Welcome to the Reach Out to Horses® Blog!

Anna will be posting all sorts of great information here about natural horsemanship, animal communication, energy healing, and, as Anna wants to hear from you, you’ll be able to comment on all the topics.

We are even going to have the Podcast category in which you can comment on our guests on the popular podcast show Reaching Out with Anna Twinney.

We look forward to blogging with ya, so check back often!

THE ROTH FREE WEBINAR SERIES IS HERE

We’re excited to announce our FREE 4-part Webinar Series coming this month and in January.  We’ll be covering everything from Natural Horsemanship, Animal Communication, Health and Nutrition and more!

Join Anna and her expert guests LIVE as the cover the topics that you need to know to create health and happiness for you and your animal companions.

We kick it off next Wednesday and Thursday.

Don’t forget, we have limited seating for these free events so don’t wait!  Register now to reserve your spot!

Health, Well-Being and Dynamite for You and Your Animal Companions 

with Anna and Dynamite’s Gold Executive Director Judy Sinner
December 17th, 2014 6 – 8pm

Find Out What You Really Need for Optimal Health for You and Your Animals.

Once again we gather around the fireplace to hear from one of the world’s greatest experts in equine and human (and other animal companions) health and well-being. Gold Executive Director, Judy Sinner of Dynamite Specialty is going to be joining Reach Out to Horses’ own Anna Twinney as they share the secrets to optimal health and what a powerful impact Dynamite can have on your companion.

Judy is a virtual fountain of knowledge when it comes to health, nutrition, and supplementation and you will have access to her for an entire 2 hours for the low, low cost of… FREE!

read more…

Photo by Sharon Mohan
Deepening Your Connection
with All Animals Through
Telepathic Communication

December 18th, 2014 6 – 8pm

Create a Deeper Connection Through Your Animal Communication!
It’s that time of year again, the holiday season, when everyone is enjoying the festivities, wrapping the presents and showing their truly generous side. And for us, there’s no greater joy than sharing the magical and powerful art of Animal Communication.

Especially when we get to give it away for FREE!

Whether you are a veteran Animal Communicator or just starting out, don’t miss this chance to explore just how deep you can go with your inherent gifts as an Animal Communicator.

The Impact of over-handling foals and support in rearing mine

ROTH – Horse Psychology Project
By Clea G Hall

During the ROTH Foundation Course Week One at Zuma’s, Anna had me work with Fitz, a gelding mustang 5 years old, for TLC, and Justice, a 6 year old gelding, in the obstacle course (along with Zoey, a schoolmaster mare, and Matson) Both of the young geldings were born and raised at the rescue. With somewhat similar personalities, they’ve been labeled as overhandled, desensitized, and therefore horses that only staff or advanced horse people can work with.

My experience with each of them was differeFoals52nt, though both seemed to test my boundaries and ability to follow through and commit in ways that I may not have understood without Anna’s guidance and support. Both of these young horses have a playful, humorous demeanor to them, which can get frustrating the longer you’re working with them. They can encroach on one’s personal space, be mouthy, bite, lean into you (which I learned is considered body slamming) and could be considered stubborn. When I was working with them, and they stopped and literally stared at me I found myself smiling, and I watched others working with each of them do the same. I observed myself going back and forth from being serious and focused, to smiling and unsure, as I learned how to work with each individual.

I wanted to learn more about them, their history, how they came to be “over-handled and desensitized,” and to have a better understanding of what those terms mean, largely in part because I am rearing foals of my own. I trust that these beautiful horses are my teachers, and that it was no accident that Anna paired me with each of them.

I currently have four foals: Storm was born at our home to Mesa, his mom, a Placitas Mustang. He’s 7 months old and starting to wean. Orion is probably about the same age. He was a feedlot foal, that was separated from his mother when she went to slaughter, and was rescued by ROTH for the foal gentling clinic in Colorado. He’s currently with my 3 year old mustang gelding, Friendly, and my 5 year old rescued Arabian mix Jordan. Storm joins them to get away from the girls, and be one of the boys, which is how he’s weaning himself, daily. I also have two younger foals. Traveller is almost 3 months old. He is a half orphan. He never was able to nurse, though his mom Eva, also a mustang, did not reject him completely; she’s fulfilling her motherly duties, minus nursing. I provide the milk and feedings for him and Aster, a three and a half month old filly. Her mustang mom died when she was 3 weeks old, leaving her with the rest of the band, who cared for her, but could not provide milk. We had to separate and trailer her to my house to ensure her optimal nutrition. She’s been taken in by Eva, Traveller’s mom, and her yearling filly Frida, which is great! I also have two more mares that I’m pretty sure are pregnant. I want to do right by them, and I am learning as I go. Any useful information to help me raise them is helpful. Fitz and Justice, are teachers for me in numerous ways. They taught me about myself through working with them directly, and I believe their stories along with Jodi’s knowledge gained from raising them, can help me decrease the chances of over-handling and desensitizing my foals.

I spoke with Jodi at Zuma’s to learn more, and did some research online to help gather additional information, to have more clarity and a conscious awareness of how horses come to be over-handled and or desensitized. I’ve been seeking advice and insight regarding things I should and should not do with the foals I’m rearing. I also want to identify what I’ve possibly already done “wrong” and “right”, which will help me as I move forward. Although each individual is different, I do think knowledge is power and that I can utilize universal boundaries and guidelines to set us all up for success.

Lets get to know Justice and Fitz a little better through Jodi, the owner of Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, where both of these geldings were born and now call home. Justice’s mom Liberty, who also still lives at Zuma’s, originally came from a breeder and was headed to slaughter. She was feral, and had been untouched living on 400 acres. Though she’s not a mustang, she is a registered APHA, with top blood lines. Liberty was one of the reasons Anna was brought in to help, and the ROTH methods were first introduced at Zuma’s.

Justice had a natural delivery, free from problems, as did Fitz. They were both gelded at about 6 months and weaned at about 8 months. They were halter trained and moved away from their moms, though still in sight of them to start. I was curious about the reasoning behind separating them. Jodi explains, “in my heart I’d love to let them stay together, as a family. But because we are a rescue, and our intent is to adopt them out, I feel we have to separate them so that they do not get overly bonded to their moms or to one herd.” That way moving locations and having new herds is not as hard for them.

Jodi recalls that Justice has always been high strung, with a lot of energy, and very pushy and strong-willed. “He came out pissing vinegar,” she says. He had a sponsor who was working with a trainer at Zuma’s and purportedly practiced the Roth Methods. Unfortunately, they were somewhat fearful and over using training tools. Katie had to step in because Justice was too
much for them. “The overly sensitized horses don’t go back to being beginner horses.” said Jodi.  As a result, Justice will always be a horse only to be handled by intermediate to advanced people. They found Justice picking a volunteer up by the shirt collar one day. This was sometime after he’d been in the arena with a “dummy,” which he picked up and shook — behavior that may appear funny initially, but quickly becomes dangerous when it is repeated with a real person.

Fitz’s mom is a mustang named Ella. She came from the BLM with a colt at foot. Zuma’s sent her off to a trainer in Nebraska, who ended up having 200 horses starve to death. Thankfully she came back to them, although this time pregnant. Ella suffered and survived a round up, and near starvation. She gave birth to Fitz at Zuma’s, with no problems. Jodi had a halter on him in the first few days so that he’d get used to it being put on and taken off. They followed up with gelding, weaning and separating him from his mom (due to the reasoning explained above with regard to Justice). After he was separated from his mom he was placed with an older gelding named Ziggy, who is a good teacher for young ones. Another horse would be Kelvin, or the “schoolmaster mare” Zoey. The young horses are placed with other horses who are “fair leaders”.  They can still be playful, but are not placed with other “young punks”. This way they are schooled, and positively educated by their companions.

The same trainer who worked with Justice also worked with Fitz and a volunteer assisted him. They unfortunately flooded the horse, by doing too much for too long. Says Jodi, “the training was age appropriate, it was just done by unskilled, over zealous people.” With Jodi and Katy having so much to do and not being able to be every where at once, it was not obvious to them until later. The damage had already been done. Consequently, Fitz will not move off pressure, and has no sense of boundaries with personal space. He is great under saddle, though he can get bored and bolt. Like Justice, he is not a beginner’s horse. He is only allowed to be handled by staff or advanced horse people. He can not receive any programming without a trainer or instructor. Because he is “desensitized”, it is effective to employ a noise maker — made out of a can filled with rice and beans — while working with him, if needed.

I’ve heard the term “over-handled” numerous times in the ROTH courses I’ve taken this year. It sparked my interest and concern during the Foal Gentling clinic. I found myself thinking, “What exactly does that mean?” “Have I done it?” “How do I prevent it?” “What do I need to know NOW?!” At that time, I had 2 weanlings, whom I had since they were foals, and Storm who was 5 months old then. His mom and band of mares are raising him, but I’ve been helping and interacting with them daily. I wanted to know more. People have different beliefs and practices, but I deeply trust and appreciate Anna’s know-how, experience, and insight into anything horse related.

We can go back to the moments immediately after a foal is born, and explore imprinting. I’d researched it a little before Storm was born, and I did some with him hours after his birth. I was grateful, and somewhat surprised that even though his mom was, for the most part, untouched, she let me touch him all over, getting him used to me and creating a bond between us so soon. I was mindful not to interrupt their bond in the process. The subject of Imprinting could be an entire psychology paper on its own, which is not my focus. It is important, however, to acknowledge that some people believe it can be the beginning of over-handling if overdone. Though others would disagree and encourage it. I think the affects depends on the person and the motivating intent.

Foals28From what I understand, it is important to gentle a foal like we do in the ROTH Foal Gentling clinic, at some point in the foal’s first year. Gentling tactics might include touching the horse, getting a halter on, leading, desensitizing them to things like towels, blankets, etc., as well as working with their feet, with ropes for farrier prep, loading them into a trailer, etc. This is all essential and will continue to benefit the foal if done right. The foal that I adopted from the clinic, Orion, is a great example. We did all of those techniques in one week, and it’s very cool to see how it has positively affected him, even though I’m not repeating the training or exercises. If I go to halter and lead him, he is comfortable, confident and not fearful — though getting him in the trailer with greater ease could use some work. After the initial gentling/training, Anna’s advice is to let him or her “just be a foal” with other horses, without insisting upon or persisting with continued training. They are babies, and their brains need rest and  renewal. When we work with them in the clinic the sessions are short and they get plenty of breaks, to avoid burnout or becoming overwhelmed. After all, too much training too young can cause them to be over-handled and desensitized!

If foals are treated like babies without appropriate boundaries and have too much, or inappropriate handling, similar issues can arise. I realized this Early on with Storm. He was just born, a brand new baby foal, so small and cute. My initial approach was to get down at his level on the ground to visit. I soon found that his response was to investigate and play with me, in part by wanting to climb on me. It was sweet and cute at first , but I soon found myself realizing, that it’s not going to be so cute when he’s any bigger, and they grow fast! The way I remedied that was to stay standing tall, and to not invite, encourage or allow him to climb on me, chase me, rear up, or kick. These are all things that he experimented with when he was still quite small, but today at 7 months he does not do. One thing he does do however, is try to nip or bite — he’s a bit mouthy. What is the best way to address that? I have tried extinction, stepping back and claiming my space, as well as turning it into TLC when he starts. Instead of reprimanding him, I cup his chin in my hand and explore his front gums with my fingers. This is usually at liberty, without a halter. I’m open to feedback about that. I’m not sure if that would be advised or not.

I approached Anna and expressed my confusion and concern about over-handling my foal Storm, since we interact daily. The following was her advice: “If he is with other horses who are schooling him that is essential, and if you’re treating him like a horse and not a baby he should be fine.” I have yet to go through everything we do in the foal gentling clinic with him. I did start
haltering him young, to get him used to it, and introduced the horseman’s rope, some leading, etc. But I think it would be good to follow through, with Orion as my example, and introduce him to a towel, a blanket, the ropes on his legs, farrier prep, and trailering. That’s my goal with him.My concern was that because we have limited land and are co-existing, my day-to-day handling, petting, etc. could be in excess and considered over handling. But from what I understand it is ok, if done right — with clarity and boundaries. It’s the continuous training, and use of tools too much and too soon that can cause over-handling and desensitization to a foal who can consequently grow into a weanling/yearling with behavioral issues.

One example would be Fitz. After Greg and I had the chance to work with him during spook-busting, more questions and greater clarification around the issue of over-handling arose.  Anna said that “it creates behavioral issues that can stay with a horse for life. Due to basically being handled incorrectly. The behavior can be modified but not changed. It becomes part of the horse’s nature.” For example, we both experienced biting with Fitz. If he grows bored, which he does easily, he will revert to it, a learned behavior pattern. During TLC with Fitz, I had to continuously correct his head so that he was not leaning into me, body slamming, and when he was mouthy, biting the dually, etc., I had to repeatedly address it by using the line, with a quick pull on the dually. I had to continue to do this while leading him at a walk and at a trot. Greg used similar tactics while spook-busing with a parachute on his back. We were multi-tasking while staying in the present and remaining attentive to him so that no one got hurt. We did not want to encourage his learned behavior of biting or body slamming, because if we did, it makes it that much harder for the other people working with him. We did our best, and always ended on a positive note.

What tools and remedies are being used for Justice and Fitz, who are already over-handled? Is there hope for them? And what can I do moving forward with my foals to avoid over-handling them and ensure that I’m rearing them in the best way possible? First and foremost, yes there is hope! One approach to address Fitz’s and Justice’s less than ideal learned behaviors is extinction — meaning ignore the behavior, and focus on moving forward with something else, versus encouraging it or punishing them for it. Having the knowledge and awareness of who they are and the behavioral issues they possess is essential. The key is to not let anyone inexperienced or unaware work with them, because addressing these issues incorrectly (or not addressing them at all) could ultimately reinforce the behavior, or make it worse. Jodi believes that, “every interaction with any horse is either training or un training.” This includes day-to-day activities like feeding, shoveling manure, being in the paddocks with them, catching, haltering, and leading them. What she learned, partly from what happened with Justice and Fitz, is that every volunteer has to undergo training in order to work with the horses at her rescue. It’s best for everyone. Therefore, they are training and educating the people to work with, handle, and train their horses.

I feel that I still need to clarify the distinction between the training techniques that lead to “desensitizing” a horse, and the ROTH training methods we employ. For example, we practice: being able to put one finger in each of the horse’s ears at the same time during TLC; which can be called desensitized, in a good way. We introduce new objects like towels, blankets and ropes when gentling a foal or mustang as a way to desensitize them; we move through oil, with a slow yet not creepy approach; we use pressure and release to allow them to feel the objects on their bodies (then they can get used to them with minimal fear and anxiety). This is all in contrast to “desensitizing,” or flooding a horse. Where, the training is overdone, or done in a way that is not
good for the horse. It consequently impacts them in a negative way, to where they no longer move off pressure, or respond to visualize, energize, body language or even the line. One example would be how Justice acted with us in the obstacle course. I was doing everything I could think of to ask him to move on forward: seeing it, asking for it, eyes on eyes, stomping my feet, waving my arms, jumping up and down, swinging and smacking myself with the line, and throwing it at him. His response: standing there, watching me, nibbling on a fly mask hanging from the panel. Proof that he’s “desensitized”, and not in a good way.

One of the keys with foals and horses is establishing boundaries. This sets them up for success as they learn and grow. An example would be to not to allow them to lean into people.  They need to balance themselves on all four legs. We experienced this with Fawn in the foal clinic. She was the smallest of them all, super sweet, pot-bellied, and innocent. She also seemed to be not completely in her body. Fawn would walk over to us, ever so gently, somewhat sadly, and lean her body into our legs or shoulder if we were down at her level. Anna had to keep reminding us, “She’s not allowed to do that. She has to balance herself.” This can escalate or turn into “body slamming” when they are bigger, for which they will be reprimanded or punished depending on the person/trainer addressing the learned behavior. When working with foals it helps to take into consideration, if what they are doing would be acceptable for a grown horse to do. If not then it should not be ok for them as foals. Everything they learn as foals carries over to how they interact as full grown horses.

Fitz and Justice may have been “over handled” and are now “desensitized”, which is unfortunate. Yet they are still great teachers simply because of who they are. Jodi and Katie learned a lot from their experience raising these guys from foals: the pros and cons of having help, how to ensure the quality of their help, and how it affects their horses. They are all, to this
day, teaching others by example and reflection about the do’s and don’ts of raising foals and using volunteers and trainers.

Fitz and Justice seem to be happy horses for the most part. One of the remedies that Anna mentioned is to keep moving them forward so they don’t get bored. People have to be creative and forward-thinking. One of Jodi’s remedies is to have a clear goal or intention upon entering a paddock or a lesson with all of her horses. She also has a back up plan so that if she does not
achieve her primary goal successfully, she will follow through with the backup. The key is to make a contract and end the interaction on a successful note, because they feel our failures.

A cool exercise to use as a backup could be going in like Anna did with Fitz and Atticus, and communicating with the horses, using their language, practicing visualize, energize body language and telepathy — having a conscious two-way conversation with the two horses, and asking Fitz to respect her boundaries and give her space and time with the other horse. That is
significant in working with Fitz and moving forward with him. Another positive tool can be a simple day-to-day exercise like I did with Justice and his other paddock mate. As the sun set, Anna said, “ok — who wants to practice boundaries? Clea, you have none, you go.” I had to go in with a bucket of mash and set a boundary, claiming my personal space with the two horses. I had
to be clear and confident in their space, with food in hand, and not feed them until I felt safe. I did it, with clarity and ease, and the exercise was beneficial for each of us.

In conclusion, all of the exercises we enacted and the interactions we had with the horses at Zuma’s were important and had a positive impact on me as I continue to learn and grow as a horse woman. Personally, Fitz and Justice were great teachers as they each, in their own way, served as a mirror that reflected back to me — lessons that were ready to be brought to my attention for greater examination. They taught me that setting boundaries, committing, and following through are areas in my life where I may waver, yet Anna reminded me that I have what it takes, and Zoey the sweet mare signified that I am not alone. I intend to bring these lessons full circle, at home with my foals, as I explore what I have done thus far and what I have learned. I’m ready to clarify what I want to do by setting realistic goals for myself and with my horses. Trusting that I am enough now, and also honoring my timing. With increased Clarity and Confidence, it is in working with the horses that I learn about myself. With greater awareness I believe I am setting us all up for success.

Published in: on December 10, 2014 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Monty Robert’s student incorporates ROTH methodologies in Italy – a daily diary account of foal gentling

UNTOUCHED MAREMMA-WEANLINGS

30.10.-04.11.2014
at “Allevamento del Talozzo” (Arezzo,Italy)

Let me introduce myself: My name is Miriam van Santen, I was born in the Netherlands and live in Hamburg, Germany. I’m an advanced student of Monty Roberts, have studied his concepts since 1997. Every summer my family and I spend our vacation at the facility for Maremma-horses of friends in Tuscany.

Those friends and I share a passion for horses, in the course of the years our directions of view concerning horsemanship have grown towards each other.  My influence and their traditional approach have been a successful ground for growth on both sides.  Father and daughter have supported all my attempts to learn and to share it with them and their horses.

For the last three years I have been invited to come to their home after the foals have been weaned. The first two years I put in practice my knowledge of using a chute to make the first physical contact with these youngsters. We had nice results, some good leading and some picking up of feet. All were content with the outcome…

….and then I came upon the videos of Anna Twinney, her untouched foals gave me so much to re-consider! So I suggested we try this method, as far as it’s technically possible at their farm.  Below you find my day-to-day journal of this wonderful week in October 2014.

Before my arrival the weanlings had two weeks to settle in after being separated from their mothers at the other farm of the same owners, high up in the Apennine hills.  These weanlings hardly even see a human being, there’s one man checking on them and the water daily, for the rest they are growing up quite wild.

The facility where we worked with them is next to the owners home, still on a hillside, so they have upper and lower paddocks. The upper paddock is connected to the stable, so we used that one for our daily work. The lower paddocks have a chute nearby, we had to use the chute for one colt only.  All others were comfortable with learning to be touched in their stalls.

IMG_1873

DAY 1: Morning-session

Circe : One and a half year old filly, that I have been working with last year, helped as a leader in our small herd with 2 weanling. The farmhand Maurizio had some problems with leading her, she had kicked his elbow when she reared. So we started the day with a lesson in leading, backing-up, leading with purpose.

Then we separated the group in three stalls, let them find hay and water there and settle in.

Doge : After his settling in the box, I entered and waited until he relaxed and started eating again, left him.  Next time in, I brought a chair and sat down with no agenda.  He slowly approached and tried my boot, smelled my clothes and breath, left him.

Dardo : After settling in his box, when he was eating his hay, I went in and he continued eating, left him.  Next time I brought a chair. When I sat there he bumped his head at the drinker, he settled quickly, my breathing helped. There was no approach from his side, I might bring a bowl with hay next visit.  He was not tense with me in his box.

Afternoon-session

Doge was very tense before my entering, because of flies and mosquitoes.  I sat down with him again, when he relaxed I got on my feet and made movements like stroking him in the air. Later I took a stick and made the same movements, succeeded in touching his shoulder and left him.  Next time I could stroke his nose with the stick. could move towards the shoulder.
His neck was tense, then it was better, and as he begin to like it, I left him.

Dardo I could stroke with the stick at the nose immediately, so I moved on quite soon to the neck and the shoulder.   Next time I shortened the stick, so I could stroke him with the back of my hand.  After sundown we let all 3 return to their paddock for the night, it was a better move than in the morning.

DAY 2: Morning-sessionIMG_1883
After mucking out the stalls and preparing them with straw, hay and water, we herded the foals into their stalls and let them settle in.  Then we did a great job herding, separating and putting into the chute two weanlings that were sold. The new owner came to pick them up, we herded them towards the stall where the ramp of the trailer was. Smooth herding-in and off they went. Happy new life!

Our filly and two colts were already settled in their stalls after spending the night together in their big paddock.

Doge : I returned a moment to touching him with a stick, then I could come in with my hand.  He kept coming in with his head, so I could offer him my second hand. This way the step towards using two hands was very natural.  To make sure he doesn’t freeze in place, I build in some moving forward and blocking, which he did very well.  Touching the cheek was good, the nose somewhat hesitant, no extreme reaction, just not comfortable. Covering the eye was good, massaging under the eye was tolerated, not more.  Lots of approach and retreat. He shows me where I can go and where it’s still “no go”.

Dardo : He hadn’t touched his hay, so I moved it to another angle of the stall, there he appreciated it better. So eating was still an item.  To show him that this is a lesson, I invited him to put his head up a couple of times, which worked very well. I kept things short, could touch his shoulder with the stick, then with my hand and added the second hand moving it along the first arm.  We did some moving and blocking, so that I could place him in a good, safe spot and then lift him to his hay.

Circe : A short session of haltering in the stall. invite to come forward and go backwards, so she’ll place her feet where they’re asked to go.  She tends to show some signs of resistance, short corrections are enough to keep her with me.  She’s had a shoulder-injury, which was cured for some weeks, so I think she was a little spoiled.  She needs a task and someone who knows how to correct her little vices.  Hormones involved? Beautiful filly!!

Afternoon-session
Returned to my two colts, touching them with my hands, then with the horseman’s rope, put it on their neck and invited one step in both directions.  There was no great reaction when I first left the rope dangling, so we could continue.  It’s nice to have more than one foal, so I can let the lesson sink in and come back later!  A simple plastic brush went well with both, they accepted it well, the neck was less easy at first, slow firm strokes were best.
Then I moved on to introducing a halter, getting them accustomed to the touch and the sound of metal. I could put it around the neck and invite the nose in.  With Doge there was a reaction at first, later he accepted the feel of the halter around the nose.
Repeated the nose-in several times, then left him.  We transferred the last 2 weanlings from downhill to the uphill-paddock, which went smooth and well.

Names: Dittatore and Drappo.

So now our paddock is filled with 4 weanling colts and 1 yearling filly, five beautiful youngsters!!  Some hacking-order-issues, then all ate from the same pile of hay… Goodnight!!

IMG_1877DAY 3:

Separated the herd in 5 box-stalls, Drappo turned out to be a filly called Divina!!  I sat down with her and DIttatore , huge difference in character…  She settled in nicely, was curious and came to smell me almost right away.  He was in flight-mode for quite some time, turning his bum towards me. After some short lessons he understood, that I leave him in peace, when he has his head towards me. Some herding in the stall, so he knows he’s supposed to at least look in my direction.

I used a stick to direct him, to stay safe. He’s the youngest and biggest of the weanlings, this line of breed is less available when less high in blood. Originally the Maremma breed was bred for heavy work in the mountains and cow-work, nowadays more hunter-jumper type. You can see the difference from their appearance.

Dardo was the hero of the morning, I could put a halter on him and leave it for the rest of the morning, coming in regularly to do some small leading-exercises. At the end of the morning I could come in and take the halter off like he was an adult horse!!

Doge had some drawbacks, like I’ve seen yesterday as well. We proceeded with grooming and trying to put a halter on, this will take some time and patience…

It’s wonderful to have Circe around, she has her rest in the box, since she’s the lead mare during the night. She loves to be groomed and do some disengaging-exercises and to be able to eat her hay in peace. I’d love to do some leading with Monty Roberts’ Dually-halter with her, but only when I’m not alone in he stable. It might work out this afternoon.

Provided water and hay for all – lunch break!

Afternoon-session

Started with cleaning the paddock, fresh hay and water to all.

Dittatore ,picked up where we left off, having him with his head towards me and moving in a safe place, some touching with a stick, not yet with my hand. Seems a little bit less tense…

Divina I could touch right away, she’s at the door when I stop at her stall, very engaged. Brought a brush, could stroke her, left it at that.

Dardo : One more time I put the halter on, pulled the rope through the ring and invited him one step towards me. Worked very well. Some disengaging the back-end and then more than one step, following the rope.  Still hesitant on the off-side, blocks at first, then opens up.  No problem taking the halter off and putting it on again.

Doge : Olivia (the horse-owner) came to put the halter on, which was quite a long story, but in the end she managed to put it on twice (over the ears, not opening the top-strap).  We’ll have to work on that some more, still he’s not tense, just “no-go” around the nose.  Fed the paddock and released the foals into the sunset. Sleep well!!

DAY 4: Morning-sessionIMG_1904

It’s Sunday, so I started my day with mucking out our box-stalls, Danilo (Olivia’s father and stableowner) provided hay and water, then we divided the foals in their stalls. There was some excitement…

Dardo settled in quite quickly, so I started with haltering him and doing some exercises in his stall.  Haltering is no item, for the first time I use a normal lead rope with a heavy clip.  Later we did some disengaging of the back-end and decided to invite him for walk in the stable.  Stepping over the gutter was not easy, so we put some straw in it. Walking in a straight line is still difficult, I asked Olivia to walk behind him, it went somewhat better, but there is still a lot to learn…

Today I asked for the red Dually-halter, it was found wet in the trailer, so now it’s drying in the autumn-sun. We might be able to use it this afternoon, if not, then tomorrow.

Divina had her first rope, later her first halter on, some steps following an invite.  Touching her is no problem, ears at the beginning, then she desensitized quickly.  What a treat, this filly!!

Doge : Olivia came back for more haltering, after yesterday’s session. She tried to put the halter over the ears, which was still more difficult for him. We went back to using a rope, then opening the halter and putting it on. It’s still an item for him, but he seems more relaxed allover.

Dittatore , still very tense, at least he learned to face the handler, instead of turning his backhand to us. I succeeded in touching his shoulder 3 times in a row, then left him.  Before me, Olivia went in with him and I saw an enormous difference in his stress-level, with her his eye was softer, more relaxed muscles and mouth. It’s great to see this difference!!  She was afraid to touch him, maybe it works next time…

Provided hay for our break, cleaned the paddock and: lunchtime, well deserved!!

Afternoon-session

Monty’s Dually was dry enough from the sun, so I could work with it, what a wonderful tool it is!!

Dardo accepted pressure from the Dually very well, he had already learned to give to pressure from a normal halter. He did some good following, disengaging and backing-up from the Dually.  I made it a short session, just to continue our work from this morning.  Started to let my hand slide along his forelegs, all good.

Then I went to Circe with the Dually. Since she tends to rear, I was very careful to keep her attention and to correct her quickly before she gets thoughts of her own…  She did very well in all 4 directions; disengaging the hind-end and backing up keep her attention with me .

Divina was divine… she’s learning so quickly! I let her wear the halter for some time, invited her to come off pressure, follow the rope. I put the halter on/ off several times, came back to it later, could go straight to the halter, hand on the shoulder and did some neck-yields. She’s interested and relaxed.

Doge : I managed to have several short sessions of haltering, he tends to put his head up, so I kept it up, then he lowered it. Then he tries to turn is head away, all the way around, so I opened the halter even bigger. This way I could put the halter on maybe 20 times, still he tries to avoid it at any new start. It’s no problem taking it off and then putting it right on again, but when it’s a fresh start it’s difficult at first. With time it’ll fall in place!!

Now to Dittatore : Olivia and I decided to go back to the chute with him, he’s not improving in a stall, even if until now there was never a dangerous situation, he’s the youngest and the biggest, we’ll give him another approach.  Olivia can continue this work with Fabio after my departure, a friend that helps out quite a lot.  There’s no hurry, important is that Dittatore has the start he can handle. He’s the “wildest”of them all, we’ll give him a chance to show his reactions without risking our safety and his.  What a relief for all, most of all for the colt! Good thing we have the chute available…

This was an easy afternoon, also because I had already cleaned the paddock this morning.  With the lights on we released the foals one by one, so they could find their way to the paddock and each other’s company. The moon lighted them after we switched off the floodlight.

Buona notte!

DAY 5: Morning-session

We started the day with putting all foals into their stalls, then we took Circe and Dittatore downhill to another paddock, so that we can have him in the chute tomorrow.  We could have used more hands to herd them, but we managed in the end to have them safe and relaxed in their new environment.

So now we have Divina, Dardo and Doge in the stable.  Today I started with touching legs, after grooming all with the plastic brush. I had the Dually on Divina and Dardo with the long lead rope, so they can get used to the weight.  When I first touched Divina’s foreleg, she tried to “bite”. I ignored that, but then I kept her head away from me, it didn’t occur again.  Dardo was good at having his legs touched, I even moved towards the hind legs. No picking-up feet yet, but he’s OK with my hand sliding down. I prefer having a second person holding them, when I start picking up feet.  Those two youngsters are engaged and curious, I might move on to putting a saddle pad on, to prepare them for eventually something on their back later in life.

With Doge I continued haltering, he’s still quite tense, even when nobody’s in the stall with him.  I put the horseman’s rope through the billet of the halter, as Danilo suggested, so I could swing the halter around the nose. Still some struggle, but never any danger. He just tries to avoid having his nose in… Once it’s on, there’s no problem playing with almost off and on again.

Hay and water for lunch, I went to Arezzo!

The day started cold with fog, the sun came out and we still have another warm autumn day, one of the last ones!

Afternoon-session

Went in to groom all 3 with a soft brush after the plastic one. With the soft brush I could also do foreheads and noses. All liked it!!

Then I came back to Doge with my soft lead rope, made a long loop and let it slide down his face, caught! I could turn his head towards me and put the halter on… did this many times.  Now for the first time he let me stand in front of him and rub his forehead, go down towards the nose, after some resistance he turned out to like it, soft eyes and no trying to get away.
Even when something fell from the roof, he startled a little and relaxed again immediately.  We might have found the right button to push…it’ll show tomorrow.

The 3 weanlings left uphill seem to have found their routine, they know that at sunset they’ll be outside together, they start calling each other and waiting at the door.  Off they went calmly, waiting for each other and happy to find their space and hay for the night.

IMG_1895DAY 6: Morning-session

After herding the three foals to their stalls, Olivia and I went to those two downhill, to work with Dittatore in the chute. We had Circe entering first, so she gave him some security, and let them settle in for a moment. He kept his head down, trying to make himself invisible with us around.  Olivia started touching his shoulder, moving quite quickly towards the neck and head. He dealt with it very well.  So we put the horseman’s rope around the neck to be able to guide the head and then introduced the halter. She let it dangle around the neck first, then with a good swing had it on.  We let him digest it and then repeated the procedure twice. Having the halter on, she touched him at the shoulder, at the croup and then we released the two into their muddy paddock, which is very slippery after last night’s and this morning’s rain. Fortunately the sun came out to dry it all.

Up we went for our three weanlings.  I started with Doge , putting my soft lead rope around his neck and head, like I did yesterday and without much discussion I could put the normal halter on.  Had him relax with it and invited some steps toward me and some disengaging. That was his lesson for the morning.  We went to Divina, who gave us a hard time, being excited with two people around. She was quite defensive, Olivia had some trouble not having her turn her bum towards her.  She put the halter in, it was not easy to handle her. I took over, made her take some disciplined steps, following my movements and we left it at that.

Our little star Dardo made our morning, after some small exercises in the stall, we invited him into the stable, which went much better than last time. He learned to step over the gutter, follow steady walk up and down the aisle, even if Divina went crazy in her stall! She thought we would leave her behind… Peace returned as Dardo went back to his stall for lunch-break. Accelerated learning!!

Afternoon-session

All three had the Dually-halter on, all came off of pressure, one better one less good, but the principles are there.

I had Dardo come out of his box-stall once more, followed me and the halter perfectly, was very sensitive at going backwards. He hesitated going back into his stall, since time was almost due to go to the paddock. With the presence of Maurizio behind him, it worked out fine.

I was done for the day, so I decided to let them go somewhat earlier…Just at the moment their gate closed, Olivia came to ask me if we could separate Divina, ad herd her downhill to Circe and Dittatore! Olivia wants to start with two weanlings and then switch to one or two others.

So we had Dardo and Divina back into the stalls, only to let Dardo return to Doge in the paddock.  Then Divina was herded fine halfway the drive, until Circe and Dittatore came to meet us! They had escaped…

Circe looks for all possibilities to just be smart, so we had some work to have them enter the downhill paddock again, this time the three of them!

It’s a great feeling to know that this week I made the difference to these weanlings, let them have a happy winter- we’ll meet again next summer, as far as they’re not sold…..

IMG_1917

Published in: on December 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Opportunities for EFL: Creating a foundation for myself, horses, and clients as an equine learning facilitator

Horse Psychology Project
Reach Out to Horses
Holistic Horsemanship Comprehensive Program Part I

Kathy Wallace
November 28, 2014

Introduction

This paper explores some of the lessons that surfaced during HHC, at Zuma’s Horse Rescue in Littleton, Colorado, and how they can support and bring about continued growth as an equine learning facilitator. The learning opportunities I found with these horses created a safe space for me to recognize awareness, body language, intent, energy, telepathy, relationship, what words I used, and any challenges experienced by the horses. What I received from working with Fancy, Dan, and the Tribal Yearlings begins to create the foundations for a relationship and connection with myself, with the horse, and with a client.

The horses I used live at Zuma’s Horse Rescue:

Fancy   Quarter Horse Mare age 35
Dan      Quarter Horse Gelding age 5
Tribal Yearlings  approximately 8 months or more in age

Events, location, and time of day:

Fancy – TLC in the arena – pm, Walk on the property in the morning, Afternoon in the paddocks, and Spook Busting in arena – pm
Dan – Round Pen in the arena, late in the day
Tribal Yearlings – Approach and Hello in their paddock, early afternoon

The events, location, time of day, student, and horse will be used to observe awareness (self and horse), body language, intent, energy, telepathy, relationship, the words I used, and any issues for each horse.

Fancy

Fancy was my allocated horse for the week as well as the horse I used in TLC and Spook Busting. I met Fancy on the first evening of the program when I went to her paddock with a halter and lead to bring her to the arena for TLC. In my mind I understood TLC as the beginning connection to earn trust, understand challenging behavior, and relaxation. It was just getting dark as I led Fancy from her paddock and she came willingly, however by the time I entered the arena she was shoving her head into me and swinging her body at me. When Anna asked us what we thought of our horses, I said “she is a bully and aggressive.”

Fancy was fearful and anxious in the arena. Initially when I brought her closer to the group of horses the more anxious she became. I kept her at the far end of the arena and walked her. Elaine helped me to feel into my own anxiety and fear as I stood next to Fancy. Fancy mirrored my feelings and felt my body language – I was not aligned with her. As I relaxed, took deep breaths, walked with a slower, stronger step, and put myself in a safe place with Fancy she started to relax. She was curious around the pile of shavings so I stopped to let her smell them, and eventually she stopped to look at the horses at the other end of the arena. Fancy is smart, kind, quite agile for 35, and gave me a try when I asked her. Fancy felt the words I used to describe her in the beginning, and her actions with me reflected them back to me. When I felt her wisdom, the body full of life, and a willingness to try she slowed down, and walked with me. I had to earn her trust.

I do not know Fancy’s history other than she came to Zuma’s three years ago after a bad divorce. She was not comfortable in the arena and anxious to leave when we turned towards the gate. It was dark when I took her back to her paddock where she tried to jerk her head out of the halter when I tried to remove it. Elaine helped me understand it was not acceptable so I held onto the halter until she was calm and then removed it. I thanked her for being calm but I missed the hay waiting for her when I brought her into the paddock. It was dark but I knew I took her into the arena before her dinnertime.   Perhaps I could have supported her more by remembering her hay was there and turned her away from it to remove the halter instead of facing her towards the hay.

Walking Fancy around the property on Day 4 for 25 minutes created a new dynamic for me and for her. I hand walked her and allowed her graze as we walked. At the beginning her lips were tight, heavy breath, flared her nostrils a bit, and showed some of the whites in her eyes. As I walked her down the road towards the gate her lips began to soften and her breathing slowed. When we got close to Kennedy she started turning her head to look directly at this paddock and continued to look until we turned towards the outdoor arena. She also turned her head to look into the paddocks in front of the outdoor arena. Perhaps her vision is a challenge and I also noticed her hind legs do not have normal movement, not sure why. Fancy heard a car come up the drive way as we walked on the other side of the outdoor arena. Her head went up; she started blowing, and swung around towards the noise. I brought my energy into my feet, kept breathing, did not hold her too tight, gave her time to bring her head down, and stop blowing. I kept my energy down and quietly asked her to do the same. We continued our walk down past Atticus and on over past Kalvin, letting her graze as we walked. She did not want to go back into her paddock, she side stepped the gate to graze on the grass. I gave her a few minutes and asked her to come with me, and she did. There were no problems removing the halter, she let me remove without moving her head. She stood with me, and followed me around her paddock. After I thanked her for the walk and rubbed her withers she walked away.

At the end of the day I spoke with Jodi about Fancy and found out her pasture mate, Cookie, is recovering from surgery in the barn. Jodi also told me very few have been able to quietly hand walk Fancy. I had no expectations for my walk with Fancy and it was a great walk. On Day 5 I spent 20 minutes with Fancy as we walked the paddocks in the early afternoon, she let me touch and rub her. When she was done, she walked away. Fancy is alone in her paddock, now I know why I felt she was lonely.

Fancy was great when we painted her with the parachute and laid it across her back and head in Spook Busting on Day 5. She even walked toward the group with the parachute on, a big step for her. Fancy was far less curious about the other horses this time, yet she was still anxious being in the arena. As I walked her at the end of the arena I focused on being grounded and being less anxious as she shoved her head into me – using the line to move her head away and not my arm. I asked for patience with myself and with Fancy. Fancy went to the shavings pile during TLC and again during Spook Busting – the shavings pile is her sweet spot in the arena, so we did the spook busting there. Becoming aware of what supported Fancy was the key to her relaxation (and mine) and her acceptance of the parachute.

Fancy and I shared the same feelings during TLC – anxiety and fear. When I stepped away from my fear so did Fancy.   I had no expectations for my walk with Fancy, and quietly met her with kindness, and respect. During Spook Busting my anxiety came up – “I want to do it right the first time” anxiety. It helped me when I thought about my walk with Fancy and brought those feelings into the arena with her – vision and intent. Now I felt the connection that earns trust, began to understand challenging behavior, and how to move into relaxation. In the heart not the mind…

Dan

Dan is a beautiful gelding with Uveitis. He spends his time in a stall during the brightest hours of the day, and then he is turned outside from dusk to dawn. His stall is dark which makes it difficult for Dan to adjust to the brightness of the aisle way and the arena, and on return the darkness of his stall. I did not pay attention to where I hooked the line to the dually, and put it on the side which applied pressure to Dan’s nose. With his Uveitis, pressure on the nose affects his eyes so he stood there and did not move. As soon as I realized where it was hooked, I put it under his chin and he walked out of the stall with me. Dan’s challenge is his eyes. Awareness of Dan’s challenges helped me understand what I needed to change to help him be comfortable, and trust me to lead him to and from the stall.

Dan is a very special – he is strong, confident, kind, willing, and very charming. I immediately found myself feeling relaxed and grounded with Dan. He stood quietly while we waited for our turn in the round pen with his head up taking in his surroundings. Dan was generous and forgiving with my less than smooth orientation and exploration of the vulnerable areas. So willing to listen and try, and when I removed his halter stayed with me after the session ended.

Hearing and telepathy were important to Dan. When the change in the cadence of my feet did not bring him down to a walk, adding the vision of the walk and sending it to him brought him to the walk. His eyes might be a challenge but he always knew where he was in the round pen.

Dan’s confidence and response helped me see myself more clearly. Dan showed me what confidence looks like and taught me to trust my abilities more – using my energy, telepathy, the eyes, attention to my body, and how I moved my feet. My energy with Dan felt more consistent and kind. Energy is important.

Tribal Yearlings

As I came to their paddock, I saw the yearlings (I think there were six of them) along the gate cleaning up all pieces of hay they could find. Calm and sweet. I slowly opened the gate to let them step back, walked into their paddock, and moved about 10 feet away from them. At first I stood with my legs and arms straight and tight. Anna reminded me to relax. When I shifted my body a chestnut yearling approached, I put out my hand to greet him and he touched it with his nose. After he greeted me I walked closer to the group – a head turned, another head came up, eyes made contact, horses moved, ears moved, and tails swished. While I was watching the group, the young chestnut came up to me again, but I was too quick to turn so I missed the try as he moved away. The young chestnut generously came to me again and I did not miss it the second time.

Approach and greeting might appear to be subtle, it is not. It taught me about my body language (stiff arms, shoulders, and legs), where I was in relation to the young horses, when my energy was acknowledged, awareness of the connection (raised head, eyes on me, ears moving, tail moving), and honesty when I missed the young chestnut’s try. Giving and receiving.

 Conclusion

To be honest, my experience at Bitterroot stopped me in my tracks and asked me to look at what blocks my confidence and self-trust. It also kicked the door open and shed light on what was missing in EFL and what it might take to shape EFL for me. I let the obstacle course and other exercises hang like a weight around my neck. Over the summer I made a conscious decision to use that experience as the energy to push me forward to see and feel the possibilities. I brought courage, determination, and enthusiasm to my HHC experience.

Spending time with Fancy, Dan, and the Tribal Yearlings allowed me to recognize the words used, the challenges experienced by the horses, body language, energy, and intention in relationship to the horses.

Fancy asked me to look at what holds me back, and what that looks like. If I am aware of this in myself, I can see and feel it in a client.

Clients will show me Dan’s blinking and insecurity moving when he moves in and out of the light. Dan also taught me what confidence and trust looks like….I am able to show them to the client.

Tribal Yearlings revealed my willingness to acknowledge what I missed and to open myself into breathing my energy to “see” the next try. How to see and feel the possibilities presented by a client.

Tribal Yearlings also showed me how little it takes to make a connection. Softly connect to a client.

Time spent with all of these beautiful horses showed me the skills I need to learn to evaluate a horse’s readiness for EFL.

I am much more aware of the horse’s behavior with me and understand how to find a two communication. Time will allow me to find a consistent two way communication with horses and work the client’s energy, body language, and vision.

Most of all I am learning patience, flexibility, and confidence which supports me, the horse, and the client.

The power of the relationship with horses has begun to shift my reality into the present and away from thinking into feeling. Without the increased awareness of myself and the horse, I cannot ask. These five days have taught me a better understanding of my energy, how to respond, and how to earn the right to ask and receive. Healing is taking place as this connection reveals my vulnerabilities and the lessons to be learned.

Coming into the space of horse-human relationships has begun to heal the heart, expand my energy, mirror my strengths, and fill with me with ease and grace.

Published in: on December 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Creating an Equine Barn Buddy Program

AnnaandKathy

Cathy Languerand is a ROTH Instructor who also is the Program Director at Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc.  This is a wonderful system that all equine facilities and programs with active volunteers can benefit from.

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Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc.
Bristol, Connecticut
December 2, 2014

The Barn Buddy Program connects an active volunteer who is familiar with the horses and has competent and independent horse handling skills with one of our therapy horses for a weekly commitment. During this time the volunteer will spend quality time with their barn buddy. This quality time will include grooming, using a refined healing touch, hand walking, ground work and play time ( depending on volunteer skill level).
These sessions are a commitment that goes on our daily schedule. I find that the horses are looking for touch, attention, and a special connection with a familiar person. This program builds a group of volunteers that want to commit to creating a special connection with an individual horse. This quality time will deepen their knowledge of their barn buddy’s individual likes and dislikes so that the horse’s individual needs are more completely nurtured.
During these activities the volunteers practice “mindfulness”. This “mindfulness” is a refinement of our communication skills with horses. It includes; asking permission before approaching or touching the horse, reading the horse’s acknowledgment, and thanking your horse in a way that he understands. This is accomplished through body language.
Mindfulness starts with assessing the environment and noticing safety hazards or anything causing the horse stress. Checking with the horse to see where he prefers to be groomed. Cross ties in an isle are not always the most comfortable place for the horse. Other factors might include leaving the herd, time of day, weather, and health of the horse. The volunteer will need information from the staff about the needs of their barn buddy. This information might include; is the horse on stall rest, any behavior issues at feeding time, prefers the company of another horse.
Touch can be refined in the following ways; by imitating mutual grooming, noticing amount of pressure the horse likes when touched. I use a scale of 1-10, one being lightest touch possible, ten being as hard as you can press. Using mindfulness to notice where on his body he likes light rubbing and where he like a deeper touch. Notice if he prefers just your hand, a soft brush, or a hard brush. Try a warm towel and a massaging tool to refine your touch.
In the end know how your ‘touch’ created a benefit to your barn buddy. Was your touch relaxing? What was your horse’s breathing like while you were working on his body? What signs did he show you that he relaxed? Did he lower his heads, relax his lip, soften his eye, lick and chew, yawn, or let out a big breath?
At the end of your time be mindful of what your barn buddy liked the best and what he liked the least. Remember that every individual will be different. This is a time to celebrate the differences and give one on one attention. Be mindful that while creating a benefit for your barn buddy, you are also creating a benefit for your self. Always end your time by giving thanks.
Enjoy,
Cathy Languerand
Program Director SMTRC

Published in: on December 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Journey Back to Freedom

written by Michaele Dimock

Mariah and Saint Patty are two mustangs that share much in common. Both mares grew up on the wide-open spaces of Wyoming – Mariah in the Adobe Town Herd Management Area (HMA) and Patty in the McCullough Peaks HMA. Both were gathered by helicopters, transported and placed in crowded corrals of the BLM Rock Spring’s horse holding facility, and both wanted a ticket to freedom.

Each year I make an annual pilgrimage to the Rock Springs corrals to select 6-10 untouched mustangs from amongst the 700-800 residing there, thanks to a fostership agreement I have with the BLM. I then transport the horses back to my ranch where they become participants in Anna’s ‘Reach Out to the Untouched Horse’ course. In 2010 I selected Patty, and in 2012 I chose Mariah.

It was hard to ignore both Patty and Mariah in the selection process. They positioned themselves right in front of me as I peered out into the corrals to get a good look at all the horses contained within. When I moved… they moved… making sure I took ample time to admire their good looks and suitability. And so the two were selected and came home with me.

Mariah in BLM Rock Springs
ROTH student Janne Jensen did a stellar job gentling Patty in 2010 and would have loved to adopt and take her home – if it hadn’t been for the 6000 mile distance to Denmark! It was easy to see that Patty enjoyed Janne’s attention too, especially the scratching. But with subsequent training, it was also easy to see Patty’s uptight, up-headed, suspicious nature whenever anything new was introduced. Though compliant, I don’t believe that Patty ever really enjoyed or fully engaged in the courses that followed, so she was eventually taken off participant roster and became more of a pasture ornament.

The nature of Mariah was quite different. She let it be known from the very first day that she had no use for humans. She was reactive, fearful, distant and unwilling to participate on any level. Anna suspected that she had been abused – probably roped – sometime between her capture from Adobe Town, temporary housing at the Honor Farm in Riverton, WY, and final destination in Rock Springs. During the next two years I did make several attempts to reach out by offering hay from a bucket; and while she was able to approach to within a few feet, it always felt like a potentially dangerous situation. She became alarmed at even the slightest ‘surprise’ movement and would spin on a dime or jump away, leaving me to believe that this raw, reactive behavior would get me injured or killed some day.

Mariah & Lloyd - clinic session
Discussions about finding a wild horse sanctuary for Mariah, where she could spend her life in freedom, was never far from my mind. During the ROTH get-togethers, it was one of our regular topics while standing by her pen. And while inquiries had been made to various rescues, all was at a standstill until a village of generous individuals stepped up to make it happen.

This past July I met a very special ROTH student, Val Israel, who told Anna and me that she would make the financial commitment to sponsor Mariah at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Val contacted its Director Susan Watt and had Mariah placed on their waiting list. About that same time, an anonymous donor from the east coast told Tricia Hatle (friend, BLM wild horse specialist for the McCullough Peaks, and fellow ROTH student) that she would like to sponsor a McCullough Peaks horse if a sanctuary situation was needed. So when Susan Watt asked if Mariah would be coming with a traveling buddy we could enthusiastically answer, “Yes”! In the days that preceded the journey, Saint Patty bonded instantly with Mariah. I believe they knew the importance of this relationship, their destinies would now be aligned, and they needed to make every effort to make it happen too.

Patty & Mariah bonding
There was only one large hurdle to climb before setting out on our trip. Both Mariah and Saint Patty had Coggins Test results too old for transport. (In the state of Wyoming, horses need a health certificate, a Coggins Test showing negative results from within a year of the blood draw, and title of ownership from the Brand Inspector in order to go over the state border). We knew that drawing blood from Patty wouldn’t be a problem, but Mariah would be extremely stressed and here’s why…

Soon after arriving at my home, Mariah’s BLM identification tag (suspended from a cord wrapped around her neck) pulled over one ear and became so tight that it caused a sore spot along her cheek. It may have even affected her breathing. With dart gun in hand, Tricia sedated Mariah in order to remove this tag but the ordeal did not go well. The veterinary clinic had given Tricia a concoction of sedatives which caused Mariah to struggle horribly in the process of falling asleep. For forty-five minutes she fought against the drug by struggling to get up whenever she fell down; and when she was finally sedated there were only a couple of minutes for removing the tag before the whole ugly ordeal happened again in her awakening. At one point Tricia was fearful that the mare might kill herself. So as you can imagine, both Tricia and I dreaded the idea of drawing Mariah’s blood sample either through sedation or by forcing her into a chute (given her volatile nature and limited chute options available in the area).

Again the stars aligned when Tricia contacted the State Veterinarian for Wyoming and explained the situation. He in turn contacted the State Veterinarian for South Dakota and they discussed the possibilities for transport. Since Mariah was extremely untouchable, both mares had lived on my property for years without illness, and both had previously tested negative for Coggins, they were given a one-time special clearance for transport – provided we go directly to the sanctuary.

One week before our trip, I parked my stock trailer in front of the mares’ open corral gate and offered them hay in the trailer and just outside of it. Though they managed to lean far into the trailer to snatch the hay, they never had the courage to actually enter; but that was okay with me because I just wanted them to get used to its sight, smell and sound. Tricia & Michaele after a successful loading
The morning of October 5th was beautiful with warm temperatures and blue skies. Tricia and I have become experts in loading untouched horses; so with our strategically positioned panels and a little bit of pressure, the girls quickly hopped aboard. Thus we were on our way to South Dakota.

I wish I could tell you that the release into the sanctuary was magical… with the mares galloping off in the distance – manes flowing, tails standing tall, whinnies of joy – but it wasn’t. It was quiet and peaceful, as Patty and Mariah jumped off the trailer and into an initial holding corral. We were told that after a day or two they would be moved to a large ‘kindergarten’ area (surrounding the corrals) where they could meet other members of a selected band with whom they would hopefully bond. Most likely they would remain there throughout the winter until time came when all would be released into the 12,000 acre sanctuary.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to see that wonderful day, but my heart will rejoice when my beautiful mustangs, Saint Patty and Mariah, return to the freedom that was once denied them. Be free my beauties!
Black Hills Sanctuary holding corral

For Immediate Release: Reach Out to Horses® Offers New DVD Release to Mustang Rescues across the U.S.

Whispers from the Wild Ones DVD Set

November 26, 2014 – Denver, CO

Reach Out to Horses® has just released the 2-DVD set, Whispers from the Wild Ones: Mustangs as Our Master Teachers. It is the 10th DVD in the ROTH collection of equine instructional programs.

During the 176 minutes, viewers will experience not only the majestic mustang in its natural habitat but the exclusive Reach Out to Horses’ highly effective training techniques needed to gentle untouched, traumatized, rehabilitated, sensitive, and fractious horses.

Filmed on the iconic lands of Wyoming, Whispers from the Wild Ones walks viewers through the intricate and subtle world of the language of the horse, explaining the crucial differences between mustangs and domestic horses and how, with a true understanding of the language and behavior of the horse, one can create a true, stress-free, trust-based partnership and gentle the wild mustang.

“This is a must for any horseman or horsewoman with a mind to work with the wild ones. Even the experienced hand does not simply gentle a mustang. They are spiritual and earthly beings at the mercy of humans floundering in their attempts to “manage” this truly indigenous North American species. ROTH methodologies honor every aspect of these wild horses and put solutions to their plight in our hands. I highly recommend this… unique experience that cannot be replicated!”
– Sarah Lockwood, Windsor, CA

In the 2-disc set viewers will discover how to:
• Gentle any horse calmly, safely, and without stress
• Discover the value of visualization, energetic connection and body language vs. roping, choking and the use of chutes.
• Build permanent trust and respect between horse and human
• Recognize, capture and work with the whisper of the horse
• Speak the subtleties of the language of the horse
• Encourage horses in the pasture to come to them (no more chasing or catching)
• Read their horse’s character, personality, history, and learning styles and match the training program to their individual needs
• Differentiate between “flooding” and desensitizing
• Use appropriate feel, timing, and pressure/release
• Acknowledge the “try” to encourage and motivate their horses
• Use new tools and aids like the Horseman’s Rope and the Equestrian Education Rope for life-long lessons
• Introduce their horses to the halter, leading, bathing and other skills
• Eliminate biting
• Use water for training
• Fill holes in their horse’s training
• And much more…

In addition to the training program, Founder Anna Twinney and ROTH remain committed to ending the captivity and suffering of over 50,000 mustang in BLM holding pens, returning them to their lives on the U.S. public lands, as well as helping those who are unable to return. A simple, cost-effective solution to managing the wild horses is within our reach. It is a strategy that could avoid round-ups, bait-trapping, culling, unnecessary distress, death and family break-ups, and may save millions of tax-payer dollars.

It is in that spirit that Anna has decided to create the Donate a DVD program. ROTH with the assistance of many generous donors will be giving away up to 1000 Whispers from the Wild Ones DVD Sets to non-profits and organizations that are committed to the well-being and care of the American Wild Horses and Burros.

“We would prefer to see all the mustangs returned to their families, their herds and their homes, but if that is not possible then we will do all we can to help them and give them a chance at freedom from the unbearable conditions in which they live today.” – Anna Twinney – Founder Reach Out to Horses

Reach Out to Horses was developed with the mission of bringing harmony to horses and humans. In the pursuit of that goal, they have been instrumental in the rescue of hundreds of horses and well over a hundred thousand dollars to the horses and the rescues that we they worked with.

“Although we are very proud of the work we and our partners have done, we do not plan on stopping, or even slowing down, any time soon.”
– Vincent Mancarella – Program Director, ROTH

For more information about the DVD Set, how you can help, obtain a copy for a non-profit or review, contact Vincent at info@reachouttohorses.com.

Little Miss – A wonderful mare who needs your help

Little Miss is a beloved mare and mother at Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary who has been going through some severe health problems.  The cost of her vet bills has thus far exceeded $10,000.  Reach Out to Horses is determined to help her out.  Please read through her story and updates and consider helping this wonderful mare and Arizona rescue out.  Spread the word – we can do it!

A few weeks ago ROTH received the following:

We had to take Little Miss up to Gilbert to the Equine Hospital there. She has been ill for some time now with vet visits, etc. The doctor in Gilbert is not sure what is going on but there is a mass below her lung; he cannot tell if it is infection or possible cancer. 

Please send her Reiki healing. 

Her daughter Joy misses her very much here at Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary and we just want her to get healing and head home as soon as possible. 
Thank you!
~Angie

October 31, 2014

Here is Little Miss at the hospital 2 weeks later. The reiki helped much, not out of the woods, but she looks so much better.

She will be on long term meds and careful care. Her bill is over $10,000.

November 4, 2014

Little Miss came home to Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary yesterday. Her vet bill is very large and she will take weeks of continued care with regular vet visits.

We could really use some help with the bills that are stacking up. Thank you to everyone who already sent in some much-needed funds. Please go to www.equinevoices.org to give; even a little bit counts!

PLEASE CONSIDER HELPING LITTLE MISS  AND EQUINE VOICES RESCUE AND SANCTUARY
Published in: on November 10, 2014 at 1:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Addition to the Reach Out Ranch Herd: Apple’s First Days

Uneventful would not be the way to describe Apple’s first day with us. Excalibur certainly ran her a bit down the fence line but she knew to explore her options and keep going. He didn’t make contact, but certainly ran her like they would mares in the wild, ears pinned, galloping flat out and snaking directing her moves. He kept it going for a few minutes, before they settled into the corner down by the gate and went back to back with X getting kicked and being on 3 legs…still driving her though and not missing a stride. Luckily no long term damage, but lame for sure. Once the initial exchange took place, X settled down knowing that Apple knew her place. The occasional reprimand at the water tank and lots of comfort and mutual grooming, X has now taken Apple on as his and is quite protective of her.

Aria accepted Apple as our second introduction and Apple wanted to rule the roost at first. Aria, in her bold way blocked Apple many times, with shear strength of body weight. The unusual behavior from Aria was her display of sexual interest which continues today as she sniffs Apple while “winking” sporadically. Squeals, kicks and mutual grooming allowed them to move forward to become quite connected. Apple seeks Aria out when she is fearful or being charged (over the fence) by Honey.

Honey dislikes Apple, to the point of charging the fence line continuously. It is not safe to put them together and we shall be
spending the week with them in at night to try to gain more acceptance.  They have individual runs so Apple can remove herself and away from the aggression. She is totally upset by her disruption of the herd and has no time for Apple. Pacing the fence, ears back and wishing to make contact with her physically is how the day is spent. Conversations with Honey about acceptance and Apples role have been explained to her as a lead mare.

Apple is truly a gem. Vin spent hours fixing the fence line before winter hits and she followed him around gently and respectfully. She is becoming comfortable with a stall at night and spends her days outside with either X or Aria at this time. Time will tell when its right for us to open the gates for the herd to be together.

Published in: on November 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

3-Day Intuitive Riding Clinic: Through Students’ Eyes

Happy Dog Ranch
Littleton, Colorado 

What was so special about the weekend was experiencing the full/logical and heart felt progression of trust building. It was just perfect.  From starting with the TLC exercises, to doing the obstacle course in hand, and then riding, to the ultimate experience of riding with my eyes closed and trusting Hollywood. The full circle of spending days asking her to trust me (and actually years of asking various horses to trust me), and then to finally let go and ask and trust her to carry me safely in the arena. When I did peek, she had already started to turn the corner before I opened my eyes. I don’t think I had ever gotten the importance of also trusting my horse, so very clearly before this weekend.
~
Grace Gabrielli

I must say that Anna Twinney’s 3 day Intuitive Riding Clinic in CO was fascinating and amazing and opened up a whole new world of riding with a new aspect of communication with horses while in the saddle. I came out of the clinic a far better rider and and a more effective communicator with my horse. My confidence as a rider was also boosted by what I learned by many things which included using subtle cues between me and my horse.  I learned that one does not need to “argue” with your horse to go on great rides and that using the tools given us there is no longer a need for strong use of the reins or my legs/feet .  I saw people of all experience levels of riding taken to higher levels through many different exercises and learning “tools” which included using energy and telepathy to build trust and a partnership with one’s horse.
We came away with not only a better understanding, but with enhanced and with new riding skills. We also learned practical things to take home and incorporate such as the use of an obstacle course. We learned ways to desensitize and “de-spook” our horses in kind and gentle ways to various things they may encounter on rides. The clinic was full of invaluable lessons that I not only learned, but also became second nature.
~Val Israel
Published in: on November 3, 2014 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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