TTEAM Training for Horses - Santa Fe, NM
by Linda Tellington-Jones, PhD (Hon)
I had a wonderful time co-teaching the New Mexico training with TTouch teachers Carol Lang, Kirsten Henry and Andrea Pabel Dean. This was such an enthusiastic go-getum group from six states and Switzerland and Russia, including two very experienced veterinarians and a vet student from Moscow. We had a great time sharing TTouch with riders and their horses.
Janet and Nanka
Dr. Janet Varhus, a veterinarian from Colorado, brought her horse Nanka, a very attractive bay Arabian gelding with a teacup muzzle and very sensitive personality. He was a challenging horse who had been trailered from Colorado to the Santa Fe, New Mexico week-long training. Janet had not owned him for very long and she had bought the gelding because she felt sorry for him. He had extreme fear about any movement around his hindquarters due to a bad experience with a trainer who scared him with ropes.
Because of this experience he was tight in his croup muscles and was inconsistent in his stride behind. In addition, he rested one hind foot or the other more than 90% of the time, not wanting to put weight on both hind legs at the same time. Head lowering, Leg Circles, Tail Work, lots of Playground for Higher Learning and chest driving made a huge difference in the movement of this horse, as well as the level of trust between horse and rider.
At the end of the clinic, we all witnessed the joy of Janet being able to ride Nanka bridleless with just the Liberty Ring around his neck. This accomplishment was seen by her as nothing short of a miracle. The horse also went exceptionally well in the Lindell instead of a bit.
Dr. Varhus wrote, “I learned to trust my intuition and pay attention to small things, and I gained an understanding of my horse and validation of my own thoughts. Nanka and I learned to trust one another, to be calm, leave the past behind and look forward to new things. He was disconnected with his hind end. During the training Nanka became more balanced, more realized.”
“Most importantly, Nanka and I became a team at the TTEAM training. Nanka was therapy for grief over my lost horse. The clinic helped me with my grief and gave me a new partner.”
“An update on our progress: At home I have a Shetland pony, a mule and Nanka. Nanka was the very bottom of the hierarchy and pushed around. Since we came back from the clinic, Nanka is the leader. I have not seen him be aggressive, but he has become the passive leader. Interesting.”
Gus and Liz Kendell
Liz hauled her 17-year-old Arabian gelding Gus all the way from Nebraska to Santa Fe, hoping the horse would bond with her. Liz won the NATRC (North American Trail Ride Conference) region championship for best horsemanship for the forth year! And a scholarship to a week of TTEAM was her reward.
Gus was her father’s endurance horse until Liz had to retire her brilliant champion NATRC mare. Retiring her mare made Liz extremely distraught. It was not surprising that Gus did not bond with her.
Yesterday, a few weeks after the training, I called her to see how they were getting along.
Liz says Gus is very different since the clinic in Santa Fe. Her comments: “He’s not so aloof. He comes up to greet me when I walk into the paddock which he never did before. He sometimes chases the other horses away from me when I come into the herd. When I started riding him last year he often had all four feet off the ground. It was go, go, go.”
“Now he’s more laid back. It’s really cool. There has been a significant personality change. Before the clinic his attitude was, ‘You are not my real rider.’ Now he is attuned to me and we’re communicating. I was standing on my parent’s porch the other day and he came right up and stood there quietly with me. He would never have done that before. That was not normal for him.”
What these two experienced is such a lovely gift for both horse and rider that happened in just one week of sharing and practicing TTouch Techniques.
Many blessings, Heart Hugs and Aloha from the balmy breezes of Hawaii.
Participants at the Santa Fe Training in July, 2008 came from Canada, Russia, Switzerland and the USA (see photo). They include:
Miranda Alcott NM
Cindy Anderson NM
Susan Brown NM
Sandra Burnett NM
Barbara Camenzind - Switzerland
Andrea Deane NM
Polina Egorova - Russia
Maggie Hall UT
Sharon Holland, DVM NM
Judith Hovetter NM
Emily Keene NM
Elizabeth Kendall NE
Karen King IN
Carol A. Lang NM
Diane Major BC Canada
Suzanne McCreight NM
Leslie McKeeby FL
Alicia Nation NM
Wrenne Saunders NM
Janet Varhus, DVM CO