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!

Snow Day: The Tragic Consequence and Life-Affirming Perseverance of the Nurse Foal

Snow Day:  The Tragic Consequence and Life-Affirming Perseverance of the Nurse Foal

By Anna Twinney

I had never seen a horse graze from its knees. But that was exactly what Snow, a majestic, 2-year old, Appaloosa Colt was doing. I thought to myself, “I couldn’t have made him do that, I barely touched his line.” I had wanted to move a short distance, so I could relax on the bleachers nearby while he ate, but just requesting those few steps made him drop to his knees. Perhaps it was a desperate attempt to stay on the lush patch of grass or, potentially, a learned behavior pattern.

I reassured him he could stay. He got back on his feet and walked with me so I could sit down.   I could have ignored this mannerism and chalked it up to a fun story about a playful and mischievous colt, but the behavior was so unusual I felt the origin was worth exploring.

I also noted that instead of nibbling at the grass and continuously picking little tufts, like most horses, he took chunks of grass. He filled his whole mouth with one bite and would bring his head up high, as he did his best to swallow the mouthful.   At first I thought it might be that he needed to settle into a groove, but it became clear this was his way of eating. He looked rushed and was taking whatever he could get. With each mouthful he would take the grass out by the roots before moving onto another. There was no casual grazing.   Snow’s way of eating resembled a hungry orphan or someone who was never taught how to eat. I had not seen this behavior before either.

Not everyone would have noticed his unique way of eating, but I did and had to wonder where it originated. A herd will mirror one another and casually graze with their heads down for long periods of time. It’s a beautifully tranquil and spiritual occurrence, to watch wild ones blissfully eat in harmony, but this was not the case with Snow. I wondered if he had ever learned to graze and if this was as a direct result of his youth.

It was then I remembered Snow’s past.

At just a few days, or possibly weeks old, Snow had been rescued 2 years prior by a group including Ray of Light Farm and Reach Out to Horses. He was “Orphaned”. Not because his mother had died. Instead, is was determined that he had been forcibly taken from his mother and found himself abandoned, too young and innocent to take care of himself.   New to this world he was most likely left to fend for himself in either a stall or trailer. His only choice was to figure out how to eat and drink… or die. He was the smallest of the foals we had rescued and the smallest I had ever seen in my twenty years of rescuing horses.

I could hardly believe someone could do this to an innocent being.


Unfortunately he had been born into the nurse foal industry. A heartless, cruel business in which, reportedly, thousands of foals find themselves as “biproducts”, of no value to the stewards who manage the nurse foal barn. Their mothers are bred purely to function as nurse mares to raise more valuable foals, normally born to top performance horses. Nurse foal barns can usually be found primarily close to racetracks.

Not only had Snow found himself isolated and lost without ever knowing why, but he also came to us very sick. Within days he sought out human connection and valued the comfort of human touch in the gentling process. Innocently and trusting he forgave the very same species that had tossed him aside to die.   I remember thinking, that nobody deserves to be punished or treated this way, let alone a newborn infant.

When his group of foals first arrived milk replacer was arranged for them and placed in special buckets for the foals to drink. Quickly they began suckling on the side of the buckets for comfort, mimicking suckling their mother’s teats. It was heartbreaking to watch. We noticed missing hair from many of their ears and discovered this was due to the foals suckling one another. Innately they knew to find dark and damp places from which to suck, be this around the buckets, each other’s ears, or sheaths.

We kept the foals next to one another during the day’s training and together in the herd at night. We never wanted them to feel isolated or abandoned again. It was like watching a group of kindergarteners with little parental guidance. With hay provided freely they would munch away throughout the day sporadically napping in between meals. While we watched some of them adopting natural grazing habits, Snow must have created his own way.

We offered our very best; a second chance at life, asking, and apparently receiving, his forgiveness. At first touch he would buckle in pain and through veterinary care we discovered that not only was he not able to drop his penis to urinate, but he was suffering from a potentially fatal parasite. This ailment would take months of special ongoing care from the rescue, but this little warrior showed his true nature and eventually pulled through.

The sound of horses returning to their stalls snapped me back to the present. I realized my time with Snow was up. I had assigned the students in my Holistic Horsemanship Foundation Course a fun exercise of discovering the motivating interests of their horses and, in the distance, I noticed horses returning to their stalls.

Giving Snow a couple more minutes to enjoy his banquet, he understood my telepathic message this time, and willingly came along with simply a soft touch. It had been precious time together. After leading him back to his stall, with gratitude I removed Snow’s halter, and said my farewells, looking forward to our many meetings in time to come. I left him with my love, appreciation and admiration.

Later I inquired with the farm as to why they thought Snow had developed this strange behavior of “knee grazing”. Bonnie the manager of the farm knew exactly what I was talking about and remembered how Snow had even drunk his milk in that manner.

She explained that after the rescue, the farm had found 2 surrogate mares willing to accept the foals, which happen to be mini’s. Both mares took the foals on as their own and accepted their suckling. The youngsters had to lower their heads down quite low to reach these mares teats and it was then that Snow learned to make himself smaller. Snow had the chance to graze and learn from the small herd and yet somehow missed the grazing style. They had provided the most natural lifestyle they could with the circumstances they had available to them.

My heart was filled with both sorrow and admiration for this beautiful soul. Snow had endured so much, more pain than any creature should have to experience, especially one so young – all because he was born to the wrong mare. And yet he found his way out the other side.   He could have given up, fallen into deep depression, and chosen to leave the planet. But he didn’t. He took the challenges of a rough start and, with the help of many kind people and horses, turned his circumstances around and found a new life and a new beginning.

Unlike so many nurse foals, his journey had a happy ending. I take solace in that thought as I, with so many others in the world, continue to work diligently to give more horses like Snow a chance at a life of happiness, partnership, and love.

BLM Plans Annihilation of Colorado’s Historic West Douglas Wild Horse Herd

Remnants of Ute Indian ponies have 300 year history in the area

“The owners of these cattle pay the government $1.69 per cow/calf pair per month. At the most, the BLM receives $15,656,” Moore states. “The Federal Livestock Grazing Program costs American taxpayers $123 million yearly.” Removing the cattle would actually save taxpayers money. The plannedhelicopter removal of wild horses will cost nearly 10 times more than the revenues received from livestock grazers. “The continual damage to the land from cattle and sheep grazing and the yearly drain on taxpayers who foot the bill for welfare ranching has to stop,” Moore concludes.

BLM’s Jan. 2015 Environmental Assessment, states “that all wild horses within or adjacent to the WDHA meet the statutory definition of excess animals, and therefore, consistent with the authority provided in 16 USC § 1333 (b) (2), the BLM shall immediately remove excess animals from the range.” This would reduce wild horse herds in Colorado to four, and the number of horses to 1150, compared to the many thousands of mustangs that once roamed the state.

“We have battled the destruction of this historic herd in the courts for decades,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of TCF, a Colorado based non-profit which advocates for the protection and preservation of wild horses on public lands.  “As recently as 2009 the courts ruled against the BLM when District Court Judge Collyer enjoined the BLM from removing any wild horses from the herd,” she states. “BLM’s historic scapegoating of wild horses is a smoke screen,” continued Kathrens.  “Western rangeland damage is caused by millions of head of privately-owned livestock, not our publically owned and theoretically protected wild horses.”

“Grazing of livestock on public lands is considered a privilege, not a right, and permits can be reduced or revoked per BLM Regulations (43 CFR § 4710.5).” mentions Paula Todd King, Communications Director for TCF. “Until the BLM finds the courage to address the real culprit – an overpopulation of welfare livestock – our historic wild horse herds will continue to be managed to extinction.”



BLM PressRelease

West DouglasHerd Area Final EA

Media Contact:

Paula Todd King

The Cloud Foundation



The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our western public lands.

Published in: on August 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Join Us at the Pregnant Mare Rescue!

“Little Jack”

Come meet “Little Jack” this Sat. August 22nd noon to 3pm! A free will donation is being requested to help cover the cost of his gelding!Go to the pmr website by clicking on his picture for the ranch address and opportunity to donate. We thank you for the support as he is much needed on the property for protection from the predators lurking lately. we have seen the signs and heard the terrified horses. We have been warned!

Takota Update!
Takota lost his mother to a horrific shoulder injury upon arrival to PMR. Four mares and their foals were being shipped from Texas to Fallon, Nevada, where there they would await the slaughter truck. Why travel all the way to Nevada, when there are plenty of lots sending horses to Mexico for slaughter weekly?
Because big time breeders and ranchers do not want the public, especially their own clientele knowing of the henious behind-the-back-door events that happen all over America. 160,000 american horses went to slaughter in 2014.
Takota was lucky, and he is a survivor! You can see him at just 3 mos old, days after his mother was euthanized. One Step Closer Therapeutic Riding adopted him. Just look at him now! He is a stunning, willing, happy worker providing children in need with life changing experiences. We thank One Step Closer for his wonderful home and all our supporters who make our work possible!

Calendar of Events
Come On Out and Show Your Support
for Pregnant Mare Rescue
While Having a Great Time!!

Its Sunday Funday at CBF! Bring the family, blankets and chairs to CBF’s Hamburger & Hops Music Festival! This Sunday Funday in the Park will feature Gourmet Burgers, Craft Beer and an amazing Live Entertainment lineup! Tickets are $10 at the door Kids 12 and under are Free. There is NO beer sampling on Sunday, beer and food will be available for purchase. Space is limited! 
Come and find the PREGNANT MARE RESCUE table
25th person to sign up to receive our newsletter wins a PMR Sweatshirt Value 

Remember to check out the PMR Blog weekly!

Prayer Circle for the Mustangs

A friend of ours recently attended a course in which a link to a prayer circle on behalf of the mustangs was shared. It is a small act of “sacred activism” and we invite you to add your voice, energy, prayers, and love to help the Mustangs and Burros of the West.


Join Us for Foal Gentling in Colorado!

About this event: Comprehensive Foal Gentling
What can I expect from this event?
This portion of the event is jam packed with information, demonstrations, lectures and camaraderie.
Here’s a run down for the Foal Gentling Course:
  • Halter training – acceptance of halter, leading
  • Tying (if appropriate)
  • Loading
  • Picking up feet
  • Grooming
  • Worming
  • Vaccinations
  • Blanketing
  • Navigating an obstacle course
  • Desensitization techniques to plastic bags and other objects
  • and more…

Gentling foals can be some of the most important and rewarding work you will ever do. Over the course of 6 days you will learn Anna’s unique and comprehensive methodologies for introducing these young horses to the world of humans and training.

We want our foals to feel safe, and their experiences with humans to be positive, memorable ones. These first important lessons stay with them for the rest of their lives and so the training must be done right. Acknowledging the “whisper” is crucial, recognizing the “try” is an art.

And now it’s your turn to join Anna for a week of fun, friends and foals.



Published in: on August 10, 2015 at 1:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Not a by-product: The Bears and the Foal, a story of righting a wrong.

Invited by Anna to share her experience, Sarah tells her story of a powerful experience that brought messages about intuition, guidance, dreams, authenticity, and honoring and blessing the voiceless innocent.

The Bears and the Foals

By: Sarah Lockwood

I inherited my grandmother’s vintage fur coat a few years ago. I’ve known about the coat since my youth but never knew what kind of fur it was. I knew I wasn’t interested in wearing it, and decided to find out whether there was a way to sell it. I took it to a vintage clothing buyer who said she doesn’t buy furs but told me she thought it was what it referred to as “pony hair”. I was taken aback as I didn’t know horses’ skins were used for coats.  Come to find out, the animals used in the making of “pony skin” or “pony hair” products are actually foals. Foals considered unwanted by-products of other industries, such as nurse-mare foals, feed-lot foals, PMU foals, etc.

Needless to say I was disheartened to learn about not only this practice but that this item was mine to deal with. Terribly ironic, to find yourself the unwitting owner of a product of industries that, through working in Anna’s program, I seek to rescue horses from. I started looking for fur buyers or consigners, but couldn’t get my heart into it. It didn’t sit well with me that I would be advertising this item and assigning monetary value that I would accept in exchange for it. That did not feel authentic. For a while I thought that maybe being vintage, I could sell it without really contributing to demand for primary manufacture. But deep down I felt that, despite it being vintage, I would still be assigning a monetary value to the death of a foal who never had a chance, and passing that vibration forward by perpetuating a demand for it.

I reached out via social media for the input of friends on what to do with it. Anna pointed out to me that the energy of the foal is still with the coat, and Elaine and others suggested laying it to rest with a proper burial. I admit, I had never thought of that at the time.

Rewind about five days. On the previous Friday night, I had had a very troubling dream.  A little background about me – I’ve always been a vivid dreamer and have come to know over the years that, especially when I’m centered and keeping a quiet mind, this is a profound way that I receive messages from Source, from myself, and from beings on the other side. I have had many, many premonitory dreams throughout my life and I take them pretty seriously.  Anyway, I had dreamed that I went out my back gate into the vineyards beyond my yard, and saw a huge pile of dead brown bears. In the dream I was trying to make sense of who was responsible, what the purpose could be for killing so many bears, how to report those responsible, and how and where to bury these sad and disrespected creatures’ physical remains. The feeling in the dream was always that those responsible were lurking unseen, that night was falling, and I had to figure out what was going on or somehow the evidence would be hidden overnight. Upon waking I looked up the message of the bear, which is essentially to go within for answers, receive the intuition flowing from a quiet mind, and to trust the dream-time.  At the time I did not make the connection to the coat.

Flash forward again to the suggestion to bury the foal-skin coat. The images in the dream hit me fresh again and the message came through loud and clear, and unmistakable.  The fact that I was shown this impossible number of murdered bears in my dream, and that I was looking for their resting place suddenly made sense, and I knew that I had to bury the coat, to give it a resting place.  I was being given a chance to seek peace and restitution for just one innocent life, out of an impossibly cruel and mounting number.

I talked over with my husband where to do this and settled on an undisturbed corner of our yard, adjacent to the gate through which I had walked in my dream and seen the bears.  My dogs kept respectful company as I dug, laid the coat in the hole, covered it, and placed a small marker. I prayed that in releasing the foal’s physical form back to the Earth that her spirit would be released to God. I asked forgiveness for how she had been wronged so immediately upon arrival to this world.  I thanked God for the opportunity to receive messages in their various forms, to practice authenticity, and to seek His path where it all flows together.

Going forward, I am grateful to be better-poised from a spiritual standpoint, to support ROTH’s mission of saving “by-product” foals from such fates as this coat.  I am blessed to have friends who speak truth to my questions.  And I am grateful and humbled to share this little chapter in my journey on behalf of the innocents.

An appy PMU foal rests near its mother.

An appy PMU foal rests near its mother.

Published in: on August 7, 2015 at 12:49 pm  Comments (3)  

Experience a Week of ROTH!

Join Anna at Soulful Prairies  
for 3 Exciting Events
October 10-18, 2015

Anna is thrilled to be returning to Soulful Prairies this October!
She’s coming back in the fall but we thought we’d tell you now as the limited spaces for the event will sell out quickly.
Come and experience the next generation of horsemanship and learn how to create a genuine partnership with your horse and deepen your relationship with all your animal companions.
3-Days of  
Natural Horsemanship  
October 10th-12th, 2015 
Soulful Prairies 
Woodstock, IL

Reach Out to Horses is the most unique and comprehensive equine training program in the world and during these full, hands-on, info-packed 3 days, you will find out why!

Over the course of these 3-days you will discover some of the most important elements in creating a trust-based relationship and training program with your horse and getting the results you’ve always wanted but haven’t necessarily been able to achieve.

Saturday, October 10, 2015  

T.L.C. On the Ground in the Saddle
Say goodbye to frustration, struggle, confusion, misunderstanding, flaring tempers, fear and anxiety for both you and your horse. Instead, welcome to a new way of thinking, a new way of being, a new way of horsemanship.
With just a little T.L.C., you can set your horse up for success and achieve that connection of grace and ease you’ve always imagined.

Using Anna’s TLC methods you will explore:

  • Understanding the importance of intimacy and relaxation exercises and how to use them correctly
  • Overcoming your horse’s challenging habits and behavior patterns
  • Preparing your young horse for his first saddle, bridle and rider
  • Desensitizing your horse to common situations and tack
  • Preparing your horse for doctoring and medical examinations/emergencies
  • Earning your horse’s trust and learning how to continue to gain and build that trust
  • Reading your horse’s mood, personality, character, likes & dislikes, and more
  • Creating a toolbox to foster that perfect connection on a daily basis
  • And much more!

Sunday, October 11, 2015 

In Hand Obstacle Course and Ridden Obstacle Course 

The obstacle course is one of the most effective tools in horsemanship and you will explore it both on the ground and in the saddle. 

Anna will share one of her secrets to learning the language of Equus, connecting with your horse, and have a whole lot of fun in the process. You will learn the use of the obstacle course, an extremely valuable but rarely applied tool. Working in an obstacle course is a safe and effective way to familiarize yourself and your horse with the challenges of the trail or arena before riding.
You will learn how to apply this safe and effective training approach to solve all sorts of problems and determine your horse’s learning style.  From preparing horses for the trail, engaging school and therapeutic riding horses, through to establishing a communication system with performance horses and even honoring the needs of the retirees, Anna will show you how to read the subtleties of your horse’s body language, direct your horse without touching him, as well as understand just how horses reflect your true authenticity. Anna will show you how to not only give your horse a voice, but, just as imperative, also understand what he is saying.
Then you’ll do it again, except this time from the saddle! You will discover how all that you learned for the entire day applies to your riding and how it can make you more responsive, give you more clarity in your communication, and make you a better, more sure rider.

Monday, October 12, 2015  

Intuitive Riding With Your Horse

This will be a day you remember forever! You will put it all together as you take the entire 3 days to the saddle, solve your toughest issues and experience the art of intuitive riding. Anna will help you take your training, and the partnership with your horse, to a whole new level as she introduces you to the subtleties of the horse’s communication system.

Anna’s unique method of using not only body language but also energy and inter-species communication will reveal just how communicative your horse really is and how we can use this subtle yet comprehensive language to create and deepen a true partnership between horse and human. Once you experience that connection an entire new world of riding and a whole new relationship will open up for you. You will see, maybe for the first time, the magic of intuitive riding.

And the best part… it is all done without stress, fear, dominance, flooding or anxiety.

Your investment in your and your horse is only $750 if you register before August 31st.  You will probably want to sign up well before then anyway because these limited spaces will most likely be sold out long before then.

Can’t come as a participant, join us as an auditor!

Included in your experience:
  • 1 Stall and shavings
  • Lunch for all 3 days
  • Dinner on Saturday night
  • Snacks and drinks

To register or for more information visit SoulfulPrairies.com.

Space is limited so don’t wait to register.

Private Session with Anna
October 13th, 2015
Soulful Prairies
Woodstock, IL

Limited Spaces Available!
Whether it is your most difficult horsemanship challenge, improving your riding, connecting with your Animal Companion through an Animal Communication Session, or more, here’s your chance to work one-on-one with Anna.
These sessions will fill up fast so don’t wait! Make your reservation now!
For more information or to reserve your spot, contact Linda Bruce by phone at 847-366-6743 or email at linda@soulfulprairies.com.

Introduction to Animal Communication
Friday, October 16
6-9 PM  
Soulful Prairies 
Woodstock, IL
Photo by Christine Fitzgerald and Chris Pope

Photo by Christine Fitzgerald and Chris Pope

A heart-to-heart connection; Animal Communication is a conversation that everyone can experience if they open up, love, and listen to the animals. You will discover the beauty and harmony of the natural world, and awaken to exactly what is possible, when you understand that all living creatures are intelligent beings, with their own feelings, emotions, thoughts, desires and perceptions of life.

 Through demonstrations, lectures, and exercises, Anna with introduce you to the amazing world of inter-species, telepathic communication, or animal communication.


Only $50 if you preregister by August 31st.  


if you sign up for the 2-day Animal Communication Workshop!
2 – Day Animal Communication Workshop 
October 17 & 18, 2015  
Soulful Prairies 
Woodstock, IL


Delve deeper into the world of Animal Communication for 2 days of connection and conversation with your animal companions.

Anna will share her experience and knowledge to help you go deeper perhaps than you ever have into the world of animal communication or even into your relationship with your Animal Companion.

Saturday, October 17, 2015
Working with Animals Live and In Person

Now that you’ve been introduced to telepathic communication, Anna will take you deeper into this powerful art.  The evening introduction barely scratched the surface and now it is your turn to uncover your inherent abilities.

You will spend the entire day learning how to connect with your animal companions live and in person. Many believe it is easier to connect with their animals while they are with them physically.  But physical proximity has difficulties and challenges that are often overlooked.
Anna will guide you through these challenges, and help you to hear the clear messages of your animals, giving them a voice, and revealing their thoughts, feelings, needs and more.  She will show you how you can assist any animal with virtually any issue, whether it be emotional, physical, mental, or even spiritual.

Sunday, October 18, 2015
Working with Animals at a Distance
Building on the lessons of the previous days, Anna will then walk you through communicating with Animals at a distance.  One of the reasons Anna is sought after by people all over the world for private sessions is the integrity, accuracy and verifiable nature of the messages coming through.

Connecting with an animal from a distance has its own challenges and, once again, Anna will be your guide as she shows you how to make sure you are connecting with the intended animal, and how to get accuracy and relay verifiable details in your sessions.
She will reveal her secrets to conducting an interview with the animal and how to maintain the conversation without it turning into an interrogation or a one-sided conversation.

Your investment…

Only $400 for the entire 2 days if you register before August 31st.

Included in your experience:
Lunch for both days
Snacks and drinks
Intro to Animal Communication Evening

To register for the 2-day Animal Communication Experience visitSoulfulPrairies.com.

Truman’s Trauma; supporting a fearful horse.

Jennifer had a true desire to see Truman heal from past experience so they could grow together.

Jennifer had a true desire to see Truman heal from past experience so they could grow together.

By: Anna Twinney

“He has a tattoo on his lip.” This was the first detail she told me about Truman. Truman was a 17 hand Bay Thoroughbred. The tattoo indicated that he has been in the racing industry, although we had no way of knowing if he had ever actually raced. I had seen Truman at the rescue in which he lived. He would often play with his feed bucket, asking for his evening meal. He had quite a presence about him, even if his internal feeding clock was usually about an hour too early.

As my client continued, she mentioned that she had begun training him about six months ago, having only met him a few months prior to that. She also mentioned that he had been saddled and long-lined, and her intention was to eventually ride and show jump him bridle-less. He had been cleared by the vet and chiropractor, and he was ready for this new chapter in his life. She was hoping I could support her with her very first ride, and asked if I would have time to assess Truman for her.

As I was currently occupied by the 16-hour days of teaching our Holistic Horsemanship Program, my first reaction was to simply say, “No, I just don’t have the time.” Especially considering we were expecting rain and flash flooding which would surely shorten the day as well. But, I reconsidered and told her if she could make herself available in the next hour, I could evaluate Truman during the course, as his evaluation fit perfectly with our curriculum for the day.

I explained that I would be able to demonstrate the value of “Reaching Out” and the ultimate reading of a horse by reintroducing the saddle to him. This way she would get the professional assessment she was looking for and the course participants would gain the benefits of a real-life Reaching Out and evaluation.

We set up the portable round pen, ensuring we had great footing, and Truman arrived right on time. I watched as he approached the round pen gate and promptly stalled. My client walked him around the pen, introducing him to the area, giving him the time he needed to walk through the gate, which he eventually did. Once inside we removed his halter and gave him further time to get comfortable in his new surroundings.

Before attempting his new rider, I planned to place a dummy rider on his back. The dummy was by the side of the pen and I noticed that Truman kept his distance. I thought that was odd, considering he had previously had a dummy on his back.

Once I joined Truman in the round pen I invited him to come to me by gaining his attention and drawing my eyes to my feet. He was familiar with this gesture as it was part of a language he understood, his own. He stepped forward, shared a moment’s space and left.

I made a suggestion he be haltered and Truman left, making curves around me. Clearly he was skeptical about my presence and purpose. In my mind I reassured him that I was here to support both he and his person, not to harm him, but help through communication, connection and this assessment. He remained somewhat skeptical but accepted the halter. By retreating to get the long-line in the center of the pen I provided extra time and space for him to digest my presence before I began our formal introductions.

We began exploring the 4 directions, North, East, South and West to orient and introduce him to the space. He was quite willing to follow me while being attached to the lead. His desire to come off pressure was questionable and confirmed what I had already observed. I took this to mean that he wasn’t entirely sure about what was yet to come. Through gentle strokes and reassuring movements and energy, I showed him that the motions I made would stay consistent. Gradually I discovered some places he didn’t mind me touching, and made sure not to look him in the eye, but instead honored him by lowering my eyes.

I stood back, allowing him to leave so we could have a conversation. He chose one direction of the round pen and began to perform his familiar moves. With little effort and great compliance he moved at a trot, transitioning up to a canter for several laps. Without being asked, he turned the opposite way to explore the next direction. It appeared he had done this before, as it looked like a rhythm he had created. The turns were deliberate, and his stride was one to which he was accustomed.

I wasn’t looking for compliance, though. Instead I was seeking a conversation and began to change our dialogue. Asking for the next turn clearly confused him and he didn’t want to make a mistake. He quivered some before he followed through with his turn. His body language clearly showed just how worried he was as he looked like he made cutting horse motions for a while.

I just needed to see speed changes to know that we were connected. He was certainly capable of leading the way, but when I led the way he became a little unglued. Together we worked out how to ask each other questions, hear the answers, and find our team flow. Throughout his session he tried hard to do what he thought was right, while I did my best to interpret his actions. He was clearly strong and had been in a round pen before.

Once our liaison was in full swing, he began revealing his history, connecting and committing to our conversation, finally settling into a walk and giving signs of relaxation. I invited him to join me. Although he wanted to badly, he wasn’t quite able to, and stayed on the fence, showing his concern. Instead of sending him further and putting him out to work, I encouraged him to join me knowing that together we could make this work. With some rubs, and soothing motions I coaxed him to follow me closely and our connection began solidifying.

In view of his apprehension, I felt I needed to check in with him further about how he felt with the long-line behind his hocks and he accepted it without any concern.

It was an easy step to build in and yet essential for us to be able to move into ground driving without any additional stress.

I continued to build our relationship by massaging him, introducing myself to him through touch, and exploring any sensitive areas, as the tack was brought into the pen and placed in the center of the pen. I unhooked the line, asking Truman to follow me, but instead he made a wide berth around the saddle. It didn’t make sense and I commented on it. He also stomped his foot hard three times. It didn’t take a professional horsewoman to know that he was not happy with the saddle.

A little confused by his responses I walked him to the center of the pen where I lifted up the saddle pad and my 10lb saddle, designed specifically to start horses. When I attempted to set it on his back he bolted side-ways and the saddle fell to the ground. He moved so quickly there was no stopping him. Without any reprimands and only encouragement to come back, I knew I had to help him out a little further.

Understanding that he was clearly unsure about this whole process, instead of simply “making it happen”, I took my time to introduce the saddle pad time and time again. He began to relax, gradually removing any spooks and starts in his body, creating softer muscles and eyes. I watched for his legs to be safely on the ground and for his head to relax. The offside proved to be less impactful and he settled pretty much immediately which added more clues to uncovering our mystery. He was more comfortable with the saddle where humans spend less time.

Returning to his nearside, I was able to make some noise with the saddle before placing it on his back. He accepted it with greater ease, but with the first billet barely fastened Truman bucked hard. He took the line out to the end and began “screaming”. I prayed that I had managed to tighten the girth enough for the saddle to stay in place and not create further angst by rolling under his belly. I could not take my eyes off his. It was imperative I stayed calm, focused on him, and let him know I would be there for him.

With gentle and confident movements I followed him around the pen as he bucked with all his life, bellowing all the while. I watched his every move like a hawk, supporting him as best I could, and keeping myself safe from being run over. Finally he settled down enough for me to approach him and girth up the 2nd billet.

Unsure if he would attempt to get out of the pen by trying the round pen boundary, I kept him on the line, rewarding each calm motion he made. Gradually his ears moved forward and his eye softened. He would stop for reassurance and I would provide a space for him to do just that. Eventually he moved from fear and flight, to processing information.

I figured out that he had a sweet spot – East in our 4-directions of the round pen, and he would slow down just there. In time we expanded the area until he was able to transition through the gaits with ease. Gradually he did the very same without the line attached gaining his confidence. While he became more rhythmic the fear left his body. And yet it still existed…underneath. I felt the fear that remained. I asked him to turn unexpectedly and follow through with the turn away from me and he became unglued.

We were discovering more and more triggers, revealing clues to his past, and how he felt today. It looked like he was expecting to be reprimanded, to be hurt. I knew my client, a student of ROTH for sometime, wouldn’t hurt him, so it appeared this took place before her time. I was finding triggers and “holes” we needed to fill. My client must have felt the same intuitively as she had asked for my involvement in the first place.

The stars had aligned for this demonstration to occur. From the moment she asked, the day she asked for the support, and everything in between. The weather forecast had predicted monsoon rains, and yet the storms had not arrived. I felt that deep inner knowing that I was here to help them both and potentially prevent an accident from happening. Truman looked for support and through my intention, energy, and body language I gave him that solid support system he needed.

When the time was right I invited Truman to stand still and wait for me to bring him to the center of the pen. There I would move forward and attach the ground-driving lines. This he seemed to understand, and it was clear he had been trained in this area. My intention was to assess his knowledge in turning left, right, going forward with line influence, slow down, and even stop, and back up.

He understood each queue and I was quickly able to replace my body language conversation with a communication from my hands to his mouth. He excelled in this short session. I watched his respiration throughout, ensuring that we did not overdo anything. Horses in the round pen earlier in the day barely brought up a sweat and Truman was wet from nose to flank. It was not the physical exercise causing the perspiration but the mental excursion.

At this point I made the decision not to proceed with either the dummy rider or bellying over. Clearly he had experienced enough for one day and needed time to process this experience. Arguably it could be said that he would accept the dummy rider and the rider having experienced one prior. And yet this would mean entering a whole new conversation and taking an unnecessary risk beginning that conversation. He had had enough and there was no need to push it.

His ears went back to not only listen to the tack removal, but also out of concern. I took my time to remove the tack at his speed. With lots of praise we stood together and he was now “naked”, tack free to roll if he felt the need. I gave him space to be. While I shared my experiences, observations and interpretations with the students, Truman joined me and stood closer than he had done at the beginning of our time together. He chose to remain connected and sought my attention. I had made an impression on him, a good one. In my heart I knew it. This was an exceptional experience for everyone who witnessed it that day, leaving hoof prints on hearts.

When he left our circle, bucking frantically, I had felt for him. The only sentence going through my mind was “What have they done to you?” I had felt his fear in my body, and had needed to let it go to be able to be there for him. At no time did I push him beyond what I thought he was capable of doing and what I knew he had done in the past.

Clearly my saddle had sparked a memory and it was fortunate this memory came out with me and not another. Instead of reprimanding, I supported him. I didn’t force or hurt him, I heard him. No one was injured and both he and my client were safe.

It’s not often that I have experienced horses with such a great flight instinct that they need to buck as though their lives depend on it and “scream” in action. Instead of leaving him alone or hurting him for the action, I stood by him. Here was a large animal concerned about the saddle, ultimately living in fear, and walking on egg shells in certain situations. When faced with similar circumstances I always ask myself, “What happened to him and why is it happening in our world today?”

He had manifested a hard life lesson, but he also manifested, my client, an amazing human being to help him find his way through to the other side of the lesson. She has provided him with a home and given him respite. She will honor him, raise him up to be the horse he is meant to be, and take the time he needs to show him that the trust he has learned to gain back is an honest trust. We may need to prove it again

Jennifer had a true desire to see Truman heal from past experience so they could grow together.

Jennifer had a true desire to see Truman heal from past experience so they could grow together.

in times to come, but we shall do that, for he is worth it.

Published in: on July 21, 2015 at 1:20 pm  Comments (1)  

Charmed by a horse: a skinny little colt that changed lives

Pulled from the Feedlot in Fallon, Nevada, a thin, wormy, bloody-legged paint mare was delivered to the Pregnant Mare Rescue in very rough shape. Terrified, untouchable, sporting a brand on her jaw (who does that?) Annie found her way to her new stall. Vet didn’t think she was in foal, but Lynn Hummer, the rescues founder was thinking differently.

Two months later this mare loved, supplemented and well fed delivered a skinny little colt. Charm indeed had arrived and was collecting the hearts of everyone he encountered.  From the moment I laid eyes on this little colt, I knew he had my heart too. It would take some work, but I was determined to adopt him and make this colt my own.

So, it’s no surprise that I was startled when Charm’s photo fell off my bedroom wall with a thud waking me that early Saturday morning. I startled awake and made sure the glass in the photo was not broken as I hung my sweet possession back on the wall. I was now up an hour early and figured I’d go to the PMR ranch and do morning chores.

I had had a couple of dreams of Charm, and in one dream a couple was taking him away and he “said” to me in the dream, I thought you were adopting me?  He seemed upset in the dream. I woke up with my heart pounding wondering at the deep effect this little horse had on me. Every time I looked into Charm’s gentle brown eyes I saw a wisdom, that was almost zen in its’ serenity.

When I arrived an hour early at the PMR ranch the eucalyptus swayed in the gentle morning breeze. I went up to the fence and called Charm’s name. Usually he would come trotting up to see if I had some pets or treats but this particular morning he stood still, his head hung low as I softly called his name. Then I saw it, blood, a lot of it. I leaped into the pasture to see if it was gushing or dripping when I realized it was dripping. I ran to the feed shed for the emergency phone tree. I ran, called the vet and pounded on Lynns’ door. She emerged sleepily and I shouted, “Charm! It’s Charm, he is hurt and it’s bad!” I ran back to Charm as Lynn got dressed to follow.

I whispered to Charm that a vet was coming and wrapped towels around the large open gaping wound. The pasture was quiet. Charm’s mom Annie, usually pinning her ears at anyone near her baby remained still as if she knew we meant to help.

We were all guessing at what had attacked our boy. Was the wound  from a coyote, a mountain lion, maybe dogs? Lynn knew she needed to find out, and she knew exactly who to call.

After the incident, Lynn put in an emergency call to Anna Twinney. Graciously and in such a timely manner Anna returned the call. Right then and there, Anna held a conversation with Charm. The generosity of this woman’s heart is so appreciated.

Charm expressed it was a big brown face with dark ears pointing straight up, and a dark blackened muzzle. Ok, no mountain lion. He shared that he felt responsible because he hesitates. (Remember he was born a shy, skinny little colt.) Anna reassured him that it was in no way his fault. Charm showed Anna the wound and she confirmed it was too large to be a coyote. There was a bite mark in the wound and a flap of skin and fur hanging. Anna continued to reassure the little colt that he had done nothing wrong, and sometimes bad things just happen

The last question Anna asked was to Lynn. “Is there anything else you’d like to ask Charm?”

Lynn wanted to know if there was anything he’d like to share. Charm responded, “They don’t know what they don’t know”

This little Zen boy struggling to survive is our little Budda.

I continued to hold Charm up and Lynn brought hay with more towels. We worried as he started going into shock. I used my weight to hold him up as he started to go down on one knee. I knew if he went down in the muddy pasture, it would be hard if not impossible to get him up.  Lynn and I held vigil holding him, talking to him, cajoling him with food.

The vet finally arrived. She immediately went to assess Charm’s condition. I asked bracing myself, “Will he be ok?” She looked at the wound with a solemn face and answered, “I don’t know.” Then she listened to his lungs, and thankfully they were clear. This was very good news, no puncture! We all pushed, and helped and finally got him down to a stall, slowly, after a long effort of helping this hurting baby.

Finally, she gave him the pain meds and started cleaning the wound, six hours later she completed the sutures. His side and front left leg looked like a sad, jagged, jigsaw puzzle of stitched flesh.

I went home and cried, praying for no infection, begging whatever higher source to allow Charm to stay on earth. The vet thought his leg would be ok if we could keep it clean and infection free. Lynn said she would fundraise for the vet bills and set up a website for him. I was determined to help anyway way I could.

Since I was a child I have had an affinity for animals of all types.  I rescued, cats, dogs, rabbits and horses through the years.  I do not consider myself an animal communicator but have had many unexplained experiences, dreams and intuitive feelings for different animals. I felt an affinity for Charm when I met him, much like love at first sight. Our connection remains strong today as I move toward getting into a financial position to adopt him.

Charm has recovered from his wound beautifully. He is getting stronger and looking better every day. On May 19th, Charm will be one year old and I am so pleased to know he has a full, beautiful life ahead. I thank Lynn for her dedication to her rescues, and I thank Anna for providing us with much needed answers and incredible insight in to the heart of Charm.


About the author:

Tara McCabe has a law degree from Seattle University School of Law and has worked as a former Executive Director of animal rescues and as a legislative aide. She has one grown daughter, five cats, two dogs and soon, a horse named Charm.

Tara founded Gracie’s Pet Food Pantry( named after her beloved dog Gracie) Gracie’s provides pet food to those low income, senior and homeless pet owners in need. Graciespetfoodpantry.org

The Cloud Foundation Denounces BLM Wild Horse Research Plans

In support of the Cloud Foundation and our American Wild Horses we are re-posting this press release from the Cloud Foundation

Press Release:  For Immediate Release – July 8th, 2015

The Cloud Foundation Denounces BLM Wild Horse Research Plans
BLM sterilization studies spell doom for remaining wild horses on public lands

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, (July 8, 2015) – “The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) announcement of plans for managing wild horses on public lands is not only disturbing but highlights their commitment to managing wild horses to extinction,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation (TCF).

Four of the seven proposals being researched at taxpayer expense include permanent sterilization of stallions and/or mares. While the BLM claims they are “committed to developing new tools that allow us to manage this program sustainably and for the benefit of the animals and the land,” and “for the enjoyment of generations to come,” their proposed solutions are contrary to that goal.  Permanent sterilization of wild horses on the range would continue to undermine the already threatened genetic viability of our remaining herds.  Under current plans, BLM would manage 78% of herds at a level below that required to ensure genetic viability (150-200 adult horses.)

Permanent sterilization is inconsistent with the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act which requires managing for sustainable herds. Permanent sterilization is counter to that mandate and would damage the social band structure that has allowed wild horses in North America to thrive.

Earlier this year representatives from several wild horse and rangeland preservation organizations met in Washington, D.C. with BLM Director Neill Kornze, and BLM Deputy Assistant Director for Resources and Planning, Mike Tupper, to discuss possible solutions to BLM’s ongoing dilemma regarding management of wild horses and burros.  The proposals presented included strategies for increasing the number of mares vaccinated with PZP to a level that will begin to impact population growth rates, and measures to authorize and encourage voluntary livestock grazing permit retirement in Herd Management Areas.  The groups also recommended repatriation of wild horses in BLM holding facilities to Herd Areas that have been zeroed-out. These proposed solutions would provide an immediate savings to the BLM.

Mike Tupper promised to respond to TCF and the other organizations regarding the proposals but has failed to do so.  “Advocates are more than willing to work with the BLM for sustainable management of wild horses on the range,” stated Paula Todd King, Communications Director for TCF. “Thus far the Washington, DC BLM is unwilling to consider creative options that would benefit both wild horse herds and the American taxpayer. “

“Safe and effective birth control for wild horses has been available for years but BLM has chosen to use it on only a token number of mares,” continued Kathrens. “The Pryor Wild Horse Herd in Montana, the McCullough Peaks Herd in Wyoming, the Little Book Cliffs and Spring Creek Herds in Colorado are managed using PZP, a reversible remotely delivered vaccine. All these herds are nearly to the point of achieving a balance between reproduction and natural mortality.”

“Unlike the national BLM offices, these local field offices are working successfully with the public to create a situation where future wild horse removals are unnecessary,” concluded Kathrens. “Stonewalling of advocates and the American public by the National BLM office is counter-productive to successful management of wild horses on our public lands.  I fear that their actions would lead to the extinction of the North American wild horse.”


BLM Announces New Research to Curb Population Growth and Improve Health of Wild Horse and Burro Herds

BLM Wild Horse and Burro, Science and Research, Fertility Control


Media Contacts:
Paula Todd King
The Cloud Foundation

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our western public lands.


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