For the past several years I have had the honour of working with my aunt, Linda Tellington-Jones on the latest addition to the Tellington TTouch library of work with “Training and Retraining Your Horse: The Tellington Way”. Thanks to the tireless efforts of “Horse and Rider Books” the resulting publication is fantastic. This book takes the reader through the steps of safely, quietly and mindfully starting or re-starting a horse, in the Tellington TTouch frame of mind.
We start or re-start horses using a wide variety of tools and exercises to enhance overall posture, balance, self-confidence, and ultimately self-control. Beginning with “Detective Work” we explore the horse’s body, looking for areas of tension or defensiveness. From there we use gentle, non-invasive Bodywork (TTouch) to help release tension in these areas, developing trust by “chunking the process down” and listening to the horse’s beahviour as communication. Going over the entire body we help develop awareness and activate circulation, essentially “awakening” the nervous system out of habitual patterns.
In addition to using bodywork to change posture and release tension, we take these ideas into movement, with our variety of mindful leading exercises through the “Playground for Higher Learning”. All of our leading exercises are non-habitual and encourage the horse to walk, halt, turn and back in a functional, healthy posture that one would want under saddle. These tenants are also taken into Ground-driving, working from the chest and halter to support a released head and neck, that allows for the back and hind quarters to work freely.
All of the “Elements” within the “Playground for Higher Learning” are introduced in small steps, maintaining a low stress, high learning environment. If a request seems too difficult, we simply make it easier, “chunking it down” into smaller steps. This enhances long term learning and does not rely on fear or intimidation to gain cooperation. We show the horse what we want.
Once a horse has experienced many of the ground exercises and feels confident in our communication, we will move onto working under saddle, first with a leader, then without. We frequently utilize Tellington TTouch Tools such as the Balance Rein, Lindell sidepull, and Promise wraps, to help make the experience successful for everyone involved.
I am lucky enough to have grown up with the knowledge and experience of this method. Thanks to its logical, mindful, and varied exercises I have successfully started countless horses of a variety of breeds in a calm, quiet, daresay boring ;), way that maintains the physical and mental safety of everyone involved.
This new book has been a labour of love and fun. Linda and I had a great time working on it and have enjoyed supporting its release with a variety of Webinars through the TTouch Community discussing the history of the method, interesting case studies, solutions to common issues, among many more.
To learn more about the book and its release, check out this great article by Rebecca Didier or order the book today through our online store. I hope that you enjoy the book as much as I did working on it. If you are interested in experiencing the work in person, consider joining Robyn Hood and I at our beautiful farm this summer for “Problem Solving for Horses – The Tellington Way“.
Have any questions? I hope you will get in TTouch! I am always happy to offer advice and support!