniques on his horse, Misty, during a class at his ranch. Students came from as far away as Mobile, Alabama, to attend the course.

There wasn’t anything on the syllabus about Eastern philosophy, passion, holistic health, or having a “zest for life.” Hartley traveled from her home in Mobile, Alabama to Whiting’s ranch in Douglas City anyway.


She was all set to learn horse massage. But during the course Hartley took last month she found out Whiting has a not-so-hidden agenda to get his students to examine their values, as well as their physical and emotional well-being.


“You learn about yourself. You just find yourself, find who you are, where you are going, what you want to do, instead of having your friends and family tell you what you want to do,” Hartley said.

Antigone Anderson was moved to tears while listening to Geary Whiting talk about his experiences with personal healing after breakfast at Whiting’s ranch.

OK. But what does finding yourself have to do with horse massage? Whiting said that his students need to straighten out their own priorities before they can heal an aching animal.


“If you are unsure of yourself, you cannot expect your horse to give in to you and have confidence in you,” Whiting said.


“A lot of people are disenchanted with their lives,” he said. “It is my job to put fire in their veins, put passion in their lives.”


He does that by taking up to six students at a time through five-day courses. The classes cost $1,300, which includes meals and lodging. During the week students live in cabins on his ranch situated along Reading Creek in the mountains of Trinity County.


Whiting said that there is plenty of demand for those who can massage performance horses, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.


“You have to consider the horse an athlete,” said Whiting, a personal trainer and massage therapist who worked with athletes and professional dancers for more than 30 years before going into equine massage.

Antigone Anderson of Sylmar takes a nap during lunchbreak from a horse massage course in Douglass City.

Whiting’s course outline may not list classes on setting personal priorities, but it does include dinner on the town in Weaverville, two-hour lunches, campfire talks, and techniques on easing a headache.


Life slows down among the pines. Two-hour lunches are mandatory. Whiting has a hammock set up in the shade of the dogwoods for naps after lunch. If a student is using it he will fall asleep on a picnic table by the creek.


In addition to Hartley, who just finished up a course in human massage, the students in Whiting’s May class included a tax accountant and software consultant from Dallas, a lawyer who recently moved from New York City to Southern California, a nurse from Mount Shasta, and an 11-year-old girl from Cayucos.


Bennie Davidson of Mount Shasta said that she took a massage course prior to enrolling in Whiting's, but she was not happy with it.


Whiting’s course is “not just horse massage. It is a whole concept of living,” Davidson said.


“It is a whole holistic way of bettering yourself. He is teaching living and massage. What you give out there, you get in double back. You have to have a connection with whatever or whoever you are massaging,” Hartley said.

Current editor Damon Arthur can be reached at 2225-8226 or by e-mail at
photos by Andreas Fuhrmann/Record Searchlight

Contact Us Today!

Geary Whiting’s Equine Massage Therapy School for Horse & Rider

P.O. Box 1836
Big Sur, CA  93920

Phone No.: 530-410-5270