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

Anna in the news… The Horse’s Hoof October Issue 2018!

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Handling Common Herd Dynamics

No matter age, color, breed, size, sex and appearance, place a herd of horses together and you will witness the dynamics unfold before your eyes.   Within moments horses become extremely “vocal” discovering their ranking, displayed clearly by who moves who’s feet.  From subtleties such as a glance, ear motion or energy shift, through to bold moves that include a charge, bite, kick and squeal!

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Horses can be born into leadership positions, groomed by their parents over time to become all they can be, displaying a passive form of leadership, while others fight their way to the top, bringing forth a dominant style of leadership.

One misconception is that alpha mares rule through dominance, and yet all too often they lead by a strong example of simply “being”, observing all and only acting when need be.  It’s the second in command, known as the dominant mare, who ensures much of the discipline is enforced and displays her emotions freely.

Within every herd there are very specific roles to secure a safe and harmonious environment, coupled with individual personalities and life’s imprint, herds bring forth colorful observations.

Remove unrealistic expectations and realize that our human behavior is equally reflected in our horses.  As we find loners and socialites, we find them in the horse world too. Those seeking adventure balance those seeking a simple life and there are natural born leaders together with followers.

Imagine a classroom of juveniles ruling themselves, or adolescents without parental guidance…where would this lead?   The very same place it would take the foals who find themselves orphaned and the yearlings unsupervised frolicking freely; often in a misguided place causing future behavioral challenges or social ineptitude.   Elders carry wisdom for those venturing into uncharted territory.

While we see wild horses gather cordially during daily water hole rituals, put isolated un-socialized stallions together, and you may find yourself faced with extreme violence and potential loss of life.  These are the extreme horse handling situations experienced over the years.

It would be remiss of us not to consider our horses’ environment, as space is a distinctive concern.  Behavior is often accentuated in small enclosures and of utmost importance for health and wellbeing.  Movement is a must.  And while horses are natural-born grazers, the presence of food influences all horse behavior.  Fighting often occurs when there is a lack – remove the lack and a more harmonious feel ensues.  Means is a strong motivator and where space is absent, slow-feeders take precedence.

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Another behavior consideration is the direct reflection of good or poor training techniques:

*          Inappropriate foal over-handling             =   crowding & unsuitable behavior/habits

*          Lack of socializing                                               =   social ineptness

*          Lack of knowledge and lack of boundaries    =  special boundaries and aggressive tendencies

*          Incorrect hand-feeding                                    =   crowding, mugging and biting

*          Stall-bound                                                        =   pent-up energy, vices/habits, physical issues, lack of socializing & often dangerous behavior

*          Stressful environment                                    =   vices/habits/emotional, mental and physical issues

*          Fear-based training                                         =   displacement/depression and aggressive tendencies

If you and your horses are happy and healthy, make no change.  However, if you feel concerned and your horses have incurred physical injuries, it’s time to make change and review your horse-keeping.  Take time to review your habits and patterns to find an all-around better solution.

IF Your Horse(s)

  • Has been moved recently…try accommodating for this time of transition and be the support he needs during this adjustment period.
  • Is not accepted in the herd…evaluate his personality, role, past and current mental, emotional and physical health…try building him up (through physical & complimentary therapies and nutritional support)
  • Are not worriers or performance horses and keep you to a schedule by kicking stall doors or containers…try simply changing the feeding times.
  • Are crowding the gate…try training them to take a step back and create the safe entrance space or organize feeders from the outside of the paddocks for your own safety.
  • Has a sudden behavior change…try exploring all recent changes to determine the cause and have him checked physically.
  • Does not want to be caught…try to discover the true cause of this behavior be it pain related, ill-fitting tack, your relationship, his activities/discipline, simply a lack of motivation and energy or his strong desire to be with his family herd.
  • Is classed as herd bound…try building a stronger partnership together through a trust-based connection while discovering his motivation.

 

A happy horse = happy human = happy trails

Make this year’s recipe all and more you had hoped for.

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About the author: Anna Twinney is a Natural Horsemanship Trainer, certified animal communicator and Reiki Master. She is unique in her field, as she solely works in the horses’ own language.  Anna became the only person ever to be entrusted with the title of Head Instructor at the Monty Roberts International Learning Center in
California. Exploring the “language of Equus” in its rawest form, Anna gentled mustangs in CA for 2 years before becoming the founder of the Reach Out to Horses® program. Her expertise is sought worldwide as she conducts classes and clinics to educate people & horses on gentle communication techniques while showing them how to have a true trust-based relationship. Anna has been featured on TV nationally & internationally and writes for equine magazines. She is not only one of the world’s leading teachers, but her interest in the “Language of Equus” has led her to focus increasingly on the power of animal communication to strengthen and deepen our relationships with all species. For more information visit: http://www.reachouttohorses.com.

We would like to thank Yvonne Welz, Editor of The Horse’s Hoof, for all she does on behalf of the horses and their people.  Truly an advocate of what is Natural and Holistic, Yvonne and her publication are a beacon to innumerable horse people who are looking for a better way!  Yvonne, we salute you!

 

Anna has an article in Valley Equestrian Newspaper

This month’s issue of the Valley Equestrian Newspaper has an article from your’s truly, Anna! And you can check it out for free.

Ever wonder what your horse would like for you to know? Well, here is a window into the world of horse whispering through the horse’s eyes.

The Inferior Teacher vs The Superior Teacher

By: Franklin Levinson

www.WayoftheHorse.org

“The inferior teacher tells you that something is wrong with you and offers to fix it. The superior teacher tells you that something is right with you and helps you bring it forth.” — Alan Cohen

 

I really like this quote from my good friend Alan Cohen www.alancohen.com.

The teacher really does make a big difference in how a student will learn. It’s like the difference between positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement when training horses. When we have equine behavior that is not what we want, it is easy to judge the animal as bad and either punish it or reprimand it. This is the same as a teacher trying to fix what is wrong with a student. We can make the choice to understand that most often the student (horse or human) has within them exactly the right behavior, the behavior best for themselves and us. Figuring out how to bring that desirable behavior forward is the key. Establishing that behavior as being the student’s own idea and choice really initiates a higher level of learning. Rather like it being a student’s own idea to study their lessons or practice the piano. The big question is how to have this result.

 

I think a real key to this is the attitude of the teacher. It is not so much what the teacher knows but how they teach what they do know. Some teachers are able to inspire students to take the initiative to learn and others make learning drudgery. Rather than focusing on what we do not want from the student, teachers can choose focus on what the student can do and then expand on that. This way the teacher does not have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ so to speak. Allowing the wheel to keep rolling, but perhaps modifying the direction or speed could be the answer.

 

Teachers might consider offering suggestions and various choices to students (again humans or horses) rather than telling them what to do. An interesting skill for the teacher is to know when a particular choice that is offered has a natural block to forward movement or progress. An example with a horse might be that if the horse wants only to move to the right and not turn to the left, the trainer can, when holding the horse with a long line, position themselves and the horse so that the horse moves at a walk or slow trot, without excitement, into a fence or wall every time it goes to the right. When it goes to the left the horse is offered open space and removal of the pressure (a calm few moments) of the request as its reward. Thus the trainer makes what they want easy and pleasant for the horse and what they do not want somewhat difficult without imposing a reprimand or punishment. A horse most often will look for the easy way out or the way of least resistance to its movement.

 

Additionally, recognizing and rewarding effort by a student is extremely important. For a horse, rewarding the effort is how to keep the animal trying. If it keeps trying it will eventually succeed and begin to learn of its own accord, which is always best. The same goes for a human student. Saying “good boy” or “good job” is like a pat on the back and positive reinforcement. Removal of pressure and a few moments of total peace is a super reward for the horse. Offering children praise for decent effort is a good thing. Being careful not to bribe a child, or horse, is important. Focusing on what is right is a great way to motivate learning and to build on an individual’s good effort.

 

I think another aspect of a superior teacher would be to not bring personal problems, upset and angry feelings into the classroom. Certainly we can all have off days. There are days when we would rather be somewhere else other than where we are. The ability to focus in the ‘present’ can do wonders to assist us in keeping a decent attitude. There is an old horseman saying that goes “leave your problems at the barn door.” While I think most would agree that not bringing our personal problems to our students is a good idea, hiding a down day behind a false smile is not so great either. Nobody can feel up all the time. But teachers who allow too much of a negative attitude into their teaching area, classroom or arena, show little self-awareness or awareness of the detrimental effects their attitudes can have their students. Attitudes tend to be contagious. So teachers/trainers need to be mindful of how their mood affects students, as well as finding appropriate ways to be honest with their feelings. The lack of integrity behind a false smile is often obvious and can turn off the desire to learn from that teacher. I think being true to our feelings and yet not laying them on others is a learnable skill that takes practice and awareness.

 

Another great way to teach is by example. For instance, if we want a calm horse we need to be calm when interacting with it. If we desire our students to be more focused we, as teachers/trainers, need to develop our own ability to remain focused. When we are consistent we support those around us in being consistent. When a teacher/trainer is consistent in a positive way the odds at success are greatly increased. For me it was always better if I was asked to do something rather than told to do it. A suggestion gave me the freedom to really do something because I wanted to. I think it is best to make any request very precise with a horse as they get confused easily. Confusion creates fear within a horse. Also, a request tends to have better energy than telling or giving a command or order. Precision in the communication is a more important than forceful or loud energy. The story about an English speaking person trying to talk to a Japanese speaking person and eventually shouting trying to be understood is often the reality of not being understood.  A common language is very important. The same situation with a horse is when we make a request in a normal tone and volume (asking calmly), and if we do not get a good response we begin to use more and more volume, energy and then force. This is shouting to a horse.  It is not the volume of the speech; it is the clarity that gets the point across. This goes for human students too.

 

Never taking anything a horse or human does personally can help us to be calm and precise in our communication. If we take anyone’s behavior, or what they say, personally, it is easy to get angry, upset and lash out to get back at them. I believe the truth in this situation is that the speaker is saying more about themselves than who they are speaking to. Also, it is helpful to have the understanding that there is possibly something inside of us that relates to what the other has said or done and this has prompted our negative reaction. Taking a look at what is not pretty or nice within us can be very upsetting. In this case, it is actually ourselves we are angry at and not the other. But often it is their ‘baggage’ that is prompting their outburst or attack. If we can accept that any perceived aggression or attack is actually a call for help from someone who is suffering, then we can more often maintain our own inner peace and perhaps find a way to help that individual find there’s. This requires a lot of kindness and compassion which are always good things for us to develop more of. Never get angry at or blame a horse for its behavior. All unwanted equine behavior is the animal showing its fear. If we are afraid, we are suffering and it is the same for the horse. In the face of suffering it is easier to respond with compassion. If we take the horse’s behavior personally, it is easy to get angry, judge the animal as bad and seek to punish them. Horses are always innocent, no matter what the situation.

 

In conclusion, I think it is obviously desirable to want to be a good and effective teacher or trainer and to work at it. This takes patience, time and attention to achieve. Most important is to simply do our best all the time. Consider the wonderful benefits for the human or equine student, and the teacher, by taking this path as trainers and educators. We are all students and teachers for each other (from the Principles of Attitudinal Healing www.attitudinalhealing.com.