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 2017 ROTH Calendar is Here!

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 The Places You Can Go with ROTH 
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Animal Communication, Energy Healing and Horses,
Costa Rica
For More information Contact: Nancy
kindredconnectionscr@gmail.com
011-506-8703-1561
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Healing Horses at the Historic Bitterroot Ranch
A Unique Reach Out to Horses® Program! Become a certified Reiki Practitioner Level I & II: 4th – 11 , Reiki Master: 3rd-11th while attending a tailor-made Reach Out to Horses® clinic.
Bitterroot Ranch, Dubois,
Wyoming
Accommodations:
Hadley Long-Fox
bitterrootranch@wyoming.com
(800) 545-0
019
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Animal Communication
Dream Retreat
White Stallion Ranch, Tucson, 
Arizona
Contact: Reach Out to Horses
info@reachouttohorses.com 
For Accommodation
Contact: Carol Moore
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January 24 & 26                                                 

Animal Communication Mentorship Program
Online or In Person
Tier One: Home Study
Tier Two: Starts January 24th
Tier Three: Starts March 18th
(Comprehensive Mentorship Program Including All Previous Webinars)
February 24-26th                                                  

Watsonville, California | Pregnant Mare Rescue
February 24th: Introduction to Animal Communication
February 25-26: Animal Communication Weekend: 
Exploring Animal Communication with Rescue Animals and Animals As Our Soulmates. 
March 18th and 19th                                           
Elizabeth, Colorado
Animal Communication Weekend – Live vs Distance Consultation
Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage
RMSAAM
Contact: Jenny – (303) 660-9390
information@rmsaam.com
March 18th – 23rd                                             

Elizabeth, Colorado | Reach Out Ranch
Animal Communication LIVE Mentorship Program – Week 1
March 20th – 23rd                                             
Elizabeth, Colorado | Reach Out Ranch
Four Day Animal Communication Class
April 20th                                                     

Fall City, WA
An Evening of Animal Communication
The Northwest Natural Horsemanship Center, 
Jim “Hutch” Hutchins
nwnhc@nwnhc.com
425-222-3623
nwnhc.com
June 22nd                                                        
Kalispell, Montana
An Evening of Animal Communication
For Location & Accommodations
information contact Nancy at:
nancyhorne@centurytel.net

or call (406) 756-2327
December 8th-13th                                               

Elizabeth, Colorado | Reach Out Ranch
Animal Communication Live Mentorship Program – Week 2
December 9th-12th                                              
Elizabeth, Colorado | Reach Out Ranch
4-Day Advanced Animal Communication Class
Contact: Vincent Mancarella
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April 21st – 23rd                                                
Fall City, Washington | The Northwest Natural Horsemanship Center
3-Day Intuitive Riding
SOLD OUT! Auditing Spots Available
Jim “Hutch” Hutchins
nwnhc@nwnhc.com

425-222-3623
nwnhc.com
June 17th & 18th                                                
Broomfield, Colorado | TBA
2-days of Horsemanship with Anna
Confident Horse, Confident Rider
Joan Matteo
Contact: Vincent Mancarella at
June 23rd – 25th                                                 
Kalispell, Montana
3-Day Intuitive Riding with Anna Twinney
For Location & Accommodations
information contact Nancy at:
nancyhorne@centurytel.net
or call (406) 756-2327 
June 30th – July 2nd                                             

Vermont ~ TBA
3-Day Intuitive Riding with Anna Twinney
Contact Kristen Mason for more information
reininghopeaeaat.com
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September 10th – 22nd                                         
East Haddam, Connecticut | Ray of Light Farm
ROTH 2-week Holistic Horsemanship CERTIFICATION course – Section 1
Contact: Ray of Light Farm
Email: info@rayoflightfarm.org 
or call (860) 873-1895
September 26th – October 8th                                     
Littleton, Colorado | Zuma’s Rescue Ranch
Contact: Vincent Mancarella at 
info@reachouttohorses.com
Location: Zuma’s Rescue Ranch
info@zumasrescueranch.com
(303) 346-7493
October 24th – 30th                                              
Littleton, Colorado | Zuma’s Rescue Ranch
7 Day ROTH Trainers Exams
Contact: Vincent Mancarella at
Location: Zuma’s Rescue Ranch
info@zumasrescueranch.com
(303) 346-7493
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May 22nd – 27th                                                

 Littleton, Colorado |Happy Dog Ranch
Horse Whispering 101
with ROTH Certified Instructor Elaine Ackerly
Contact: Vincent Mancarella at info@reachouttohorses.com
Location: Happy Dog Ranch
happydogranch.org 
(303) 915-8531
July 24th – 30th                                                
Littleton, Colorado |Zuma’s Rescue Ranch
Colt Starting 101
Contact: Vincent Mancarella at info@reachouttohorses.com
Location: Zuma’s Rescue Ranch
info@reachouttohorses.com
(303) 346-7493
August 5th – 11th                                               
Bend, Oregon |Warm Springs Horse Network
Foal Gentling the ROTH Way
Contact: Katie Dixon renegade.equine@gmail.com
(802) 222-1163
August 14th – 20th                                              

TBA
Reach Out to the Untouched Horse:
A week with the wild ones
August 26th – September 1st                                   
Green Valley, Arizona |Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary
Simple Solutions:
A week of Advanced Horsemanship with Anna Twinney
Contact: Vincent Mancarella at info@reachouttohorses.com
Location: 
Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary, Tucson, AZ
(520) 398-2814
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March 6th                                                       
Golden, Colorado | Jefferson Co. Fairgrounds | 7:30pm
In Partnership with Horses. 
Horses as Our Coaches, Messengers and Healers
A Presentation at the Jefferson County Horse Council
Contact: Andrea Raschke
www.jeffcohorse.com
March 9th-12th                                                 

Denver, Colorado | National Western Complex
The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo
                                             
April 8th                                                      
Glade Park, Colorado | Steadfast Steeds
Holistic Horse Day
April 15th                                                     
Broomfield, Colorado | TBD
Holistic Horse Day
Joan Matteo
Contact: Vincent Mancarella at info@reachouttohorses.com
April 28th-30th                                                 

Centennial, Colorado | Friends of Horses Rescue
3-Day ROTH Liberty Clinic Event
Contact: Vin Mancarella for course details at info@reachouttohorses.com
Location: Friends of Horses
fohrescue.com
Contact Bill Stiffler
whstiffler@msn.com
June 29th                                                     

Vermont (location TBA)
Holistic Horse Day
Contact Kristen Mason for More Information
reininghopeaeaat.com
                                                 VIEW OUR CALENDAR BY MONTH

Have a Life Changing Summer with ROTH!

Join us this summer for these unique natural horsemanship opportunities to discover, enhance and evolve both personally and professionally.  For two decades Anna has teamed up with rescues in support of their mission to save, rehabilitate and train horses naturally, thus providing another chance for horses in every capacity. ROTH’s gentle communication and connection supports horses without force and provides a personal fundamental foundation.
Our 3-style approach takes care of your needs:
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#1

We invite EVERYONE to join us on this adventure.  Although we recommend prerequisites our primary reason behind this decision is to offer a successful experience for all.  You may be:
 
*A natural!
*Offering a home to a foal, mustang, wild horse or rescue/rehab horse
*seeking to improve your existing knowledge
*Looking for a better solution
*Opening a new equine business, learning center, rescue or sanctuary
*A professional or clinician in the field adding to your repertoire
*Looking to fulfill a life-long dream!
 
We recommend you view our extensive video library on youtube and suggest you purchase the DVD pertaining to the clinic of choice and/or attend a clinic in your area in preparation to this life-changing event.

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#2

Professionals in the equine industry and ROTH HHC graduates are invited to participate in all 4 courses and the trainer’s exam to receive our ROTH trainer’s certificate of completion. Simply take part in this cutting edge program and receive recognition from an internationally recognized organization.

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Help them start on the right hoof!

#3

ROTH Holistic Horse Graduates apply for the trainer’s course opportunity to become a certified ROTH trainer over a 2-year period.  Upon completion of the ROTH certificate all trainers are eligible to carry the ROTH name and logo representing ROTH globally.   Special recognition, support, benefits and offers apply.

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The Experience of a Lifetime

 

Snow Day: The Tragic Consequence and Life-Affirming Perseverance of the Nurse Foal

Snow Day:  The Tragic Consequence and Life-Affirming Perseverance of the Nurse Foal

By Anna Twinney

I had never seen a horse graze from its knees. But that was exactly what Snow, a majestic, 2-year old, Appaloosa Colt was doing. I thought to myself, “I couldn’t have made him do that, I barely touched his line.” I had wanted to move a short distance, so I could relax on the bleachers nearby while he ate, but just requesting those few steps made him drop to his knees. Perhaps it was a desperate attempt to stay on the lush patch of grass or, potentially, a learned behavior pattern.

I reassured him he could stay. He got back on his feet and walked with me so I could sit down.   I could have ignored this mannerism and chalked it up to a fun story about a playful and mischievous colt, but the behavior was so unusual I felt the origin was worth exploring.

I also noted that instead of nibbling at the grass and continuously picking little tufts, like most horses, he took chunks of grass. He filled his whole mouth with one bite and would bring his head up high, as he did his best to swallow the mouthful.   At first I thought it might be that he needed to settle into a groove, but it became clear this was his way of eating. He looked rushed and was taking whatever he could get. With each mouthful he would take the grass out by the roots before moving onto another. There was no casual grazing.   Snow’s way of eating resembled a hungry orphan or someone who was never taught how to eat. I had not seen this behavior before either.

Not everyone would have noticed his unique way of eating, but I did and had to wonder where it originated. A herd will mirror one another and casually graze with their heads down for long periods of time. It’s a beautifully tranquil and spiritual occurrence, to watch wild ones blissfully eat in harmony, but this was not the case with Snow. I wondered if he had ever learned to graze and if this was as a direct result of his youth.

It was then I remembered Snow’s past.

At just a few days, or possibly weeks old, Snow had been rescued 2 years prior by a group including Ray of Light Farm and Reach Out to Horses. He was “Orphaned”. Not because his mother had died. Instead, is was determined that he had been forcibly taken from his mother and found himself abandoned, too young and innocent to take care of himself.   New to this world he was most likely left to fend for himself in either a stall or trailer. His only choice was to figure out how to eat and drink… or die. He was the smallest of the foals we had rescued and the smallest I had ever seen in my twenty years of rescuing horses.

I could hardly believe someone could do this to an innocent being.

 

Unfortunately he had been born into the nurse foal industry. A heartless, cruel business in which, reportedly, thousands of foals find themselves as “biproducts”, of no value to the stewards who manage the nurse foal barn. Their mothers are bred purely to function as nurse mares to raise more valuable foals, normally born to top performance horses. Nurse foal barns can usually be found primarily close to racetracks.

Not only had Snow found himself isolated and lost without ever knowing why, but he also came to us very sick. Within days he sought out human connection and valued the comfort of human touch in the gentling process. Innocently and trusting he forgave the very same species that had tossed him aside to die.   I remember thinking, that nobody deserves to be punished or treated this way, let alone a newborn infant.

When his group of foals first arrived milk replacer was arranged for them and placed in special buckets for the foals to drink. Quickly they began suckling on the side of the buckets for comfort, mimicking suckling their mother’s teats. It was heartbreaking to watch. We noticed missing hair from many of their ears and discovered this was due to the foals suckling one another. Innately they knew to find dark and damp places from which to suck, be this around the buckets, each other’s ears, or sheaths.

We kept the foals next to one another during the day’s training and together in the herd at night. We never wanted them to feel isolated or abandoned again. It was like watching a group of kindergarteners with little parental guidance. With hay provided freely they would munch away throughout the day sporadically napping in between meals. While we watched some of them adopting natural grazing habits, Snow must have created his own way.

We offered our very best; a second chance at life, asking, and apparently receiving, his forgiveness. At first touch he would buckle in pain and through veterinary care we discovered that not only was he not able to drop his penis to urinate, but he was suffering from a potentially fatal parasite. This ailment would take months of special ongoing care from the rescue, but this little warrior showed his true nature and eventually pulled through.

The sound of horses returning to their stalls snapped me back to the present. I realized my time with Snow was up. I had assigned the students in my Holistic Horsemanship Foundation Course a fun exercise of discovering the motivating interests of their horses and, in the distance, I noticed horses returning to their stalls.

Giving Snow a couple more minutes to enjoy his banquet, he understood my telepathic message this time, and willingly came along with simply a soft touch. It had been precious time together. After leading him back to his stall, with gratitude I removed Snow’s halter, and said my farewells, looking forward to our many meetings in time to come. I left him with my love, appreciation and admiration.

Later I inquired with the farm as to why they thought Snow had developed this strange behavior of “knee grazing”. Bonnie the manager of the farm knew exactly what I was talking about and remembered how Snow had even drunk his milk in that manner.

She explained that after the rescue, the farm had found 2 surrogate mares willing to accept the foals, which happen to be mini’s. Both mares took the foals on as their own and accepted their suckling. The youngsters had to lower their heads down quite low to reach these mares teats and it was then that Snow learned to make himself smaller. Snow had the chance to graze and learn from the small herd and yet somehow missed the grazing style. They had provided the most natural lifestyle they could with the circumstances they had available to them.

My heart was filled with both sorrow and admiration for this beautiful soul. Snow had endured so much, more pain than any creature should have to experience, especially one so young – all because he was born to the wrong mare. And yet he found his way out the other side.   He could have given up, fallen into deep depression, and chosen to leave the planet. But he didn’t. He took the challenges of a rough start and, with the help of many kind people and horses, turned his circumstances around and found a new life and a new beginning.

Unlike so many nurse foals, his journey had a happy ending. I take solace in that thought as I, with so many others in the world, continue to work diligently to give more horses like Snow a chance at a life of happiness, partnership, and love.

A New Year Surprise as our foal story is covered in the Horsemen’s Yankee Pedlar magazine on page 58!

Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar Magazine

December Foal Gentling Seminar

Receives positive Response from attendees

By Karena Garrity

“ This lady changes lives,” Paul Lemay said of Anna Twinney at her Foal Gentling Seminar, held November 28 through December 3 at Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam, Conn. The session, which lasted six days, was uniquely designed to give eight feral pmu rescue foals a voice, teach them about mutual respect, and give them a great start to life with humans, combining body language, energy, and interspecies communication. The foals were rescued from Canadian feedlots by ears (Equine Angels Rescue Sanctuary) and Ray of Light Farm. Their futures were uncertain, to say the least. The “by-product” of the Premarin drug industry, which uses pregnant mare urine to create menopause treatments, these babies were taken from their mothers early and were barely handled by humans, opening them up to a lifetime of struggles and fear. However, through Twinney’s perceptive hands, heart, and soul approach to their first real human contact, these rescues were respected and listened to. “It’s not a system,” she explains. “It is a language and it’s not dominant, it’s not a you must do! It’s flexible.” Lemay, who first met Twinney last year when he adopted two of the Premarin rescues from that group, is still amazed, bewildered, and awed by the raw abilities of this calming horse whisperer who is dedicated to doing all she can…..click here to read full article.