WSHN – the Warm Springs Horse Network
Beth Matanane – Board Member
WSHN – the Warm Springs Horse Network was chosen to provide the amazing foals to an Anna Twinney clinic held in Sisters, Oregon this past week. This week-long, intense, hands-on clinic provided attendees with something they will walk away with as a memorable, life-changing experience. While learning the techniques and theory of horse gentling the students focus on obtaining the knowledge of a kinder, gentler method of horsemanship. Respect along with permissions. This makes perfect sense while dealing with eleven Warm Springs foals ranging from 2 months to 5 months old. Recognizing the subtle body language, approach and retreat along with respect proved to this writer the amount of time, effort, and dedication is priceless in the student and the animal.
After witnessing a student establish an acceptable touching space on the animal then moving forward to establishing a true communication language between the pair. I watched in amazement as the student was able to guide the foal into acceptance and respect for the student. Under the kind leadership of Anna Twinney, this breakthrough between species made yet another marked impression on all who observed these actions. The sense of accomplishment lead to one proud student and a lip-smacking, chewing, yawning, comfortable foal.
Students also were hands on with the care and feeding of each foal. Some stayed through lunch to enrich this experience even further, petting and observing the friendlier horses. As the week is progressing the entire group will travel to the Warm Springs Reservation, guided by a Tribal Member to observe the wild horses in the wild at the reservation. The amount of community abounds when WSHN is involved. We are proud to have been a piece of this multifaceted composite that has led to a well-rounded, amazing learning experience. An equine nutritionist will also explain the nutritional needs of equine.
Auditor, Tracee Dmytryk commented on how “comfortable the foals became from her first day of observation to the third, “it’ appeared the horses had little stress, became more confident and comfortable around the students.” Another auditor, Angie Shelby, observed “how the gentle techniques used by Anna were an amazing interpretation of gentle horsemanship.” Shelby also remarked on the high level of care that was given to each foal. Anna provided what was “best for the horse – the herd.” She also observed how, “the more reactive horses were being touched in a short period of time,” using Anna’s techniques.
WSHN is a 501c3 nonprofit developed by a group of four women in central Oregon: Shontae Thomas, Robbi Pruitt, Tori Reid, and Beth Matanane. Dedicated and developed with the sole purpose of promoting the Warm Springs horses and providing an educational avenue for persons interested in the Warm Springs equine. A portion of the proceeds from this clinic will go to aid in the care of the WSHN horses looking for adoptive families.
Anna Twinney is a recognized Equine Consultant at The Equus Projects/ OnSite NYC, Natural Horsemanship Clinician & animal communicator at Happy Dog Ranch, and Natural Horsemanship Clinician at FOAL – Friends Of A Legacy Lives in Elizabeth, Colorado.
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