A Total Eclipse of the Heart…

Eclipse

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

#eclipse

Half Halt Farm in North Salem, NY, Hosts Confident Horse, Confident Rider

In the first week in July Anna was in North Salem, NY, at Half Halt Farm where she shared her clinic, Confident Horse, Confident Rider, with the participants!

It looks like everyone had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed their instruction!

Anna often likes to stream live from her clinics and courses when she can to let everyone in on the fun and excitement of sharing the Language of Equus with the world!

Anna is blessed to work in some of the most picturesque equestrian facilities around the world!  A gorgeous indoor is always a blessing during the summer heat and even when the storms roll through!  We would like to thank Laura Evans at Half Halt Farm for bringing the ROTH message to those near and dear to her heart!

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Do you want to see what all the fuss is about?  Visit Anna’s event calendar and find an event near you to get a first-person experience with the phenomenon the is the Reach Out to Horses approach.  There is no other program like it in the world!

Go HERE for the Events Calendar

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“Life-changing” doesn’t even quite cut it…. Insights of a ROTH student post a trans-formative HHC experience.

Emily P. is one of our ROTH students who attended the HHC in 2016 and she wrote about her experience here with Anna and the other ROTH students who took part in the Holistic Horse Certification Course:

“It’s written in gratitude and is just a brief reflection on the two-week course and its continuing ripple effects on my life and path.”

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It’s the kind of magic you don’t realize has fallen around you until you pull out of it. When you pull out of it, your body feels strange and alone and kind of tingly because without realizing it, you had molded to a space, and all the human people, and non-human people, shared energies, excitements, dreams, and the fears that composed it.

“Life-changing” doesn’t even quite cut it. The horses and humans that I got to learn from over the past weeks held space for me to step into myself in a way I hadn’t before; they made it safe to do so. They illuminated a path that I had been too afraid, or confused, or perhaps just not ready to see clearly before now. At first, our group felt to me like a bunch of overeager, slightly clumsy dancers attempting to learn rhythm (which we were literally trying to do as this is not just a metaphor – Elaine’s specialty is getting stiff and nervous hips to loosen up). But we managed to choreograph the beginning of something – certainly not a masterpiece yet – but we felt it, those opening beats.

For me, it always comes back to connection – the thick, full, rich, recognition between two beings; the I am here, I am with you, I hear you, I love you.  It is absolute presence, and the courage to fully give yourself to someone else, even for a moment.

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This is what horses give me, and this is what I feel is missing from much of human society. We are terrified to recognize each other, to be present with each other, to let ourselves be seen and not shy away from who we are. Without that, things quickly become – to use one of Anna’s phrases – rather pear shaped. The general feeling I get living in the United States right now is that as a society we are tripping over ourselves trying to achieve more and be better and control everything, terrified to stop and look at ourselves in the face, terrified to be present, terrified to wait for anyone else but ourselves. We carve out and deepen a significant void in the world when we forget how to connect.

I was doing a lot of this in the month leading up to this course – a lot of over-planning my life, trying to set up five career paths in my head because the uncertainty ahead of me is so terrifying, a lot of zooming around avoiding fear and loneliness and refusing to trust the universe in the face of so much unknown.

The horses made this very clear to me as soon as I got to the horse. I was nervous the first few days, anxious to prove myself. There are a few moments and horses that stood out in particular along the way. Lola showed me how powerful I could be when I stepped out of my anxiousness and into the immediate experience of being with her. She was difficult to catch, so I had to slow my pace, wait for her to reach out to me. I remember my breath slowing down, and I remember staying with her in the round pen, in the quiet elasticity we’d developed before I’d haltered her, and forgetting about everyone watching me for the first time. Stepper was an incredibly kind teacher as well; I was viscerally moved by his triggers (flinching every time someone raised an arm to the side of him, particularly on the left) and so touched by the softness in his eyes despite the abuse he so clearly remembered.

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Image of Emily and Stepper

On the last day, before our exams, I was walking around Zuma’s, knowing I really needed to show up – for myself, for my teachers and peers, but especially for the horses. I was listening to music in my headphones, letting out the self-doubt I’d been fighting against and replacing it with fresh air. My walk changed, and I began to laugh at myself for all the fear and self-scrutiny, because I had accessed something so much deeper, a fierce determination that will carry me through life and a gratitude for this sudden feeling of connection. My mind moved to Captain, and I was full of excitement to spend an hour with him, because I really believed again that I had something to offer, that I had love, fun, leadership and energy to share with him. And I went into his pasture full of this excitement just to be with him, to discover him, and we both showed up. And he gave me himself, he played, we heard each other, and we choreographed a space together in which I forgot about everything else.

And nothing replaces that feeling. Nothing in the world.

Horses are incredibly rhythmic beings. Their cerebellums, which control movement, are much larger than humans’, and their ability to move in harmony with the other beings around them is unparalleled. If there is one reason I have kept returning to horses over and over, it is this; whenever I feel off-kilter in my life, or out of balance with myself, horses bring me back into rhythm – literally, as I find myself moving from a more centered place, and also emotionally and spiritually. They also challenge me to adapt to the rhythms and perceptions of the other beings around me, not just my own. Perhaps this is why I have never felt anything quite as expansive as working with horses, and my desire to learn from them will never be satiated.

Thank you, Anna and Elaine, for widening my access to and understanding of the world of Equus a thousand fold.

Emily P3

 

We certainly look forward to seeing Miss Emily again on our courses as she enjoys the present moment in time and engages all the other souls around the way in which only she can, the humans and the non-humans 😉   We love you, Emily!

 

ROTH Certified Trainer/Instructor Elaine’s Account of How to Best Begin to Capture the Whisper

Words of Wisdom from the ROTH Trainer/Instructor who conducted Horse Whispering 101:

There are a great many levels to horsemanship, but we all start at the beginning. And it is where we begin that we either have to build upon or to overcome.  By this logic it would be much more efficient to start from a place that won’t cause you to back track.  It is the minority who have their first experiences with horses taught with the horse in mind; whether it be a simple riding lesson that is entirely in the saddle with little to no bonding from the ground, or a child growing up on a ranch with less concern for the well-being of the animals, there are long-standing professionals who never know what is literally and physically under their noses… and their butts.  They will have a longer way around to the truth than someone who is shown the potential of equal partnership from the gate.

But even if you are in the thick of the old way of working horses and you had an experience that caused fear around horses, or you seemed to have waited a lifetime to make that first touch, it is a great time to start listening and to let the truth sink in.  Horse whispering isn’t a mystical power; it is not granted to a select few. It is something with which we are all born. It is compassion and it is love.  Our stories will, at times, either try to pull us away or they will guide us towards this way of being.  It is our responsibility to reach for the betterment of all in the process.

It was an honor to help five amazing women find this truth as they embarked on a new chapter of working with horses. Teaching the Horse Whispering 101 Course this year at Happy Dog Ranch, in Littleton, CO, was a magical week of wonder and joy. The horses and the team at the ranch helped to facilitate the journey and make real change in the lives they so graciously hosted.

Nothing but gratitude to Anna and Vin for making it all possible,

Elaine Ackerly

ROTH Certified Trainer/Instructor

Christine Matthews Shares about Her ROTH Internship

Internship at ROTH

 

When Anna and Vin initially suggested I return to Colorado to do a 3 month internship at the ROTH Ranch after completing HHC, my first thought was what a wonderful opportunity it would be to learn so much more.  My second thought was “F$%&!  Me?  An intern?  They must have either had too much Costa Rican sun, got the wrong person, or forgotten that I’d only just managed to overcome my fear around horses enough to get a halter on – well, half on – without desperately seeking the nearest fence to vault over – or perhaps crawl under would be more apt!  Of course, they hadn’t and my time with them has been wonderful.

The goal was to have more handling experience, and to become more familiar with the day-to-day running of a horse ranch: feeding, pasture management, fencing, being present for equine professional visits (farrier, chiropractor… etc.) and, of course, getting to know the horses, their needs and understanding the dynamics of the herd a little more.  My greatest challenges were fear, of which I still had a sizeable amount, and the belief in myself that I could actually achieve what was required in an internship, particularly the physical requirements.  I developed a very effective stalling strategy when doubt or fear crept in called “I can’t!”  Anna, thankfully, had an even more effective counter-strategy called “Yes, you can!”  She was right!!  I could!

Honey and I

I have learned so much and as it is with the most valuable kind of learning, this has been on many levels.  I also know there is much more to learn.  My fear has diminished greatly in comparison to what it was and without it getting in the way so much I have been able to experience the joy of “being” with the herd and “seeing” them in a way I wasn’t able to before.  I feel great gratitude for this, for what the horses have shown me about myself, and for the healing this has brought.  Great gratitude, too, goes to Anna and Vin for the bestowing of their knowledge, their unwavering support, and the amazingly good humor shown as a strange Kiwi/Brit blundered about within their lives and all over their property!  Even more gratitude goes to the universe for instigating everything and for keeping everyone, human, equine and canine, alive and intact, while that blundering went on!!!  It has been ……………amazing!

Photo Credit: Lacey Knight

Giving The Horses a Voice in Fall City, Washington

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Giving Our Horses a Voice

By Jim “Hutch” Hutchins, Director of Education, NWNHC

Our horse has no voice if we do not listen. This is one of my favorite quotes and the main reason I have had Anna Twinney bring the Reach Out To Horses program to the Northwest Natural Horsemanship Center (NWNHC) for the last three years.  Listening is not just trying to figure out what our horse wants, but understanding him holistically and “hearing” what he has to say.  Again this spring Anna helped us all become more in-tune with our horses with an amazing mix of animal communication, TLC, liberty and driving training.

In just three days, twenty-one students and auditors found in themselves and their horse new levels of understanding, knowledge and growth.  But most importantly…progress.  It was amazing to see horses and humans take incredible strides in resolving issues, balancing their horse’s emotions and creating an active, two-way conversation.  In the liberty and driving sessions there were many emotional moments. There was nary a dry eye when a long-neglected horse finally found it had a voice and partner in its new owner.  And the new owner found the potential she knew the horse had.

For the first time, we also had an evening workshop on animal communication.  The thirty-three participants included horse enthusiasts and pet lovers who wanted to better understand inter-species communication and how it can help them with their animal relationships.  As anyone who has done an animal communication class with Anna can tell you, we learned to be more in touch with our own sensitivity and how to interpret and channel the “sixth sense” we all feel at times.

Thank you, Anna, for opening our minds and our hearts.  And thank you for helping us truly give our animal companions a voice.

2017 ROTH Class(Above)  Intuitive Riding Clinic Class Image from April 2017 in Fall City, Washington.

 

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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!