What is Debono Moves*?

Debono MovesSM is an easy-to-learn, natural approach that empowers people to create healing relationships with their animals.

Debono Moves uses gentle touch, movement and a heart-centered connection to help animals release tension, move more freely, recover from injury and minimize age-related changes. It can cultivate a deeper bond, create a calm state and reduce stress for both animal and human. It was developed by Mary Debono, who incorporated many of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais’ teachings into her work.

Debono Moves was formerly called the SENSE Method

What are some of the benefits of Debono Moves?

  • Easier, more comfortable movement, even when arthritis is present
  • Stiffness and aches and pains can be reduced or eliminated
  • Can facilitate a full recovery after injury or surgery
  • Minimizes problems associated with aging
  • Promotes long-term soundness and vitality


  • Deepens the animal-human bond
  • Can relieve sore backs and tight muscles
  • Improves communication between horse and human
  • Provides a wonderful way to give back to your horse
  • Makes tacking up a pleasant experience even for “cinchy” horses

Debono Moves benefits horses of all ages and levels of fitness, from improving the performance of an Olympic-level equine athlete to helping an arthritic gelding move more freely. Debono Moves maximizes the potential of all animals, enhancing the healing process and reducing the risk of injury and degenerative disease. Well-being and comfort are increased.

How does Debono Moves work?

Debono Moves uses techniques that include lifting, holding, sliding, rocking and circling different parts of an animal. These movements help release tension while they wake up areas that have been “turned off” due to previous injury or imbalance. With this hands-on help, the animal experiences movement that is balanced and unrestricted. Since the new movement is also pleasurable, the animal’s nervous system will be more likely to integrate it, thus creating improvement in the animal’s comfort, functioning and well-being. The gentleness of Debono Moves makes it appropriate for virtually all ages and physical conditions.

The non-habitual nature of Debono Moves also increases the human’s ability to be in the moment and “tune into” the animal. Communication between human and animal is taken to a new level and a deeper bond is forged. Some experience telepathic feelings or dreams about their animals after doing Debono Moves.

Since being attentive to your own comfort and movement habits will increase your ability to help your animal, we incorporate Awareness Through Movement® lessons from the Feldenkrais Method®, a system of somatic education that improves human functioning. The Feldenkrais Method can improve people’s ease of movement, posture, flexibility and balance, while reducing their aches and pains. Debono Moves is indeed a win-win for animal and human!

What makes Debono Moves unique?

Debono Moves is designed to simultaneously improve the functioning and well-being of both the human and the equine. Debono Moves helps you to tap into the healing power of connection to generate well-being and vitality in both yourself and your horse.

How does Debono Moves differ from equine massage and other bodywork techniques?

With equine massage and many other bodywork modalities, the therapist generally focuses on releasing tension in the horse’s muscles.  This can be a pleasurable, helpful approach.  However, as a former equine massage therapist, I found that most horses would return to their chronic muscular tension and poor movement habits.

And if you think about how the brain organizes the body, this makes sense. If you focus on changing muscles, you’re dealing with lower-level organization.  After all, muscles don’t give orders, they only take them.  It’s the horse’s nervous system that tells the muscles when to contract and relax.

Let’s imagine that a horse is having difficulty rounding his back.  The veterinarian rules out a serious medical condition, but notes that the horse’s back is sore and tight.  It’s tempting to simply focus on relaxing the horse’s back muscles.  And doing so would probably help the horse feel better and be able to round his back more easily too.  For a little while.

But rounding the back actually requires an exquisite coordination of various parts of your horse’s body. It’s not just about the back muscles. For example, did you know that your horse’s ribcage plays an important role in rounding his back? Unfortunately, many horses have restricted movement in their ribcage, which can create chronic tension in the extensor muscles of the back.  This makes rounding the back difficult and leads to a tight, sore back.

So we need to remind the horse that moving his sternum and ribs in specific ways can release the tension in his back and make his life a whole lot easier.  We’re communicating with the horse’s nervous system when we do this. And we’re getting to the root cause of the horse’s problem.

Debono Moves uses gentle, precise touch and movements to help the horse feel how all his parts can work together harmoniously, improving body awareness, athletic performance and confidence.

In a career spanning more than 25 years, I have helped horses with a multitude of problems.  To list a few, I have helped: stiff horses become more flexible; tense, resistant horses relax and enjoy their work; “girthy” horses find pleasure in being saddled (yes!); and dressage horses have more swing and impulsion. In short, I help horses maximize their movement potential.

Debono Moves sessions have benefitted horses of all ages and levels of fitness, from improving the performance of an Olympic-level equine athlete to helping an arthritic gelding move more freely.

Questions? Would you like to know if a private session can benefit your horse? Please email Mary@DebonoMoves.com. Let me know what concerns you have about your horse.  I’m here to help.

Difficulty and deterioration are not inevitable for yourself or for your animals. Empower yourself by learning how you can easily improve your health and harmony and that of your horses!

What kinds of workshops, products, and services do you offer?

For horse lovers, Mary Debono leads horse and rider workshops. Participants learn how to effectively use Debono Moves concepts to improve the well-being and performance of horses, while they improve their own body awareness (and thus their riding) through the use of Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® exercises.

Mary teaches Feldenkrais Method Workshops to help people improve their ease of movement, balance, posture and coordination.

For dog lovers, Mary leads canine workshops. Participants learn how to improve the well-being, comfort, and movement of their animal friends. Participants also use Awareness Through Movement exercises to improve their own body awareness and comfort.

Debono Moves products include our unique Rollercise Package that instantly eliminates back and shoulder tension while improving posture.

Based out of her office in Encinitas, California (USA), Mary maintains a busy private practice for people. She has been very successful at helping equestrians improve their riding skills effortlessly. Mary is occasionally available to work one-on-one with horses or dogs in her geographic area. Group clinics may be arranged for those outside the North County San Diego, California area. Please email her at mary@sensemethod.com or call 858.842.4006 for appointment information.

How can I organize a workshop in my area?

Organizing a workshop is easy! To host a canine workshop, please call 858.842.4006 or email mary@sensemethod.com. To learn how to host an equine workshop, please click here!

What is the Feldenkrais Method® and how does it eliminate pain and movement restrictions? Can it improve my athletic skills, too?

The Feldenkrais Method, named after its creator, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, is a profound approach to improving human movement and maximizing potential.

The Feldenkrais Method uses sensory motor learning to ease aches and pains and enhance skills. It is an innovative approach to achieving dynamic health and well-being and reducing stress. Feldenkrais® practitioners teach people how to discover efficient and comfortable movement patterns, freeing them from restrictions and pain.

Individuals who participate in Awareness Through Movement lessons or private sessions can expect improved performance and enjoyment of pursuits such as riding, golf, running, handling their canine companions, swimming, yoga, martial arts, tennis, walking, and weight-training.

In addition, the Feldenkrais Method has proven to be effective for people with carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries, chronic and acute back pain, neck and shoulder tension, headaches, neuralgia, foot, knee and hip pain.

As a Guild Certified Feldenkrais PractitionerCM, Mary’s development of SENSE Method was strongly inspired by the teaching of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais.

For further information, go to our Humans page. To find a Feldenkrais practitioner in your area, go to www.Feldenkrais.com.

What is Mary’s training?

A life-long animal lover and horse woman, Mary graduated from the four-year professional Feldenkrais® training program in 1996, and is a Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner. The development of Debono Moves was greatly informed Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais’ pioneering work for people. Prior to Mary’s Feldenkrais training, Mary’s studies have included canine and equine bio-mechanics, massage, acupressure and other energetic techniques. Mary’s husband, Gary Waskowsky, also a Certified Feldenkrais® practitioner, is a gifted healer of mind and body and she has learned a tremendous amount from him. For more than 20 years, Mary has worked full-time with equine, canine, feline and human clients, ranging in condition from severely disabled to high-performing athletes. Witnessing her clients’ improvements – many quite dramatic – has helped shape Mary’s understanding of what is possible.

*Debono Moves was formerly called the SENSE Method.