A Total Eclipse of the Heart…

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I’ve always known my herd was not yet complete. When my mare, Promise, was pregnant I felt very strongly she was having twins. (Luckily for us both, I was wrong!) I considered naming her foal, Eclipse, but when the foal came it was clear her name was Journey.

Fast forward 4.5 months. I had a huge intuitive hit that I needed to pay attention to the ROTH Foal Gentling clinic being held by Anna Twinney in Bend, OR, in partnership with Warm Springs Horse Alliance who rescues native foals from the Warm Springs tribal land, for which I have a strong affinity.  Perhaps in one of my many trips over the mountain where I greet the horses as part of ritual each time, I saw he and his herd roaming free before they were rounded up.  This part I will never know.

When they named him Eclipse I just knew.  That deep in your soul “YES” that won’t let go… The same feeling I had about Promise.  The same feeling I had so many years ago with Legacy.

Eclipse is 4 months old just like Journey.  Twins, sort of.  I knew I had a feeling and I was right. The Universe just planned it far more perfectly.  It always does.

Julie Jacobs

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From Hoof to Heart: Bridging Gaps Between Horses and People

Man’s relationship with horses dates back millennia. The progress of humanity and of industry is, in large part, due to the sweat and toil of these magnificent animals.
Even today, the world is torn between animal welfare and human desires. It’s sufficed to say that the word “relationship” is somewhat of an overstatement when classifying the co-existence of man and horse.

If the horse could speak, they might say the “relationship” is tumultuous, at best.

Today, horses are used less for work and more for pleasure. The horse industry sports an eight billion dollar a year economic impact in the United States alone. Still, the manner in which man communicates with horses is often tainted with force, myths, scare tactics and gadgetry.

Enter Anna Twinney, a respected authority on interspecies communication, the language of the horse and energy healing. Twinney, with her sunny smile, blonde locks, and lilting British accent is known as a “horse whisperer”.

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Twinney is a 20 plus year veteran of gentle horse training methodology. She initially studied with Monty Roberts, who came into the limelight after the popularity of the major motion picture “The Horse Whisperer”. Over the years, her hands-on experience, her dutiful observations of horses in the wild and her unique perceptions have developed into her own way of interacting she calls “Reach Out to Horses”.

Twinney seeks to help horse owners and lovers learn the language of the horse. She works to help them understand the energy and sometimes baggage they bring into a session with their horses. It’s all in an effort to create harmonious interactions that bring joy and happiness to both the horse and human. In addition to her desire to bridge the communication gap, Twinney is committed to helping nonprofits that help to rescue, rehabilitate and ready all types of equines. The vast majority of her work gives back financially to the facilities and programs she works with.

Twinney is fond of the adage “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” … without a complete education in the subtle communication of the horse, a language that goes far beyond simple body language and physical cues, people are lost as to how to accomplish anything, Twinney explains.

“Usually, people use force, fear, and gadgets to bend the horse to their will. Some people are cognizant that their choices are poor and some are oblivious. My mission is to give a voice to the horses and show people a way to work with compassion and cooperation, not coercion,” Twinney states.

Currently, Twinney travels the globe helping people who wish to work in concert with horses and seek a gentle and non-intrusive way to communicate. Usually, a training facility or a group of like-minded individuals will call Twinney to come and spend a few days with them in a structured, educational environment.

This summer will land Twinney in four different locations beginning July 24th in aid of untrained humans needing help with their young horses at Zuma’s Rescue Ranch in Littleton, CO, on to sweet foals in need of basic training to be adopted and more easily cared for.  She’ll fly to sunny California to work with untouched wild horses at a mustang sanctuary and finally, the courses will culminate in Arizona where Anna will teach horse owners dealing with behavior issues. These four unique courses are designed for students who wish to expand their understanding into everything from babies, youngsters, wild, and behaviorally challenged.

These courses may be taken together or individually, but do require a prerequisite. To learn more about what each course entails and the programs and horses that will be a part of the educational scope, follow the link here: t.e2ma.net/message/rsftp/fbi6zs
To learn more about the many unique ROTH programs and Anna Twinney, visit www.ReachOutToHorses.com

Reach Out to Horses, founded by Anna Twinney, exists to give a voice to the voiceless. A comprehensive education in the language of the horse for the purpose of deep connection, better understanding and eliminating force and fear in horse training.

Reach Out to Horses
Vin Mancarella
Vin@ReachOuttoHorses.com
PO Box 1913
Elizabeth, CO 80107
Office: (303) 642-7341

Reflections on Foal Gentling with Tribal Foals in Oregon By Laura E. Schumann

Laura and Crunchy

In this photo: Laura with the affectionately named “Crunchy.”

Part I:

My lessons are never soft and comfy.  Never easy, never simple, never just handed over and told, here you go-this is what you need to learn. Nope, not me, if there is a more challenging way to get my lesson, surely that will be my direction.  And the horses seem to know this as well.  And, well, so does Anna.  As a teacher myself, I can only confess I must say the words every teacher loves to hear.  So….here it is…..Yes, Anna you are right.  Now, to be honest, she knows this, but I am saying it anyway, because it is true.  I never doubted it, but sometimes a teacher can appreciate the honest acknowledgement-so herein, my acknowledgement.   (I will explain this in more detail further on).   In an end of day wrap up session, I listed off the variety of horses I have worked with in courses and clinics, and it was really one strong challenge and challenging horse after another.  So, live and learn, I grow and thrive, and I believe that this foal gentling was one of my most powerful, profound, and successful ROTH experiences.  In this very moment in time, as I sit at my desk at school preparing my next lecture, there is nowhere I want to be more than back with my foal-he was almost pushy, if you will, in reminding me of my lesson of being in the moment.  And although I must be in my moment now, I confess, I’d much rather be in that moment-with him J.

So, I really prepared for this.  Did my homework. Watched and watched the videos.  Remember- the farrier prep, the TLC, the haltering, the reach out, approach and retreat, grooming, back of the hand, not a claw, etc, right—got it, really prepared!  My horse was assigned to me: Crunchy.  Hm….not sure about the name-unique, quite the big personality, for a 4-month old still on milk….and oh, by the way—surprise! He’s dropped, too……

It seems my boy Crunchy already had a home and had been there for 3 weeks- he came back to us because his owner couldn’t catch him or really even get near him….and I quickly discovered he was a clever lad; he had learned exactly how to escape and knew just what would work—he knew to pin his ears, nip and bite (or, threaten it more than anything), and now and again, turn his bum… a clever boy indeed.  So-he absolutely pushed me to learn and grow. 

Day 2 we connected, he quickly grew bored of me and I became his plaything.  He was amused, but nothing more-at least I was getting close.  Day 3 was the rough one.  Something happened during lunch-maybe because his little buddy —- was out and free, and he wasn’t.  He became extremely riled up, and when I came to work with him, his energy hit me and I absolutely became jittery.  I was then in the pen with him, insecure and edgy, definitely ‘turnt up’, but not in a good way.  He immediately knew it, saw it, and took advantage of the situation-pinning, threatening, man he absolutely caught me and I was fearful of getting bitten or worse.  My confidence was low and he was indeed in charge of the pen and surroundings.  Sara was teamed up with me, and kindly volunteered to work with him.  With more confidence, she was able to approach and do some desensitizing, and we discovered that with her, his escape was to put himself into the corner, whereas with me he would pin ears, etc.  Interesting and helpful to discover.

On the upside, I had a golden moment that day anyway.  The little horse that was quite gentled came over to me as I sat watching others while my youngster slept-she came and stayed with me-to say, hey, you’re ok, it’s ok.  And so, when it came time for her to go-she had to get on the trailer, I asked if I might help.  As we began, I was told she hadn’t ever lead, and we would just herd her in—I asked if I might just go ahead, give it a shot- see if we couldn’t make it happen.  And sure enough, step by step, she came with me- we got her to the trailer, no panels, just a little help to motivate her from behind with a bit of energy-and I got her front feet onto the trailer with me-her caretaker gently lifted her back legs on-we did it!!! We lead her onto the trailer in a halter- a new trick for the caretakers involved!  My spirit flew.  Success for one foal- a new trick for the caretakers to see.  Chalk up another for the ROTH team!

We had our end of day wrap up, and everyone was more than kind-wanting me to open up to discuss the situation, and in a wonderfully supportive manner.  The conversation brought out my recounting several of the horses Anna had allocated to me throughout my studies, I named each one in turn, even surprising Anna with how many ‘challenging’ horses I’d had. 

As we moved forward, I determined to face him with my teaching energy.  And thus….he began treating me the same way as he had Sara.  He stopped threatening….we actually started to communicate, bond, create trust…and learning.  I recall struggling with an attempt to get the halter on.  Anna watching….called out, ok if you don’t’ get that halter on I’m coming in to do it.  Perfect. Just the motivation I needed-nope. NO WAY! My horse, I will halter.  And magically, I got the halter on….

…And the moment I got to his off side, He had blocked and blocked me, I finally asked, just the right way, with a little halter help-and there I was rubbing away on his neck, his head, his belly, all the off side.  Beaming proudly I called to Anna to see-and a quick little bugger he was-knew I’d left the moment set out to nip—what a reminder! What a powerful communication to remind me to stay in the moment-to remain totally and completely-with him.  Powerful lessons.  Powerful experience…even at 4 months I have nothing but great respect and admiration for the equine world and continue to be awestruck at the lessons, the journey, and the phenomenal ROTH experience.

On the final day, Crunchy’s owner came to see him and bring him home.  He walked over to the side of the pen where she stood, allowed her to touch him…she was blown away! She had chased him for three weeks and never got near him.  The trailer loading was a bit difficult.  I really wanted to try to lead him, but perhaps he just wasn’t ready.  So we herded him in, but the sun was so directly in eyes that I kept waiting for him to get out of that sun spot—doing something of a rather inconvenient dance—and I confess, as a teacher with a doctorate and I like to think with a few smarts-it never occurred to me to tell Anna the sun was blinding me-finally she noticed it, and came in to help-so the loading wasn’t as smooth as we would have liked, and unfortunately I had lost some valuable time with waiting for him to move out of the sun-but eventually we found success and he was headed for home.

I think about him often…..wonder how he is doing, hoping his owner is a bit more cognizant of his bold personality and awareness of his person being in the moment with him.

 

Part II:

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And with this awesome experience, I was recently reminded of something I had written for the ROTH newsletter my first time at White Stallion Ranch in AZ.  This was a few years ago, earlier in my ROTH journey.  We often struggle with our own abilities, insecurities, why am I doing this, etc etc….and yet I continue to pursue my path with ROTH.  Albeit slowly-something continues to compel me to remain on the journey. 

My year with horses last year was a very exciting and rewarding one.  Prior to the foal gentling, I had a few very encouraging experiences along the way.  I had returned to White Stallion and was given a different horse to ride- a very forward Arabian named Cash.  I’ve never had particularly strong feelings for Arabians—but this one caught my heart.  And….saved my bacon (so to speak).

We had a newer guide on a ride, and all things being considered, hey, everyone has to start somewhere, so I have no qualms about that.  She didn’t, however, quite have the gist of stopping a galloping string of horses.  And I must say, as much as I adore Cash, his gallop gets pretty wild.  It’s definitely a hang on style of run- so we were galloping pretty hard, and suddenly we see the horses in front of us completely stopped.  He spied it about a split second before I did, and honest to goodness, I heard him say to me “Oh Shoot!” (word edited here for courtesy).  As he did his best to skid to a stop, there was nothing he could do to not slam bam right into the horse in front of us- so he planted his front feet as best he could, and did an almost rodeo style massive flip to the left- landed in a bush (thank God not a cactus!) and as my friend Tori came up behind me (in a better position to see and slow down)—she said I have no idea how on earth you held on to that and didn’t go flying right off.  I said, I don’t know- he told me.  Somehow he just let me know he was going left and I just rode it over.  And I had the connection.  I got the message-I heard the whisper (although it was more than a whisper…..)

Part III:

And then I was at Anna’s clinic in West Virginia.  A few amazing, and frankly, life changing moments there.  One in particular stands out:  The night before, several of us helped bring a client’s horses into the barn/pasture area.  I was there barely in time to man the wide gate—and 1 horse,  Visionquest (whom I had met earlier that day and knew she was powerful with a big, bold, and commanding personality) came bounding past the 5 people placed  to hold her-straight toward me and the open gate.  No time for me to close the gate, and not a good thing for her to escape-I stood in the middle of the opening-and as she headed my way-we made eye contact.  And in that amazing 3-8 tenths of a second I heard the whisper.  I saw that 3/10 of a second hesitation in her eye.  And I looked right back and said, yup, that’s right; I’m not going to let you through this gate.  And just as she got to me, did the most amazing 180 turn back into the barnyard.  My heart was pounding, but in that crazy, defining moment-I stood my ground, because I had caught the whisper of hesitation.  She slammed around 5 other people (horse people, at that-who later, by the way, told me they weren’t about to stop that charging horse!) but I caught it.  And I stopped her.  And that, simple small, amazing moment, was defining.  And—here Is the part where I say Anna, you were right; you can’t teach feel you just have to feel feel. And as I continually grope, and struggle to get that- I knew, at least in that moment-I had gotten it.  One brief, fleeting moment-but it gave me just enough, just that feeling to say, yea, ok, I get it.  I still have a lot of work to do-but in that moment, I got it.  And what a WOW moment! Funny how one split second can provide so much.  And, it then gives you the drive, the courage, the desire to carry on, to know that you can learn so much, and maybe, just maybe….make a difference.  Might not be big, but that one moment-was worth a great deal.  That moment says; keep working, because you want another moment like that.  And that moment could make a difference for a horse or a person.

And so the journey continues.  And I am more than grateful for the opportunity to continue it with the truest and most authentic and sincere horse whisperer around.  Anna truly does this all for the love of the horse (and all animals), for the opportunity to catch the whisper and be the voice of the horse-while training people with life lessons and opportunities that simply don’t exist elsewhere.

Interested in Foal Gentling or working with the Untouched Ones?

Check out these DVDs offered by Anna to help give insight into successful handling methods and training techniques that take the whole horse into account.

Tell me more about the DVDs!

 

If you really want to experience the experience then join Anna on one of these courses in either Bend, Oregon, or in Shingletown, California this year!

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Babies are my FAVORITE!! Tell me more!

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Or if you prefer the wilder side of things, Reach Out to the Untouched Ones with Anna in Shingletown, CA, this August.  Space is limited for this one-of-a-kind experience in gentling mustangs with one of the world’s greatest equine behaviorists and linguists.

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Are you telling me there is a course for gentling mustangs?  Show me how it’s done!

Anna’s Courses Are All Set to Go! From Untouched Horses, to Foals and Problem Solving, it’s ALL Here!

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The starting process (aka breaking) under saddle is one of the most impressionable times of a young horse’s life.  If done correctly you move smoothly into an ever-lasting partnership, if done incorrectly you spend many hours, weeks, months or even years figuring out their history and reassuring them of a non-violent future.   
During this week you will learn and practice gentle communication methods.  These methods are proven, with positive results around the Globe, in all equine disciplines.  They are highly effective, safe and very efficient for not only young un-started horses but also to reestablish a more cooperative relationship with mature horses as well. Click the link below to learn more about this course and to register.
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Gentling foals can be some of the most important and rewarding work you will ever do. Over the course of 7 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.
Click the link below to better understand this course and register!
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Imagine being pulled out of your home, away from your family and friends and taken to an unknown place where you are introduced to foreigners who do not speak your language. This is exactly what these symbols of freedom so often experience. By understanding and attuning to these magnificent creatures, and seeing the world through their eyes, you will begin to master their language.
Immerse yourself in a 7-day workshop. This is a unique opportunity to observe wild horses in their natural habitat. You will begin to understand non-verbal communication with the natural world, be introduced to herd dynamics and develop a bond through building a trust-based relationship. Click the link to learn more about this very important course and to register!
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Discover some of the most common reasons for your horses’ remedial behaviors.  Through demonstration, discussion, human to human exercises and hands-on work with your horse you will be given the opportunity to create a tool box of methods and concepts to successfully solve behavioral problems.  You will solidify your ability to use methods based on trust and designed to have your horse want to work with you rather than feeling forced to do your bidding. Click the link to learn specific topics addressed in this course and to register.
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Each of the above courses are part of our Holistic Horsemanship certification program. Learn more about the program in its entirety, below. 
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The Importance of Having a Like-Minded Team

BY: Katie Dixon ~ Renegade Equine

In the fall of 2015, I was connected with a small but mighty rescue group called the Warm Springs Horse Rescue Network, who at the time had helped place over 500 foals in homes. This August, I was fortunate enough to coordinate and host the ROTH Foals Clinic in Sisters, Oregon. I was thrilled to bring the ROTH team of students and people who were interested together in central Oregon, as finding holistic and like-minded horsemanship had been a challenge.

 

The auditors, students, healers, rescue network, foals, and Anna (of course), contributed to a wonderful week of strong team building and brought awareness to holistic horsemanship in central Oregon, as well as connecting like-minded professionals living in the area .

 

Although we may be able to create positive change for our horses and clients on our own, it truly takes a whole-horse approach to be successful in rehabilitation of horses, or even if its not a rehabilitation case, to take them to the next level of physical health and performance.

 

It has taken a little over a year of stepping out of my introvert comfort zone and pushing myself to network with equine professionals to find and build my “dream team” here in Oregon.

 

The results of this year of work building connections and then hosting the clinic are multidimensional. This is the amazing holistic-minded equine team we have here in Oregon :

 

  • A barefoot trimmer who sees the whole horse and how to help them move better
  • Several body workers who can help the horse’s body release restrictions and move more fluidly, and also provide feedback as to how our physical conditioning plan is working from the body’s perspective
  • A few different veterinarians who are open to a holistic perspective or are practicing holistic medicine
  • Several saddle fitters who work to keep the horse and human comfortable to achieve their goals
  • A Nutrition expert to guide us through basic supplementation and feeding practices specific to our area
  • Quality hay providers
  • Local feed companies
  • A team of holistic trainers working together to better horse’s lives around us

 

Without permission from the horse and their human, the team isn’t able to get much done. It its inspiring to me, each day, when we give the horses we work with the ability to communicate and have an opinion about each aspect of their life how much information we are able to obtain.

 

You see, in order for harmony in your horse, you have to create harmony in your team. Some team members may have expertise in multiple areas, and each member of your team needs to be able to respectfully communicate and work together to help you accomplish your goals with your horse.

 

What I appreciate most about building a great team is having a community to discuss new cases with, and also having a group of people I can refer to that can be trusted and will be working for the good of the horse in their area of expertise.

It is our due diligence as equine professionals, to look at the information from our trusted team with open eyes and ears. We need to be willing to shift how we are approaching different aspects of our horse’s unique experience in the world. The balance of a horses psychological and physiological help depend on us being open to look at all areas of our horses lives: what we feed our horses, their living environment, what we ask them to do physically (and emotionally), how we balance their bodies, how we engage their minds, and how we support their growth.

 

When we utilize a multi-faceted approach, examined with a lens of honesty and integrity it is amazing how much we are able to help horses find balance and happiness in their lives.  When we are willing to communicate for the good of the horse with other professionals instead of pointing the finger of blame, we are able to solve the puzzle with that horse and help them to live a comfortable and happy life.

 

Although it takes some effort in networking, a little shedding of ego, a bit of rallying the troops so to speak to get “your team” built, I would encourage you to do so! ROTH as an approach to horsemanship encourages us to look at the whole horse when we are training, and there are some really great equine professionals out there who can help boost your team and ultimately help magnify the great work you are all already doing. We can only benefit from like-minded collaboration, and grow into more skilled and knowledgeable equine guardians.

 

You can’t go wrong having ROTH on your team!

My ROTH Trainer’s Path–“When the Student Is Ready, the Teacher Appears”

I can’t say that I remember signing up for Anna’s newsletters… but I was receiving them.  I remember opening one and feeling like the timing was perfect. The content spoke to me and offered something I could participate in from home, a webinar series on Holistic Horsemanship. This felt serendipitous, having recently become more involved with horses again. My mom and I loved the webinars, but I soon realized that I wanted and needed more in person — hands on experience with these methodologies. So, I went to Colorado to take the 2.5-day intro clinic and I loved it.

I grew up riding horses back east. My grandmother enrolled me in riding lessons every summer as a young girl. Gymkana, jumping, vaulting, trail rides and more. I loved the horses and my teacher.

Upon graduating from college with a BA in Documentary Studies and Photography, I moved to upstate New York and cared for my grandmother for 7 years.  After she passed, I moved back to Placitas, New Mexico. There I was immersed in and introduced to a whole new world of wild horses. They were literally in my back yard. I photographed the mustangs, also known here as “wild” or “free-roaming” horses, every time our paths crossed.  It felt powerful and special to connect with them as my dog and I enjoyed our walks on the BLM land behind my home. I learned more about the bizarre and intense issues spawned by these community horses.

Two mares were hit and killed in the Placitas village after seeking water during an intense drought, and this prompted me to become involved. I began documenting the wild ones as well as the horses that had recently been rounded up. No longer “free-roaming,” they were transitioning to a life of domestication — confined, engaging in day-to-day interaction with humans, getting microchipped by the livestock board, trailered, moved, vetted, etc. I used all of my tools to support their transition, particularly an energy healing modality called Crystalline Consciousness Technique™.

The grey stallion that was rounded up with his remaining mares was the first to get gelded. He was still very wild, not touched or haltered. The approach was to squeeze him in a secure area to heavily sedate him — enough to have him gelded, vaccinated, and his hoofs trimmed. Long story short, he was given too many drugs and had a hard time recovering from the sedation.  Everything went wrong, and in the end he had to be shot. This was quite a traumatizing experience, and very heartbreaking. It impacted me hugely, and I vowed that I would do everything in my power to prevent something like that from happening again. It was clear to me that the mustangs would have to be handled, haltered, and gentled to some extent prior to getting gelded in order to ensure that the procedure be safe, with minimal trauma and not life threatening.

Anna and ROTH were exactly what I needed. The Universe lined it all up. I have embraced the ROTH program and the education, experience and support its offered me as I learn and grow in my journey adopting, raising, and gentling Placitas Mustangs.

Anna likes to say I did her course backwards. I started with the Untouched Horse Clinic before the Foundation Course because that was my primary focus. I’m grateful that I did, but I also realized that I was lacking skills and training that the foundation course covered. I attended the 3-day Liberty clinic which blew my mind as it introduced me to a whole new world with horses. I continued with ROTH, taking the Foundation courses (1 and 3) and graduating in Fall, 2015.

I was granted the opportunity to take the Untouched Horse clinic one more time after doing part of the foundation and filling in the holes in my training. I enrolled in the Foal Gentling Clinic, and against my better judgement adopted my allocated foal because all the signs I received indicated that it was meant to be. I completed the Colt Starting Clinic, rumored to be the hardest. Indeed, it surprised me with a few firsts. I was kicked on day 1, and by the end of the week rode my first “baby”, a horse named Hopi. I then signed the contract and committed to the trainer’s program. Last month, I completed the NEW Simple Solutions Clinic and it exceeded my expectations. I loved everything about it. As I write this I am working on compiling my 20 case studies, done over the past few years, to submit for the Trainers Exams next month at Zumas Rescue Ranch in Colorado. My highlight is starting my own mustang Friendly, now five years old, under saddle with my ROTH sister Liv from Denmark for our Colt Start case study. What an exciting and fulfilling experience for us all! Friendly was also my first horse gelded (when he was 2) after the passing of the grey stallion. I was nervous, so I took my time and made sure he was haltered and ready and that I had a vet team I could trust.

My mom and I now have two dozen mustangs (after all the babies were born). They are our world, and have been for the past 3 years. We have received funding assistance from Animal Protection New Mexico, and have gelded three of our colts thus far — all free from complications.

Studying with ROTH has empowered me on many levels. Understanding the psychology and nature of the horse, and using it to support them in a trust-based partnership resonates with me on a core level. I trust that I was ready and that the perfect teacher, Anna, was placed in my path to help me and the horses I was adopting and raising. The timing was perfect to support a journey I never would have predicted. I believe completing the trainer’s exams will be a jump start for creating my own business as I move forward using all of my tools — holistic horsemanship, energy healing, essential oils and a deep desire to make a difference in the lives of humans and horses!

Clea Hall

Diamond’s Story: A tiny foal with a huge impact.

By: Yongkai Ow

Imagine yourself in the hooves of a little foal less than 6 weeks old – born into a large expanse of rolling hilly pastures where he and his family roamed free. Suddenly, he is separated from his herd, and he never sees his mother and father again, and he is then herded onto a trailer and taken from the only home he has ever known. It was Monday when he was taken from his home and on Tuesday, he is in a Reach Out to Horses (ROTH) Foal Gentling Clinic, with 10 other foals, all older than him by several months. He was rescued by the Warm Springs Horse Network and brought to the clinic to gentle and make his transition into the world of humans easier so that he can find his forever home.

 

He is overwhelmed and despondent, and does not know if he wants to live. His kind rescuers offer him milk, but he does not know how to drink milk from a bucket, so he does not touch it. Instead, he mechanically puts his head down to graze on the hay, chewing with his two little baby teeth, and moving obediently away from it when the other foals drive him off. There are a couple of older foals that allow him to feed near them, but when he tries to suckle on them, they too drive him off.

 

He spent the first day glued to the side of a larger filly, hiding from anyone who approached them in their pen. Terrified at any human approach, he pressed himself into the corner between the pen wall and the filly. The ROTH approach is a very gentle one, and because he was too traumatized to be separated from his filly friend, we let them stay together that first day, and I ended working more with his friend than with him. But that was ok, because he got to see how gentle our approach was, and understand that our contract with him was to never hurt him, and our intention was always to listen him, and give him a voice.

 

The next two days, he hid in a different way. Without any other horse in the pen with him, he decided to hide his head in a corner, and vacate his body, dissociation being the only way the little colt could handle the overwhelm. Despite being surrounded by his herdmates, most of whom were coming around to really enjoying being with humans, and having all his needs catered to as much as we could, our little colt was not comfortable, and kept going into the freeze mode. He stood in the corner, and endured our interactions with little enthusiasm, and slowly he started accepting touch, but only on his left side, and yet even with touch he would respond to it initially, then he would tense up, wrinkling his little nostrils and pursing his lips, then he would completely dissociate, standing still with that glazed eye and droopy head, spooking into a spin or a bolt when sudden movements startled him. He held everything within himself, only exploding when it all became too much for him! Despite being tired (although we let him rest as much as possible, taking into account his tender age) he was nervous, and stayed on his feet for most of the day, and only on day 3 did he actually lie down for a real rest, only to jump up at the slightest indication of anyone approaching the pens.

 

We supported him with essential oils, energy healing, and T-touch, all of which he seemed to enjoy, only for it to suddenly become too much for him, and then he would dissociate and then spook himself, spinning and bolting, which made him unpredictable and potentially dangerous when he grew older and bigger. To keep him out of the freeze mode, and ask him to stay more present with us, we started to ask him to soften his footfall as he moved around the pen. He was always given the choice to move or to stand, and we communicated with him through the ROTH methods of visualization, energy, and then body language, so he could innately understand us, since we were speaking his language, the language of Equus.

I felt he was starting to come around a little, but he was still either catatonic or explosive in his responses at the end of day 3. So I resolved to change my approach slightly, and instead of going into the pen to work with him, I stayed outside and engaged him in conversation. Using my intuition and guidance from the Horse Ancestors, I decided to tell the little foal that I could feel his pain and empathize for I too missed my mother, and my home. It was really heartwarming to see him turn and look directly at me for the very first time, and even though his glance was brief, it was a tearjerker how much sadness you could read in those young eyes. I tend asked him what he would like to be called, and with the aid of my trusty pendulum, I was able to discern that all the suggestions I had for his name were summarily dismissed. I got the feeling that he wanted a grand name to match him, and suddenly Diamond popped into my head, and when I said “Diamond” out loud, it did not need the pendulum to really confirm my hunch, because once again Diamond turned to look at me.

 

And despite this promising start to the day, he reverted to the behavior of freezing and spooking, and it was obvious that he was not yet sure he was willing to stay around, since he was still dissociating as much as he could. We could see tantalizing glimpses of that little soul that wanted the grand name Diamond, and yet it was as though we could not really reach him!

 

After watching me work with him for a while, Anna Twinney offered to come in and get a feel of him. This was the second time Anna worked with him, and despite the little monkey’s (as Anna affectionately addressed him) anxiety, Anna was able to keep him present for slightly longer periods, and in these brief moments, we saw more of why Diamond is such a gem, being so intelligent that he outwitted Anna briefly, only to have his ploy seen through the very next time he tried it on!

 

Through her magic, Anna got him to face up, not just with the left eye, but with both eyes. After his longest session in 4 days, Anna had him looking towards the gate, and I hear her say, “Kai, meet Diamond” and for the very first time, I saw a little spark in Diamond’s eyes. It was breathtaking and heartwarming all at the same time!

 

The little monkey was so tired after that session with Anna that he curled up like the baby he was and laid down to sleep, and for the first time in 4 days, did not even get up when people went close to his pen. Watching him snooze gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, that feeling that it will be ok, and Diamond has decided to stay with us after all.

 

The next day gave proof to that sentiment, when I could approach him from his right without causing a spook or a glazed eye. He was able to look at me, and I could see that he still held that spark in his eye. And lo and behold, he finally was drinking his milk. Granted, it could be his neighbor, Crunchy’s, obnoxious enthusiasm for the milk (he kept sticking his head through the fence to steal some) that interested Diamond enough to try it, but nevertheless, for the last four days, no matter how much the other foals did a dance of joy when the milk buckets were delivered, Diamond never even looked up! So this change, this shift in attitude, which started yesterday, must have been because of Anna’s final session with him. What is it about facing up from both sides, and seeing the world from both eyes, that makes a despondent horse change his mind, and want to live? Is the change physiological, perhaps facing up causing some hormonal or neuronal shift in little Diamond that gave him comfort, and the will to live? I do not know! All I know is: whatever shifted the baby was the eye contact between two beings, one horse-whispering human and one equine. Perhaps, as windows to the soul, this was a direct path that showed Diamond the beauty of both of their souls and gave him hope. To say the change was startling is truly an understatement. In one fell swoop, Diamond decided to make up lost ground and caught up to all his older peers in the last two days of gentling, and is so lovable that the owner of the facility adopted him that very last day and gave him a forever home.

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