Welcome to the Reach Out to Horses® Blog!

Welcome to the Reach Out to Horses Blog Message.

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Welcome to our little corner of the Blogosphere.   Stop by often to get great tips and information on all things natural horsemanship, animal communication, energy healing, and more.  You can also keep up with all we have going on as Anna travels around the globe teaching her methodologies of trust-based communication.

And of course we want to hear from you. So please comment on those posts that are important to you, share your experiences and let our community get to know who you are.

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

Words, Whispers & Wisdom Across the Pond

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Anna is proud to be appearing in two great publications from the UK, Western Horse UK Magazine and The Horsemanship Journal!  To commemorate our new partnership they are offering a 15% DISCOUNT on subscriptions to ROTH supporters.

Sign me up with a 15% Discount!

Colorado Friends of the Horses we Love, We Request your Support

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Dear Colorado friends of the horses we love,
As some of you already know, in 2018 I am stepping away from many of the the day to day operations at Zuma’s Rescue Ranch and dedicating my time to legislation. 
Please join me by taking 10 min. a month to reach out to our legislators and protect America’s Horses, the innocent and iconic symbols of freedom. 
 
I will send you an email every month similar to this one asking for your help. Please share these emails with your Colorado horse loving friends. Help me make Colorado advocacy movement more active and effective. 
 
Below is quick and easy way to tell those that have the power to save America’s horses how you feel about the current proposal from the BLM advisory board to Kill 90,000 horses that are in long term holding.
Killing is not a solution. This is a band-aid to a problem the BLM has created. Needless to say there are other solutions to the wild horse population as well as the domestic horse issues.
Mass killing is not the answer, I hope we can agree on that…
Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Peace,
Jodi Messenich
Here are the talking points:
  • When calling your U.S. representative, say: My name is YOUR NAME and I am from Littleton, CO. As your constituent, I urge you to protect our nation’s horses from slaughter and our wild horses from mass extermination in the final FY18 Appropriations bill. Please also reach out to leadership and urge them to support these protections. Thank you.
     
  • When calling your U.S. senators, say: My name is YOUR NAME and I am from Littleton Colorado.  As your constituent and a strong supporter of equine welfare, I urge you to please support the Senate version of the Agriculture Appropriations bill, which prohibits the use of federal funds on horse slaughter. Please also support a prohibition on the use of our tax dollars to kill tens of thousands of wild horses and burros. Thank you.

Here are the contacts: some you need to go to the WEBSITE to get their contact form,  then copy paste the above requests.

I often visit their Facebook/twitter accounts and post simple versions of the above like
  • “protect our nation’s horses from slaughter in the final FY18 Appropriations “

Federal Senators

Sen. Michael Bennet (D)

US Senator, Colorado
Phone: 719-542-7550
Fax: 719-542-7555

Sen. Cory Gardner (R)

US Senator, Colorado
Phone: 720-508-3937
Fax: 720-583-0873

Federal Representative

Rep. Kenneth Buck (R)

US Representative, Colorado District 4
Phone: 720-639-9165

Executive Office of the President

Pres. Donald Trump (R)

The President
Phone: 202-456-1414
Fax: 202-456-6021

Office of the Vice President

Hon. Mike Pence (R)

Vice President
Phone: 202-456-2864

Governor

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D)

Governor
Phone: 303-866-2471
Fax: 303-866-2003

State Senator

Sen. Chris Holbert (R)

State Senator, Colorado Senate District 30
Phone: 303-866-4881
Fax: 303-866-2012

State Representative

Rep. Polly Lawrence (R)

State Representative, Colorado House District 39
Phone: 303-866-2935
Fax: 303-866-2218

 

Peace,
Jodi Messenich

 

Notable Mention for Reiki for Horses from our friend, Amy, at Gentlehealing…

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Incorporating her decades of experience in equine behavior, herd dynamics, body language and inter-species communication, Anna will show you how the ancient art of Reiki, and almost any healing modality, can be safely adapted from humans to horses.  She will also share her secrets of how to read your horse, give them a voice and create the exact healing session they need and desire.

DVD – http://www.reachouttohorses.com/dvd.html

www.reachouttohorses.com

Thank, Amy!  For sharing in the mission of energetic healing for all species, and especially our horses, we salute you!

Does Reiki for horses interest you?  Join us in Franktown, CO, this December the 3rd for Reiki Energy Healing for Horses.  Follow the link here to get signed up and enjoy a day of healing and horses with ROTH!  Sign up today because we have limited spaces available for this unique event.

Reiki for Horses

 

 

A Month Dedicated to Giving and Receiving Thanks

A Special “Thank You” came from Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, a rescue with whom we are SO  BLESSED to partner year after year.

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Pictured are Jodi Messenich, owner and operator of Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, Elaine Nash of Fleet of Angels, who provided us with untouched mustangs for this years Trainers Course, and Miss Anna Twinney herself.

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“Every Year ROTH brings their training methods and clinics to Zuma’s, paying a facility fee and assisting with the training of horses. These clinics and the funding they generate help to offset the cost of the healing herd here at Zuma’s, as well as assist in getting some of the herd trained.”
         To Jodi and the Zuma’s Staff, we return the gratitude as you always provide us a magnificent facility and wonderful horses with whom to practice and share the methods.  We certainly appreciate all you do for the horses.  A very sincere and heart felt thank you right back at you guys!

 

A ROTH Herd Progress Report for Thelma: 3 GOLD Stars for our Belgian Beauty!

What might a personalized plan for a session with a ROTH Certified Trainer actually look like?  Join one of our most recent additions to the ROTH fold, Lani, as she works with Thelma, a Belgian Draft mare who is staying here at Reach Out Ranch.  Thelma joined us a few months ago from a feedlot and was terrified of all things human.  Her progress has been notable!  Read on and discover why Thelma deserves three gold stars for her week with Lani Salisbury!

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11/6/17 ( 4:00 – 4:45 pm) Haltered, Groom, Leading practice, Head drops, Neck yields, backing.

A short session with Thelma reviewing what she had been practicing. Working toward more fluidity in walk, changing of speeds, and walking more next to us instead of slightly behind. As we practiced leading we incorporated stops, backing, and neck yields which she has improved on greatly and gets about half way on both sides. We also practiced head drops which still need focus. She would give slightly. Her backing is much improved and she is going off minimal pressure. We ended with grooming which she enjoyed. We planned for her next session to be pushed forward.

11/8/17 (3:15 – 4:20 pm) Haltered, Leading practice, Neck yields, Backing, Stopping, Turning, Change in speed, Leading next to us, Desensitizing

In this session we began with haltering. I brought the halter in with me right away which I personally haven’t done. I asked her to stand while I put the horseman’s rope over neck and moved to the haltering. I practiced being more casual with her haltering. She stood solid. We then moved into desensitizing after I brushed her mane. We desensitized with a survival blanket (silver, crinkly blanket). We started small. She was a little concerned with it at first but after we started and I let her see it and rewarded each try she became absolutely perfect with it. We expanded it getting bigger and falling all over her, making it noisy, flapping it, throwing it over her, and walking with it on her back. We spread it out as big as it could get and walked around her pen. We then practiced leading in and out of her pen, around the larger pen again practicing getting more fluid movement. Also working with her beside me. We changed speeds, stopped, backed, disengaged, neck yields. We then went back into her pen and I practiced with my hands around her front legs and hooves. Investigating what turned out to just be a rub of her hair. She was fantastic with the desensitizing and leading. We plan next session to bring more tools to desensitize, continue with picking up her feet, and bring in a few obstacles to practice leading.

11/10/17 (4:25 – 5:10)  Haltered, Leading, Desensitizing, Small Parachute on ground, Backing, Picking up front feet, Oils

In this session knowing it was getting dark soon we started with desensitizing to the small parachute. We started with it small and Thelma was only slightly concerned. She didn’t mind at all after a few rubs with it. We expanded quickly on both sides and walked with it at various parts of her body at different sizes. We also threw it all over her body, making it noisy, fast, and slow. We then played it on the ground to see how she felt with putting her feet on it. She was a little worried about it at first but very little. She started by putting one foot on then two. She was a little sticky at first on it but after a few minuets she was walking over it and stopping with all 4 feet on and backing over it. She enjoyed this! I then picked up her front feet twice. She needs more practice but did pick them up quick, needs work holding up. Once it was dark we continued by showing her some Oils. She LOVED it! She chose Peppermint, Ylang Ylang, Grounding, Peace & Calming, Believe, and Magnify your purpose. She liked a lot of them very much and would interact with her mouth, wiggling her lip and grabbing at the once she liked. She really enjoyed the and felt a little more personality come out. Her all time favorite oil was Magnify your purpose.

Our next sessions plan: Set up an obstacle course and bring her over obstacles (tarps, Parachutes, Poles, corridor), more desensitizing to more objects, prepare for heath checking, picking up feet/farrier prep, head drops.

And Thelma’s work the following session reflected all the hard work Lani has put into working with her!

Thelma Obstacle Course:

Tarp, Corridor, Poles, Noodles

Thelma rocked the Obstacle Course!  She did every obstacle on the first try.  We improved on our leading and more fluid and speed.  We stopped on each obstacle and backed off the tarp.  Her back is still a tad sticky, but she is willing.  We did obstacles from each direction and she enjoyed it.

With her feet:  We worked on picking up all four feet.  I could mostly pick up her front and hold them for a second.  Her hind feet we used the arm to pick up and hold up.  She was able this time to hold her hind feet up longer without pulling away.

Head drops still need some work.

We also used the arm to desensitize her around her hind and tail area.

These things will help prepare her for her travels and new beginning!

Lani and her mom, Jill, have both been doing a phenomenal job facilitating Anna’s work with our herd of three.  We are proud to call them ROTH Certified Trainers!  They embody important pieces of the ROTH mission: meeting the horse where they are, going at a pace that is unique to each individual, clearly communicating, and above all else, loving their work!  Great work, ladies!!!

Let them eat cake!

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It is with tremendous pride that Anna and Reach Out to Horses welcome our newly certified trainers to the fold.  They have worked tirelessly, some since as far back as 2006, to develop their passion for and mastery of the Reach Out to Horses practices and methodologies.  To Dora, Ben, Lani, and Jill, CONGRATULATIONS on your accomplishment!  Your dedication and persistence have certainly paid off!  Welcome to the ROTH family and we are so pleased that we get to continue to watch each of you grow as you go out into the world and bring the ROTH flavor of Natural Horsemanship to the horses and their people!

 

A Trainer’s Exam Kind of Wonderful Day!

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On Sunday, October 29th, Reach Out to Horses brought our day of Holistic Horsemanship to a number of interested folks as we watched our trainers strut their stuff!  Hosted by Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, the day was a great success as our four trainers demonstrated the types of things they had been working on throughout the week.  With Anna narrating it was much easier to note the subtle pieces of communication being exchanged between the horses and the trainers.  All of the proceeds went to Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, particularly to care for their two newest editions, the Hallelujah Horses, Ariel and Saphiel.

 Win/Win/Win!

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Elaine Nash, of Fleet of Angels and the Hallelujah Horses, was in attendance to see how the two mustangs had progressed over the week.  Hoping to find them homes through the event, all of the proceeds went to Zuma’s Rescue Ranch to support in the effort.  Pictured here are Jodi, our most lovely host at Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, Elaine, and Anna.  The Rescue was supported, the mustangs received critical training to help better their chances of finding a forever home, and our ROTH trainers had excellent horses with whom to work as they honed their skills and learned to truly capture the whisper. A win for everyone!

Reach Out to Horses would like to thank everyone who attended the event and who supported our trainers, the Rescue, and the Hallelujah Horses.  We also want to thank those who shared with us their four-legged companions so that our trainers would have an excellent experience and horses/burros who would help them develop the subtle skills that are such an integral part of everything ROTH.  We want to thank all of our supporters as this event was a hit!  THANK YOU!!!

Did you miss this year’s Trainers’ Exam Day?  Join us next year, same place, same time, for yet another year of astonishing horsemanship, kinship, and compassion!  Sign up for our newsletter, Diary of a Horse Whisperer, and have the event details sent directly to your inbox!

Sign Me UP!

 

 

The Psychology of Equus: An HHC Student’s Investigation

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How do horses interact with novel stimuli, and does personality play a role?

By Asila Bergman
2017 HHC Student

Introduction
This topic was explored with the help of three horses with previously unknown histories at Drifter’s Hearts of Hope rescue facility in Franktown, CO. The main goals of this project were to learn how horses in general use their body language and energy to communicate how they experience, feel, and learn about new things in their environments, as well as how each individual horse interacts with novel stimuli, and what this can tell us about his/her personality. Another goal was to explore these exercises as possible enrichment activities that could be used by the rescue
to encourage exploration, curiosity, and creativity in horses that may benefit from environmental stimulation.
The horses that participated in this project were Captain (12 yrs), Jack Sparrow ( 13 yrs), and Rosy (20 yrs). Since little was known about their origins, their ages were estimated. All three horses were rescued from a feedlot, and were together at a quarantine facility prior to arriving at the rescue. This project began within a few days following their arrival. They were all healthy and sound, and cleared by a vet to participate in this project.
Each horse participated in three exercises: obstacle course at liberty; obstacle course in-hand; and scent enrichment. The obstacle course consisted of nine obstacles made with a variety of different objects, and was designed for the horses to either walk across, through, over, or under, and was set up in an indoor arena. Some examples of the obstacles include: plastic chairs in two rows creating a lane to walk through; a tarp covered with swim noodles to walk over; car wash strips hanging down to walk through; wooden teeter totter to step onto and walk across. The horses were encouraged to explore the obstacle course at liberty with handlers applying pressure/release
using body language and line, and in-hand with handlers applying pressure/release with the Dually Halter.

For the scent enrichment activity, the horses were given the opportunity to explore four scents (rosemary, lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus) in 5 min, using free choice. Each scent box was made by putting 5 drops of the designated oil onto a paper towel and placing it inside of a plastic Tupperware container with several holes in the lid. The scent boxes were presented by sliding them under the gate, and placing them on the ground in each of the horse’s run area.
Captain
During the obstacle course at liberty, Captain approached and investigated several of the obstacles almost immediately, and was exhibiting curious and relatively confident behavior. Within a few minutes of being in the arena he walked up to one of the chairs and picked it up. His level of confidence and comfort could be due to the fact that he was not alone, and also had a familiar horse, Rubicon, in the arena with him. While working their way through the obstacle course with handlers, it became apparent that when Captain was given clear instructions through body language, he was able to follow them without much hesitation or fear. He was comfortable with objects touching him on the sides, as well as stepping up and over objects. He did not require a large amount of pressure from his handler (via body language/distance) in order to work up the
courage to cross any of the obstacles that he was presented with, and appeared to enjoy taking the lead. From observing him, it appeared that the value for him in the obstacle course at liberty was exploration, being allowed to influence his environment, and showing Rubicon where to go.

Captain exhibited similar behavior during the obstacle course in-hand. His handler noted that when she allowed him to make the decisions about which path to take, he often was seeking out and investigating obstacles on his own. She described him as being very keen, intelligent, and independent. He was also engaged with her during the obstacle course, and not afraid to have a voice in the process. He had many moments when he wanted to speed the process up, and sometimes got bored relatively quickly depending on the obstacle, where as during other more difficult obstacles (e.g. teeter totter), he needed some shaping, as well as more clarity and confidence in order to get through the entire obstacle. The value for Captain during this exercise was working through the difficult obstacles with his handler as a partner—because he is so
independent, it takes practice for him to take direction and leadership from others.

When the scent boxes were placed in Captain’s run, he immediately approached them to
investigate. He used his mouth and lips to touch each box as he sniffed them, and although he moved from one box to another pretty quickly, he spent the most time near lavender and peppermint. Captain spent approximately 30 seconds investigating the scent boxes, and then turned his back to them and walked to the other end of the run. Captain was inquisitive and interested by this exercise, but once he had taken a whiff of each of the boxes, he lost interest relatively quickly.

Jack Sparrow
During the obstacle course at liberty, Jack spent the first several minutes in the corner of the arena near the mirrors, showing that he was fearful in the new environment and was seeking safety with other horses, so he remained near his reflection. Once he was asked by his handler to move through the course at liberty, he was able to complete several of the obstacles. Through observations of Jack during the obstacle course, his behavior was somewhat distrusting, as if he was preparing for things to get uncomfortable, or go wrong. He was not completely checked out, but did show a fear of engaging and a lack of confidence. His behavior showed his need for security and comfort. As the session continued and he received clear communication from his
handler, he showed more of a willingness to connect. The value for Jack during this exercise was being challenged, and gaining confidence by being thrown out of his comfort bubble, and in doing so, learning that not all experiences with new environments/objects/people have to be negative.

Jack’s sensitive side came out even more during the obstacle course in-hand. He was extremely tentative going through all of the obstacles that were asked of him. Although he didn’t spook or start, it was still very apparent that he was fearful, and told his handler this by planting his feet at the edge of each obstacle and resisting forward movement. He only moved forward off of very light and gentle pressure on the halter, and needed lots of shaping and repetition in order to feel comfortable completing an obstacle. He also needed lots of praise, extra care, and encouragement during this process. In watching Jack move through the obstacle course in-hand, it seemed that the
value for him came from learning to trust, and that by being willing to try, he learned he could rely on his handler to not put him in harm’s way.

Jack was eager to approach the scent boxes as soon as they were placed in his run. He was very curious and engaged during this exercise, and showed a side of his personality that we had not seen in either of the obstacle course sessions. He began exploring the eucalyptus scent first, and spent the most time with this box. He first sniffed it, then picked it up in his teeth, then pawed at it until it opened, at which point he briefly explored the scented paper towel. He then moved on to the other boxes, one by one, and tried to open them as well. He picked up the peppermint and swung it around in his mouth. He spent a total of 1 min, 30 sec with the boxes, and although he investigated all of them thoroughly, he spent the most time with eucalyptus and peppermint. After
investigating all of the boxes multiple times, he lost interest and moved toward the other end of the run.

Rosy
Rosy was a very interesting horse to observe during the obstacle course at liberty. Prior to this, when she was observed in her paddock where she was living with several other horses, she appeared to be depressed and withdrawn. It was quite a surprise when she was released into the arena and completely lit up with positive energy, and was behaving as if it were an opportunity to show everyone what she could do. She immediately began running around the arena and investigating all of the obstacles in her path. She looked overjoyed to be there in that space, and was behaving like a completely different horse, exhibiting confidence, comfort and courage. When her handler attempted to drive Rosy away from her (towards an object), she became confused and a little anxious. Once she began running away, it was difficult to get her to slow down, and she began to glaze over. It became very apparent that Rosy is very sensitive to energy, and when her handler began to over-think things, Rosy disconnected. However, as soon as her handler put out a
clear intention of love, Rosy became completely engaged and followed her throughout the entire course. She was willing to move through the obstacles as long as she had that partnership, leadership and guidance. Once she felt that this was attained, she was amicable and giving. The value that Rosy gained from the liberty exercise was excitement, mental stimulation and activity, a platform to express herself, and human connection and loving energy.

During the in-hand obstacle course, Rosy explored her environment in a similar manner. She was a willing partner that moved through most obstacles with ease and fearlessness, accepting her handler as a leader. She needed some shaping during the car wash strip obstacle, which proved to be more difficult for her, but once this was provided, she willingly moved under it, and later through it, without any hesitation. Her value in this exercise was being able to deepen her connection with a human, and gain affection, leadership and confidence.

Rosy did not approach the scent boxes for over a minute after they were placed in her run. When she decided to investigate them, she used her nose and her tongue. She briefly sniffed the boxes one at a time while she was licking her lips, and did not show any preference for a particular scent. She only spent about 5 seconds with the boxes, and then raised her head to watch some people who were walking off in the distance. This was more interesting to her than the scent enrichment. Once she was finished watching the humans, she turned around and left the area where the boxes were to go to the opposite end of her run, and did not return.

Summary
Each of the three horses that participated in this project responded to, and interacted with, the exercises in different ways, and this was very apparent through my observations and those of their handlers. The body language and energy that they displayed and exuded during each of the new environments/situations that they were presented with told a very clear story about what they were thinking and feeling. Some examples of body language indicators that I used to interpret the messages that each horse was conveying include: posture and movements of the entire body, appearance of eyes and ears, how tense/stiff their muscles were, how quickly/slowly they approached an object, whether they actively avoided an object, how much distance they kept between themselves and the object, and themselves and their handler, the amount of time they spent near something, whether they darted through an obstacle or walked slowly, how much time/shaping/repetition was required to get comfortable with an obstacle, which objects were more difficult, which parts of their body they used to explore an object, etc. There are likely an infinite number of examples of this (subtle and dramatic) but these were just a few that I understood, and used to interpret what the horses were thinking and feeling during my observations.

In observing Captain, Jack, and Rosy during the exercises, they began to show us what their individual personality traits were, that each of them was unique, and definitely affected how they interacted with new objects/stimulation, and how they responded to their handlers in both of the obstacle courses. The most interesting part of this project for me, was that we were able to see different parts of their personalities come out depending on the exercise, showing the depth and complexity of each individual. If we had only observed Jack in the context of the two obstacle course exercises, we would characterize him simply as a sensitive, but willing horse who was lacking in confidence and in need of security and a light touch. However, the scent enrichment exercise showed very clearly that he also has a playful, creative, and inquisitive side to him.
Another example of this would be Rosy, and how she behaved during the obstacle course at liberty. When simply observed in her paddock, she appeared very withdrawn, and her behavior completely changed when she was given the opportunity to express herself in the arena and obstacle course. However, she was not particularly moved by the scent enrichment, and was much more drawn to the human activity nearby. Prior to starting the scent enrichment with Captain, I predicted that he would be highly engaged and curious during that exercise, based on his behavior in the obstacle course, and although he did spend some time exploring the scent boxes, he was not nearly as enthusiastic about them as Jack was.

In completing this project, I learned the incredible value in exposing horses to novel stimuli, whether this may be objects, situations, environments, or stimuli targeting a particular sensory modality, as long as it is done in a way that is safe for the horse and handlers. Doing so will not only allow a horse to express themselves and grow as individuals, so that we can learn about their personality and what motivates them as intelligent beings, but also allows us to provide them with optimal care, with consideration for each of them as an individual. I see this as being of great value
to any rescue facility because it could provide important information about the horse that could aid handlers in providing adequate care, and potentially rehabilitation for certain horses with behavioral problems, as well as in matching each horse with the right person for them during the process of adoption.

 

Does Equine Psychology intrigue you? Us too!  If you couldn’t join us for this year’s HHC but want to learn more, sign up for Anna’s newsletter, Diary of a Horse Whisperer, and get access to the insights and tips she shares about the psychology of Equus delivered conveniently to your inbox!

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