In Partnership with Horses as Healers

Equine Facilitated Learning or Equine Facilitated Therapy is a vast ocean of nuances and subtleties. What means something to one person might be misinterpreted or completely misunderstood by another. We can’t really assess a horse to see if they would be as a therapy horse and Anna Twinney (founder of Reach Out to Horses and life coach for over 30 years) explains why in this lecture at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo. She also goes into how we can support our therapy and coaching horses to make sure that the exchange is not a one-way transaction of them only supporting us.

To purchase Anna’s DVD set: In Partnership with Horses as our coaches, healers, messengers, and teachers, go here: Take me to the DVD

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For more videos from Total Integration Tv, go to Ti-Tv.tv or, visit Dr. Vickie Wickhorst’s page at ColoradoSageLearningCenter.com for more on Quantum Healing and Health!

The Language of the Horse Demo at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo

Anna utilizes the round pen to demonstrate what it looks like to hold a conversation with two different horses in their own language, the Language of Equus. Listen closely and discover just how much can be learned about a horse in a short period of time and what kind of a conversation we can have when we are tuned in, aware, and focusing the mind on the silent and often invisible conversation at hand.

For more videos from Total Integration Tv, go to Ti-Tv.tv or, visit Dr. Vickie Wickhorst’s page at ColoradoSageLearningCenter.com for more on Quantum Healing and Health!

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Horses Acting Out as a Form of Communication

Venture with Anna into the world of communication and the frequent disconnect between humans and horses. Not many clinicians will put a participant in the horse’s place so the audience has the added benefit of clarity around the concepts in the way that Anna can.

Listen closely and then take a chance to question your methods and practices. Are you doing what you have always done for lack of a better option or simply because it is what you were taught one, two, or even three decades ago? How does what you do come across to the horse? Are you clear, and if you think you are, how does the horse know what you want? Get honest and vulnerable enough to ask yourself these questions and more in order to develop a relationship with your horse that you may have only ever dreamed was possible!

For more videos from Total Integration Tv, go to Ti-Tv.tv or, visit Dr. Vickie Wickhorst’s page at ColoradoSageLearningCenter.com for more on Quantum Healing and Health!

Reaching Out to Horses in the Round Pen

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Once more, our lovely friends at The Horse’s Hoof have featured Anna in their online publication.  We are so pleased to be partnering with them to reach more and more people who are interested in Natural, Holistic Horsemanship!

Reach Out to Horses by Anna Twinney

Horses have walked this Earth for more than 54 million years.  While some do not consider them among the brightest of the animal kingdom, most are unaware that through their lengthy tenure on this planet they have created an effective non-verbal language that some have coined “the language of Equus.”  This is a language that goes well beyond the unspoken.  Through careful observation, humans have been able to interpret and adopt this method of communication.

Originating from the horses’ body language, behavior, interaction and herd hierarchy, humans can now speak with them through our own body language, gestures and even our intentions.  This language, like any, requires patience and practice.  It can be taught to anyone but fluency only comes from time spent observing and communicating with the native speakers.

Not only can horses read the body language of every member of their species they can read humans just as easily.  They can, almost immediately, see your agenda and how you are feeling.  They will highlight your strengths and weaknesses.  In effect, they know who you are and what that means to them in a very short period of time.  You can lie to yourself but you can’t lie to a horse.  Therefore, it’s important that you begin every interaction with a clear mind, leaving “all your baggage” at the gate.

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One place to start the conversation with your horse is the round pen.  Using the round pen as your classroom can be very helpful in creating a trust-based relationship.  This type of conversation is the foundation to all interaction, every ground session, ridden work and ultimately your success.  A 50-foot round pen is suggested as it allows free motion for horses of most sizes.  It’s also important to make sure you have appropriate footing, which is essential to maintaining health and fitness.

This is an example of a typical session in the round pen.  It’s important to note that this is an overview and is not intended to be a formula or a “quick fix” to solve behavioral issues and requires dedication and commitment to learn and apply.  Remember that communication takes place whenever you are together.  Each gesture and motion you make says something to your 4-legged partner.

Familiarization:  Horses need the chance to explore the round pen at liberty.  They naturally check out their perimeters, take time to settle and to explore the vicinity through their senses.  Each horse is an individual and as such will react in different ways to different circumstances.  This 15-20 minute period is an ideal time to observe their character and learn to read thier personality.

Orientation:  This is the official introduction and there are many important steps in this portion which include:

  • The introduction to the four directions (N, E, S, W) of the round pen
  • Introduction of body language
  • The opportunity for handler to read horse and horse to read handler
  • The time for the adrenaline of horse and handler to subside
  • Creation of a comfort zone in the center of the round pen
  • Creation of a safe distance between horse and handler
  • Manipulation of speed and direction by the handler to gain leadership

Communication:  In a natural herd environment, hierarchy is determined through many factors, one being the manipulation of speed and direction.  As mentioned in the orientation process, the handler adopts this practice in the round pen environment.  The connection between horse and handler takes place before or during the orientation, with a herd of 2 being formed.  Once the herd has been formed and the orientation has been completed, the handler asks the horse to leave by driving them away using body language.  This is the time to make character assessments, to complete a health check, and to begin forming the partnership with the horse.

A higher-ranking horse will use his body language to communicate or punish another by sending them out of the herd.  This gives a strong message as banishment is a grave risk to their survival.  Through the position that the handler takes of driving the horse forward, he will retreat.  This is a form of advance and retreat, also known as pressure release, and has been used by horsemen for centuries.  The handler then adopts equine body language by squaring his shoulders, placing his eyes on the horse’s eyes, and advancing forward in an assertive manner.  The combination of proximity, speed, movements, and eye contact can mean a number of different things.

As prey animals, horses naturally run for ¼ to 3/8ths of a mile before they stop to assess what made them flee.  This distance is roughly translated to 7-8 revolutions in the round pen.  The fleeing that is induced should not be through fear, but rather a request for forward motion.  The handler takes possession of any area the horse stands in at any given moment, hence gaining leadership.  A speed slightly beyond their natural gait is best and will often be in the form of a canter.

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When it feels like the right time to change direction, the horse is asked to change direction towards the round pen wall through the handler’s body positioning.  The same process of asking the horse to leave is repeated in this direction.  Unlike humans, horses only transfer about 20-50% of all information from the left to the right side of the brain and, as such, they consider this to be new ground that they are exploring.

Once the horse has explored both directions he is then asked to return to familiar ground, pressure is reduced but an active involvement is maintained.  An assertive walk forward is continued, while allowing the horse to reduce his speed and maintain focus and attention.  The handler’s body language becomes a little softer as his intention changes.  This procedure is also helpful because the horse will often reveal his history during this time.

The horse will begin to communicate his desire to return to the herd of two.  He will relay very clears signs, such as reducing the size of his circle, relaxing his jaw and neck, and many other gestures that require some study for the handler to recognize.  These are all desired responses that need acknowledgement through a release of pressure resembling a drop of the eyes, a relaxing of shoulders, slowing of the walk, or a hesitating in the line throwing.  This is what makes it a conversation, rather than a demand or simply talking at the horse.  Each try by the horse should be acknowledged in this manner.   Overall, the handler is looking for a complete feeling of unity and a commitment from the horse prior to inviting them back to the herd.  This will come with experience and the whole of the “Reach Out” process generally should take no longer than 15-20 minutes.

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Reach Out to Horses:  A suitable moment is identified to invite the horse to become part of the team again.  The invitation takes the form of a sweeping motion in front of the horse and is similar to the natural gesture of displaying one’s flank, while eating.  The passive nature of the maneuver asks the horse to slow down and step closer.  He will choose to stay close to the wall, come part of the way or all the way to the handler.   If the communication is done correctly but the horse does not return to the handler this may possibly point to a problem, issue, or habit the horse developed before the session.  Ultimately, the greatest compliment is that the horse comes up to the handler and reaches out towards him with his nose.

Close Connection:  An invitation to the horse is given to come into the heart space where he receives lots of reward and reassurance – creating a close connection.  A rub on the forehead will reinforce his positive behavior.  The ultimate reward for a horse is the release of pressure, which translates to walking away.  Horses naturally move in arcs and angles so, when the time is right, the handler walks away in a clockwise direction to perform a figure 8.  The qualities of a leader are displayed to bring the horse back to the center of the round pen, which becomes a familiar comfort zone.

 

Reaching out to your horse is the foundation of all communication.  It can take on many forms and will allow you to learn to read and communicate with your horse, while building a trust-based relationship.  It is the beginning to all success and will aid in improving existing relationships, embarking on new partnerships, and assessing character and health.  From here, you can lead into starting young horses, problem solving, improving ground manners, teaching to lead & load, eliminate kicking, biting, and rearing, just to name a few.  Creating this trust-based relationship with your horse can be a magical experience and the moment you feel that true partnership is a moment you will never forget.

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The First Hello

Coal was gathered from the Little Book Cliffs in October of 2018, recently brought to the BLM holding facility and onto auction. His first impressions with humans was unkind; losing his herd, home, and identity. He was adopted on Saturday, by a young lady named Jade, making her dreams come true. This was Coal’s first gentling session with Anna, his first hello and first impression. Less is more in the beginning. Quiet confidence while communicating with a gentle purpose are a few of the key elements to your relationship with a Mustang. “If you ever have the opportunity to spend a day with Anna Twinney, please do. When it comes to connecting with Mustangs she’s one of the very best.”

~ George Brauneis

Mustang Demo with Jade and Cole and Anna

Above, Anna instructs Jade with regards to the Mustang’s unique Language.

Watch below the video of Anna saying Hello to Coal for the first time.  Simply click on the video to watch.

Read the story of how Jade met Coal and the lengths she went to to bring him home with her in this article in The Daily Sentinel:

“During a hike with her grandmother in the Little Book Cliffs last March, Jade Walker caught sight of a magnificent wild horse — a blue-gray beauty with black marks and a long black mane.

The girl was thrilled when the horse came toward her a ways over a small hill. She, in turn, followed him back.

“I think we have a connection somewhere,” Jade said Saturday as the Mustang waited nearby in a pen with other wild horses.”

Read the Rest of the Story Here

This is NOT a Rehearsal. This is NOT a Show. Let the Mustang Demonstration Begin!

We arrived with just 10 minutes to spare having driven over 5 1/2 hours through fog, rain, snow, sleet, and hail to get to Grand Junction, CO, in time to support the Mustangs at the auction and particularly Friends of Horses & Steadfast Steeds with Tracy Harmon Scott and George Brauneis who work hard to give these amazing horses voices and homes.

Follow along for the live streaming of these wild horse 🐎 demonstrations. Part 1 of 4  and catch up on all of the valuable information in these demos that you might have missed.

Mustang Demo with Rango 3 Rango and Anna

Click on the Link to the Video Below to watch the Live Streaming of this event and more!

Watch all of Anna’s Live Streaming over the Weekend with the Mustangs Here

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This is not a rehearsal, this is not a show. It’s live from CO! We have never met before and the demonstration begins!

Many mustangs adapt to life away from the range and some find a way to cope. Imagine knowing just how to reignite their spark and to encourage them to wake up – to find a new identity. That’s where I come in. Bringing 20 years of wild horse gentling to them as I recognize the position they find themselves in and offer a chance of expression and understanding.

Shout out to Lani Salisbury and Jill Haase for joining the ROTH team this afternoon. What true troopers they are. Dedication personified.

Ongoing appreciation for George Brauneis and Tracy Harmon Scott for inviting me to join them at this event in support of the Mustangs.

In Gratitude – $1500 Raised for America’s Mustangs!

A BIG and heartfelt THANK YOU to those who joined us on the Western Slope for the weekend of Mustang Horsemanship in cooperation with Steadfast Steeds and also to support Friends of the Mustangs.  We raised $1,500 in support of the Mustangs at Steadfast Steeds.  Thank you to ALL who showed up, who suited up, and especially those who adopted and want to know more.  We salute you!

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Sunday at Steadfast Steeds was pretty amazing. The weather was crisp, and we bundled up. The love story of Jade and Cole continued, as Anna did a demo with them together.  Anna demonstrated wild horse gentling and guided participants so they could try out some of her methodologies. It’s such a cool experience to see Anna in action, we absolutely love when she comes to town and shares her gifts with others! Thank you, Anna, for being here again this year! (from our newsletter) We had twelve participants at the clinic.

~Tracy Scott

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“My favorite moment from today’s Mustang Gentling Clinic with Anna Twinney!! Coal (who was adopted by Jade yesterday) and Jade are making their first connection as Anna coaches them both.”

~George Brauneis