We’ve Extended the Early Bird Special for the Holistice Horsemanship Webinar!

What do Frank Bell, Extension and Free Special Bonus have in common?

The Holistic Horsemanship Webinar Series!

That’s right! First of all we are thrilled to announce that International Horse Whisperer, Frank Bell is joining the line up. He will be sharing his expertise with us as he and Anna discuss intuitive riding on the final session.

We’re also excited to announce an extension on the early bird special pricing. So if you haven’t signed up yet, then now is the time. We are extending the early bird special pricing of $147 until Tuesday, December 10th.

And we are pulling out all the stops with a very special bonus for everyone who signs up by the 10th.

If you register by Tuesday December 10th, you will also receive access to the newly released Insights Into Holistic Horsemanship webinar series FREE!

That is over 13 hours of additional material at no charge to you. To take advantange of this special bonus you must register by Tuesday, December 10th!

But what if I’ve already reserved my spot for this upcoming webinar series?

Not a problem. You will be receiving an email with all the details you need to access the Insights into Holistic Horsemanship audio download series, FREE!

But what if I’ve already purchased the Insights into Holistic Horsemanship Webinar Download Series?

No worries. If you’ve already bought the webinar series audio downloads we will refund you the full cost of that purchase once you register for this upcoming series.

Another question we’ve been getting a lot is, “What if I can’t make the live sessions?”

Don’t even give it a second thought. Everything will be recorded and available for you to enjoy at your leisure at NO EXTRA CHARGE! So whether it is a time zone problem, or you’re just too busy to make it to the live sessions, you won’t miss a thing! You can listen to the recorded session, save the audio copy to your computer and listen to them on your computer, tablet or favorite MP3 player.


“What’s going to be covered?” you ask?

Well, for starters, you’ll learn directly from Linda Tellington-Jones how to identify your horse’s role and character, both through physical characteristics and their response to certain exercises.

Those who’ve taken my Holistic Horsemanship Foundation Course know that understanding how your horse learns and what motivates them takes much of the guesswork out, and minimizes trial and error.

This will be a ONE OF A KIND webinar, at an unbelievably LOW COST to you. For the entire series, as long as you register by Tuesday, December 10th, your cost is the time you invest and $147! After that, tuition increases to $297. And don’t forget the Special Early Bird Bonus Program.


Join us on the calls to take your knowledge of holistic and natural horsemanship to the next level!

Happy trails,


P.S.-Think you REALLY KNOW your horse? Don’t miss the very first session of the webinar. We’re starting out with a BANG!!!


Gentle Solutions?

We like that!

Frank Bell visits one of Anna’s favourite retreat spots, The White Stallion Ranch, Tuscon, AZ.

Nice video, right? Good setting, too?

Thought you would enjoy it.

If you want to visit the ranch come have a week of Animal Communication and trail riding with Anna.

This year she will be there November 9th – 16th, 2013, check out the page.


From our friend Frank Bell

Will we stop mass extinction?

I’ve just signed an urgent global petition supporting a new treaty to prevent mass extinction. The petition will be delivered Friday at UN talks in Japan — check out the email below and sign on here:


Dear friends,

There are only 300 northern right whales left, and 99% of blue whales have been wiped out. These majestic giants are endangered species, and their case is being played out across the world, time and again. In fact, one third of all life forms on the planet are on the brink of extinction.

The natural world is being crushed by human activity, waste and exploitation. But there is a plan to save it — a global agreement to create, fund and enforce protected areas covering 20% of our lands and seas by 2020. And right now, 193 governments are meeting in Japan to address this crisis.

We have just 4 days left in this crucial meeting. Experts say that politicians are hesitant to adopt such an ambitious goal, but that a global public outcry could tip the balance, making leaders feel the eyes of the world upon them. Click to sign the urgent 20/20 petition, and forward this email widely — the message will be delivered directly to the meeting in Japan:

Ironically, 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. By now, our governments were supposed to have “achieved a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss.” They have failed, consistently caving to industry when given a choice between narrow profit and protecting species. Our animals, plants, oceans, forests, soils, and rivers are choking under immense burdens from over-exploitation and other pressures.

Humans are the primary cause of this destruction. But we can turn it around — we’ve saved species from extinction before. The causes of biodiversity decline are vast, and stopping them is going to require a move away from empty piecemeal promises with no clarity on who will pay, to a bold plan with strict enforcement and serious funding. The 20/20 plan is precisely that: governments will be forced to execute strict programmes to ensure that 20% of our earth is protected by the 2020 deadline, and massively scale up funding.

It has to be now. All over the world the picture is beginning to look bleaker — there are only 3,200 tigers left in the wild, our oceans are running out of fish, and we’re losing unique food sources to large mono-plantations. Nature is resilient, but we have to give it a safe place to bounce back. That’s why this meeting is key — it’s a watershed moment to accelerate action based on clear commitments that protect nature’s capital.

If our governments feel overwhelming public pressure right now to be courageous, we can jolt them to commit to the 20/20 plan at this meeting. But it’s going to take every one of us to get that message to echo around the convention in Japan. Sign this urgent petition below, then forward it widely:

Already this year Avaaz, members have played a critical role in protecting elephants, defending the whale-hunting ban, and securing the world’s largest Marine Protected Area in the Chagos Islands. Our community has shown that we can set ambitious goals — and win. This campaign is the next stage in the essential battle to create the world that most of us everywhere want — where natural resources and species are valued, and our living planet is protected for future generations.

With hope,

Alice, Iain, Emma, Ricken, Paula, Benjamin, Mia, David, Graziela, Ben, and the rest of the Avaaz team


The Times: “Third of all animals and plants face extinction”

The Guardian: “Public awareness of the biodiversity crisis is virtually non-existent”

Sydney Morning Herald: “UN calls for immediate action to save life on earth”

IUCN: “Why is biodiversity in crisis?”

More on the Convention of Biodiversity meeting

Little Beau Strider…..Enough Said


To Frank, Leslie, and the Equine Angels Rescue Sanctuary; Bonnie, Damory, Ev and all of those at Ray of Light; Anna of Reach Out to Horses.

This thank-you for Little Beau Strider is a quite late, but just as heartfelt as it was during the Christmas season. No more meaningful and touching gift could have been given to me than this playful, sensitive, and loving foal. He has brought so much joy to the Fowler family.

There are so many to thank because so many brought him on this journey to our home. So I will start at the beginning.

To Frank and Leslie and all the folks of Equine Angels Rescue Sanctuary,

Thank you for rescuing Little Beau and all the others. It is your determined effort and stalwart dedication that brought this youngster to Ray of Light in the first place. Without that unwavering resolve to save as many Premarins as possible, Little Beau and I would never have met. I am truly grateful to you all. You are indeed Equine Angels.

To Bonnie, Ev, Damory, and all of the folks at Ray of Light who cared for our Little Beau,

Thank you for offering safe haven to him and all the others. It is your inspired vision, Bonnie, and everyone’s tenacious dedication to help animals in need that provided Little Beau not only sustenance and shelter, but also nurturing and love until a home and family could be found. I am so very grateful. You truly do provide a Ray of Light.


Thank you for offering your time, talent, and skills to gentle Little Beau and the others. Your willingness and generosity to help us humans “reach out” to these foals and “ . . . create a trust-based partnership . . . “ have provided Little Beau and me the opportunity to work and grow together as individuals and as a team. I am genuinely grateful and thank you for Reaching Out to all of us and so many more.


Thank you for being Little Beau Strider’s godmother. In our boy, you saw the same special nature as I did at the first moment of our meeting. Every time I look at him, I remember that his name came from your inspiration and mine – Strider after Red Strider, who brought so much to so many in his short life, and Little Beau after Bonnie’s handsome palomino, Beau, whose character is one of dignity and grace. With Bonnie’s approval, Little Beau Strider was aptly dubbed. I am so very happy that you are his godmom.

The First of Many Updates

Little Beau Strider adapted quickly to his new and “forever” home when he came to us only a few days after Christmas. Our boy, Gripper, adopted him immediately as he reached over the stall wall to warmly greet the youngster. They spent the winter in a paddock with access to their stalls, and Gripper used the time to teach him while developing the strong bond which now exists between them.

The paddock provided a place where Little Beau became acquainted in a safe manner with the other three members of his new herd. The three mares were a bit testy at first, especially Dakota who charged him on his first visit outside of the paddock in February. This 11-year-old Premarin does not take kindly to intruders, and even after two months of becoming acquainted over the fence, she had not softened her stance. Fortunately Gripper observed the situation and led Little Beau back to the paddock where I could close the gate safely behind them.

Since then, Little Beau Strider has become an accepted member of the herd in which he has found his own place. Gripper still watches over him, but from more of a distance. The lead mare, Abbey Road, also an 11-year-old Premarin, teaches Little Beau the rules by which the herd lives, and Izzy, a 12-year-old Arab, usually just gently moves him away from her hay.

However, Dakota, who had charged him only months before, is now Little Beau’s primary caretaker. She teaches, nuzzles, and loves. Just this morning, as I was walking from the barn to the house, I heard her whinny from the far end of the field. I turned back to watch him trot to her and put his neck under hers. She nuzzled and then stood with her head over his withers as he turned his head, and they both looked back at me from under a tree in the cool of the morning. What a heartwarming picture.

My husband, Jake, loves the boy as much as I. His attention reinforces the trust that Little Beau began to learn at Ray of Light from all those who handled him during and after Anna’s training. He strokes Beau’s ears, neck, and tummy, and Little Beau just loves the attention while he is also continuing to accept our approach and touch.

Little Beau has also endeared himself to his vet and farrier who have found him easy to work with and quite loveable. He barely flinched during his shots, and he was a cooperative patient when gelded. He held up his hooves quietly for the first trim by our farrier who kept the moments of standing on three legs short. Little Beau is loved by all who meet him. In fact, he has already had his first portrait done by a young girl who is quite taken by the little fellow.

There is so much more to tell, but I will save that for another update. In the meantime, I once again extend my gratitude to all who helped in some way to give me so much in this Christmas package called Little Beau Strider. I am forever grateful to you all.

With my sincerest and warmest thanks,

Little Beau Strider’s Mom

Karen Fowler


Cloud Walker by Frank Bell

Cloud Walker

I was traveling through the enchanted state of New Mexico just before Christmas ’05 when I heard the plight of yet another horse and farrier disaster.

A knowledgeable horse woman on the north end of Albercurque had a four year old Tennessee Walker gelding that has serious meltdowns when the farrier even approached, let alone went for the back feet. I rolled up my sleeves in anticipation of what sounded like an interesting and always welcome challenge. You see I love to help horses.

My friend Bobbie Stacey accompanied me the short distance to Diana Zenk’s home just west of the Rio Grande River. The tidy home, barn, and paddocks were nestled neatly against a mature grove of massive cottonwoods, providing welcome shade in this arid climate.

Diana, a middle aged woman with obvious horse sense explained, “Walker just loses it at the appearance of strangers, especially men. And if shoeing tools are anywhere nearby, well it turns into a real circus. I mean it becomes downright dangerous. I can’t find anyone with the skills nor patience to take Walker on.”

Diana had Walker in hand and his snorts were literally shaking the very ground we stood on as we talked. His head was sky-high in a sure sign of suspicion of the next new stranger . . . me.

Cloud Walker was a well proportioned striking horse of about fifteen hands. A dark chocolate Tobiano with truly magnificent markings and an intelligent, though very wary eye. His snorts literally obliterated our ability to discuss his challenging demeanor.

“Let me make friends and slip my own halter on him. Magic halter,” I winked at Diana.

I removed my sun glasses, handing them to Bobbie. “I don’t want any glass close to my eyes with this guy or in any situation like this,” I explained. “He could flip that head and my face/eyes are all cut up.”

Diana held the lead as I changed over to my 12’ rope halter/lead combo that serves me well with all horses, easily the most valuable tool I have, beside my two hands.

“Eeeeeeeeeeeasy Big Boy. I’m here to help you now. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeasy now,” I cooed over and over as he snorted his mistrust over and over, back at me.

With my halter secured I concentrated on settling him with gentle but firm strokes on his neck and withers. Then I began searching his face for his pleasure zones. But he wasn’t buying my program; not one bit. He was so tense and distrustful of me, a man, and an unfamiliar one at that. I ached for his horrible journey to lead to this extreme distrust of the human. And I sensed it was gender specific distrust.

I then asked him to drop his head with constant downward pressure on the lead and he did give in a sign of understanding, but that head shot sky-high the moment I released him. And guiding his head to the side was about the same, tiny gives to show me he got it, but wasn’t really letting down and giving into me. Okay by me. His tail? Tight, clamped, full of distrust and nervousness.

Gaited Horse Tradition

Walker was not a mean horse by any means. He just probably had a harsh introduction to training, not so uncommon in the gaited horse community. These horses were expected to comply . . . period. No nonsense about it. And that seems to be the common denominator with so many of the gaited horses I’ve encountered. They’re intimidated into submission and compliance; not my idea of evolved training. At the opposite end of the scale, only a week later I met perhaps the most trusting well-adjusted Tennessee Walker and horse in general, in my career of over twenty years. So there you have it. There are obviously wonderful gaited horse trainers with warm hearts.

I decided at this point that expending some of that quantum energy might be the place to go from here and asked Walker to move forward in the driving procedure I call “the dance begins.” Again he was snorty and unsure, but with some exceedingly obvious signals, finally he was moving forward around me in a circle. That accomplished, we went around a half dozen times or so, then began winding down, like a snail to a stop, culminating with his head at least partly giving to the side as he finally stopped. I wanted to show him a way to get stopped quietly and for the first time in our interaction he didn’t snort. I loved him up thoroughly and slipped my fingers into his mouth. He followed by licking his lips with gusto and dropping his head a tiny notch. Success.

From his off-side I drove him out and this time he seemed just a hair more relaxed, so I upped the ante a notch by swinging the lead in a jump-rope fashion to give him just a bit more to deal with. At first his eyes widened and he tried to stop abruptly. But I pushed him right through it and then he actually licked his lips for a fraction of a second. Voila! Movin on up.

Again I wound him down to a stop but this time tossed the lead over his back as I helped him find that safe, loving place on the off-side. He lurched at the sight of the flying lead; then it landed on his body . . . but he made it and gave to me with a release of his head to the side and a sigh of relief.

We repeated this valuable exercise again and again as he improved and let down noticeably giving to me with each succeeding repetition. Then I deliberately tossed the lead so it would hang on the opposite side and desensitize his hind legs. While at first this was a very big deal, my hand on his neck in support helped him find the way.

That accomplished, I settled him down and ran the lead under his neck and then around behind his haunches, then encouraged him to unwind away from the lead on his back legs. He shot out quickly, clearly nervous. But I again wound him back down to home base with his head around to the side and we practiced that exercise several times in each direction until he was calm about it.

This unwinding exercise pays huge dividends for all horses because it accomplishes so much, including:

  • The horse has to move away from that pressure behind his back legs
  • He changes eyes with each unwinding as he comes out the opposite side
  • The back legs become progressively more desensitized as the horse gets used to that feel of the rope on the opposite side
  • The horse must disengage his hind quarters, stepping underneath himself to move away from that lead and pressure

As Cloud Walker’s confidence and trust blossomed, I sensed he was ready for the next challenge, dealing with the plastic bag attached to the end of my extendable wand. I first allowed him to take a sniff. He reached his head out front and took a wary gander. Then I moved the bag onto his back, right in the saddle area. He stood still frozen and nervous about his challenge. I gentled moved the flag over his back and down his back legs, then over his sides. He handled it, but not happily. He was extremely suspect. Time to move out. This exercise doesn’t prove anything until the horse moves forward rationally. And that is my goal completely- rational forward movement. With a cluck and a tapping motion on this rump, he shot forward abruptly. I maintained the bag on his back as he hesitantly moved forward in a very unsure, impulsive manner.

“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeasy Big Fella. I’m not going to hurt you,” I repeated in a soothing tone again and again until he let down. When he tried to stop abruptly, I pushed him right through that abruptness and kept him moving until he could stop gracefully. Time after time I helped him progress to relaxing with the bag and moving out rationally, when he decided to, not when his emotions shouted, “Get out of there!” Within a few minutes he was Mr. Rational and handling the bag all over his body and from up above while he walked out quietly. Bingo!


At this point he basically said to me, “Bring it on. I’m ready for the feet now.” His courage and progress requested the next step, actual foot-handling. I asked for a front foot to which he complied. I gave him a good foot massage, then with his front foot up, reached back and ran my hand down his back leg. He flinched at the initial touch, then sighed, relaxed, and actually drifted into enjoying the stroking of his back legs. That accomplished on both sides we calmly walked over to the solidly built round steel hitching post adjacent to the barn, and tied up, but not tight. I didn’t want him uncomfortable, just some control and a situation that would replicate the farrier’s set-up.

Again while lifting each front foot I reached back and stroked his back legs without reaction. But something told me to be extra careful with this guy, so asked Diana for an implement quite useful at this stage, a length of soft cotton rope. Diana produced a fifteen foot piece of flat soft cotton line, perfect. I gently fished the line through his hind legs with my extendable wand and took hold. Walker immediately got fidgety and started dancing around. I held on loosely from behind and calmed him with soothing words. Within a couple minutes he settled as I worked the soft line gently up and down his right hind; then the on-side. Trust prevailed and with time, soothing words, and patience he settled and accepted this valuable precursor to the next step of applying pressure.

Take and Give

Now the real test was upon me as it was time to ask for a give with a few pounds pressure on that right side. I held the line off to the side about 20 degrees and waited, pulling from behind, yet out of kicking range. He pulled hard forward, jerking my arm, but not too hard, just enough to demand my patience and understanding. He struggled, not quite understanding my request. Then he finally dropped the foot back and to the ground and found complete relief and the yes answer. Within a few minutes he got the picture and gave his back legs on each side in a relaxed manner. I moved into his hind end cautiously, reached out and massaged his lower leg as he gave to me his outstretched leg. I took hold of the hoof and gently removed the line; then stroked his lower leg and pastern thoroughly, and then reached across and stroked in the V behind his haunches. Suddenly he sighed and relaxed to the fact that I was holding and pleasuring his back right foot. Right then I knew that the heavy lifting was over.

I eased Walker’s foot to the ground in the outstretched manner with his toe resting lightly. This is symptomatic of a truly relaxed horse in any situation. I walked off and allowed it all to soak in.

“I think he’s going to make it Diana. I’m really pleased at his progress.”

“I can’t believe he trusts you that much. But then you did take the time. Nobody’s ever done anything like this, you know?”

“I’m certain of it. He’s never had a better deal in his life. This isn’t my first rodeo you know?” I smiled at Diana.

Given a few minutes, my new best friend softened into his evolved acceptance and waited for the next step, actual tapping, replicating the farrier’s pounding. I picked up his near hind and again gave him a thorough massage, then began tapping lightly with the flat of my hand. He immediately tensed and I stopped and stroked his leg in reassurance, taking him back to trust; then started again. This time I tapped progressively harder, then put the foot down gently and moved to the front and loved him up BIG TIME!!

Lavish Praise Speeds up Acceptance and Learning by 60%

Studies have proved the effectiveness of lavish praise. The results are resoundingly impressive. Lavish praise at the right time speeds up acceptance immediately! I use it with gusto.
From here it was a matter of building up the tapping until I was smacking my Leatherman hard on each back hoof, then releasing it in the relaxed outstretched position every single time. Finally I walked off, my eyes watering at the realization of our success.

“Okay Diana your turn. I get to watch the show now. You go in and pick up the feet and progress to pounding hard. Don’t sugar coat it now.”

Diana did exactly as I’d asked her to and actually progressed to using an old aluminum ice cream scoop, shaped like a very big spoon. She pounded away progressively harder until there was a true ringing in the air… Not only did Walker accept her obnoxious banging, but he was hanging his head down and constantly licking his lips in a sign of total acceptance and relaxation. What a feeling!

Diana’s husband Neal had joined us about the time I’d moved to the hitching post and I knew he would be the next challenge.

“How bout it Neal,” I suggested?

Neal was one long tall glass of water, lean and relaxed and I did believe he was up to the task. .  and was. I watched this man go in and gently stroke and talk to the animal and then lift each foot and bang on it first very lightly; then progressed to harder until he too was using the ice cream scoop to send that loud metallic ring into the cool winter New Mexico air as he pounded away with genuine relish. And Cloud Walker? Well at this point all he could manage was constant licking with his head hanging low and his eyes so soft he could barely keep them open.

Knowing just when to exit is an acquired skill and that was my que. Shaking Neal’s hand and hugging Diana, then congratulating Walker with gusto, I collected my tools and proceeded on my voyage, on west toward Cave Creek, Arizona, to the home of my friend Jane Reed, aka Ryder Reed, horse woman extraordinaire who would present to me the next plateau of my journey with the horse, a brilliant woman that Ryder Reed had talked about for years. A woman named Maree.


Frank Bell and his accredited instructors have been helping horses with their people problems for several decades. Frank writes interesting stories about these horses and their challenges. He also helps people better understand how to communicate with these magnificent creatures by answering their challenging questions on his website. Frank has designed a logical sequence of exercises that immediately places both parties on higher ground . . . without the need for a round pen. Suddenly both parties are riding in confidence instead of fear. Frank Bell’s 7-Step Safety System has been featured in horse magazines and ezines throughout the world including a three-part series in Western Horseman magazine. Frank’s video “Discover the Horse You Never Knew” fully outlines “the system” and is available in the audio/video library that includes twelve works. Join Frank Bell’s Gentle Solution Revolution and breakthrough your training barriers now!


AMBELLA By Frank Bell


Connecting with others on a deep meaningful level is a rarity in our hurried world. When it does happen, it is truly a gift that needs to be recognized and acted upon. Sometimes we aren’t quite ready or even aware of such connections and it’s gone before we realize what has been lost. In the late summer of 1988 I had such a connection with one of the most beautiful young ladies I’ve ever known. I long to reconnect with Ambella.

I took a job that summer at Indian Creek Ranch near the one horse town of Cameron, Montana. The ranch was owned by some very well-to-do polo people who had homes throughout the world and hobnobbed with the most famous polo player of all, Prince Charles.

In the polo world, the thoroughbreds have a career that usually ends in their mid-teens when they lose their speed or break down physically. From there they often become brood mares as they did at Indian Creek Ranch. With two famous stallions to service the mares, a new crop of foals arrived every year to welcome the warm springtime weather and green grass. As the sun just started to light the sky on the morning of the equinox, March 21st, a very special foal was taking her first breaths on that cool beginning. She was the color of aged hay, a buckskin with a prominent dark stripe running down the middle of her back. With a black mane and tail and dark lower legs, she wasn’t common like all the bays that dominate the polo scene. She marched to the beat of her own drum, right from day one.

On my second day at the ranch I was assigned to the fence repair detail, beginning with the fences close-in just walking distance from the main buildings. I donned a tool belt with plenty of staples and a specialized tool for stretching wire, pulling staples, and pounding them back into the posts, and started working my way away from the barn.

The weanlings, born only several months before hurried over as a group and watched curiously from a distance as I worked. They kicked up and played, especially as I pounded. It kind of became a game for all of us. They would get very quiet and creep in closer and closer as I did the quiet work. Then when I began pounding, the tempo picked up until they were dancing around like kindergartners to loud music. The second the pounding stopped, they would freeze, ears forward intent on my work. Each time it got quiet, they inched in closer with the little buckskin leading the way. Finally as I was bent over retrieving staples off the ground I felt a soft nose on my arm. I very slowly turned to find the lovely buckskin extending a warm greeting to me. I sat down and allowed her to sniff me all over. Her timid friends stayed back and watched as she bravely paved the way to our new-found friendship. With my back against the fence pole and knees up, I gently stroked her face all over, then under her chin in the hollow of her jaw. She cocked her head to the side as I found her spot and itched it for a bit, then quit. I had work to do, so asked her to leave. She fully understood my wishes and hurried off to join her friends, almost gloating at her huge accomplishment as if to say, “Look what I just did!”

It was the same the rest of the day. The gang of eight weanlings would come and go, each time becoming a little more brave with the buckskin always leading the way. She was actually smaller than the other horses, but didn’t know it. As the day progressed I handled most of the horses, getting more aggressive with them each time, as they did with me. Little did I know at the time that I was doing a great job of gentling them, while teaching respect. It all seemed like the right thing to do at that time and I just loved getting my hands on the youngsters.

The following morning I had some mechanical work to do in front of the barn on the old Massey Ferguson tractor. As I walked out the back door of main house, who should greet me but my new girlfriend. I walked right up to her and gave her a hearty hello, stroking her head and neck first, then all over her body. I finished with a big hug, wrapping my arms all around her neck and pulling her into me tight, ending with a strong squeeze, then walked off toward the barn just yards away. I slid the barn door open, walked in and started organizing the tools I would need to work on the tractor. As I was busily searching in the low light for a specialized wrench at the bottom of the tool box, I sensed a presence nearby. I then felt the warm breath and whiskers of my favorite girl. She had walked right into the barn amidst farm equipment and sharp objects. I very delicately showed her the way back out, told her how much I appreciated her help, and went back to work, this time closing the door behind me. I had diverted a potentially very dangerous situation. Had she spooked suddenly, it would have meant certain injury in all that pointed and dangerous clutter.

Tools in hand I emerged to find her waiting patiently for me right by the tractor. It was as if she knew exactly what I had to do and really did want to help. I spent about an hour over, under, around, and through that old unit with the buckskin right by my side. I believe she would have jumped into my lap and taken a drive if I’d have encouraged it. From that day on, she was my number one girl.
As a student, she was as good as it gets. She was always eager to learn and enjoyed the process thoroughly. But she also had a mind of her own and would voice her opinion readily when asked by either horses or humans. If something wasn’t fair, she would stand right up to it. Upon returning to South Carolina in the fall of 1990, she let me know some bad handling had taken place over the summer.
The horses had been left in the care of summer help who had used a variety of workers as the summer progressed. When I reintroduced myself that fall, her attitude was combative and she struck me when worming her. She had obviously been in a fight with a human and had developed an attitude. It didn’t take long for me to sort out just what had happened. The farrier had worked her over and she didn’t have a lot of use for men, even me. I was heartbroken. The bad news: horses never forget. The good news: they do forgive. She was a little mad at me for leaving for so long and for being mistreated. I, then took the time to reconnect, just loving all over her. She melted like butter into my attentions and the bad behavior ended immediately. What a relief for me as this was the year to teach her to accept me on her back.
By now I had started about a half dozen horses on my own and my confidence was growing like a weed. I couldn’t get enough. Working with the two year old crop of eight was likely the most enjoyable and meaningful period of my life. I knew these kids. They were all my friends. We had grown up together from the get-go. I taught them to lead and to enter stalls and trailers. I trimmed their feet. And we all went on the big road trip to South Carolina moving the whole ranch of thirty-five horses to the south in three trailers. What a road trip! But the moment of truth was upon me as Ambella and I entered the round pen on the day that would truly change her life, forever.

Being my favorite of the gang of eight, I started with her, absolutely confident that this would be an experience never to be forgotten. And it wasn’t. The dance, I had perfected. The harmony that I had strived for and the partnership that we had created, all came together with this horse who I so loved. Within minutes we were gliding around that round pen like a couple of seasoned ballroom dancers. She seemed to say to me, “I’ve just been waiting for this moment. Now we can have big fun.” She progressed like no horse I’ve ever worked with. Within a couple of weeks we were cantering forward and moving laterally simultaneously like a sharp knife cutting through soft butter. Her perfect balance and my medium size fit like a well-used leather glove. My mental pictures became her’s as we prepared her for the fast and exciting world of polo. I dreaded the day of her departure and even contemplated purchasing her myself. To this day I regret not exercising that option, but then the story would not be nearly so interesting.
In the spring of ‘91 Omar Viale drove up from Sun South, Abercrombie and Kent’s polo headquarters in Lake Worth, Florida. A fabulous trainer originally from Argentina, Omar had lived at the farm next to ours in South Carolina the previous year. He had taken me under his wing and shared his vast knowledge with me. Now he was here to take my lady away. It was a hard day for me. He roached her beautiful black mane as she watched the thick hair pile up on the ground below. He then got on her and experienced a lightness unlike anything he had ever dreamed of. “Very nice Frankie. Very, very light. Very, very nice”, he reiterated over and over. The tears welled in my eyes as I said good-bye and hugged that horse fiercely. She took part of me with her that day. That once in a lifetime connection drove off, headed south. I let it happen and have regretted it ever since.

I kept track of Ambella as best I could over the years. She was a star and one of the fastest horses in the game. She led Geoffrey Kent and his Abercrombie and Kent/Rolex team to several championships, then I got busy and almost forgot the pain of missing her. She was gone. She had a great life in polo, a job, meaning, had moved on. Leave it behind Frank. But down inside I couldn’t let her go, ever.

In January of ‘99 , I called Omar to invite him to a clinic I was doing in the Tampa area in mid-February. “Ah Frankie. I come up and see you. . . No, you come down here and do a demonstration for our polo friends. I set it up for you. Okay?” he asked. “Hey Omar, where’s that buckskin filly I worked with? I’d really like to see her.” I inquired. “You mean Ambella. Oh she’s in England Frankie. That horse is fast, one of the fastest in the game.” “I’d like to see her. I may be over there this summer. How would I find her Omar?” “Geoffrey gave her to Prince Charles after he got hurt and quit the game. He gave him both she and Moonstruck.” I thought back on the horse who had taught me the most and changed my life. That was Moonstruck. I thought back on the horse I had loved the most and had the best connection. And that was Ambella.

I will do everything in my power to see her again. If there’s a way to give her a home to live out the rest of her life when her polo career ends, I want that home to be the one I provide. I long to reconnect with Ambella.


Frank Bell and his accredited instructors have been helping horses with their people problems for several decades. Frank writes interesting stories about these horses and their challenges. He also helps people better understand how to communicate with these magnificent creatures by answering their challenging questions on his website. Frank has designed a logical sequence of exercises that immediately places both parties on higher ground . . . without the need for a round pen. Suddenly both parties are riding in confidence instead of fear. Frank Bell’s 7-Step Safety System has been featured in horse magazines and ezines throughout the world including a three-part series in Western Horseman magazine. Frank’s foundation video “Discover the Horse You Never Knew” fully outlines “the system” and is available in the audio/video library that includes twelve works. Join Frank Bell’s Gentle Solution Revolution and breakthrough your training barriers now!


Tia Has Diamond in Her Eyes By Frank Bell

Tia Has Diamond in Her Eyes

The day had an ominous start. As I looked out my bedroom window, I saw the fuzzy white form of my 20 year Anglo/Arab through the thick lodge pole forest that I lived in. He would be my school horse today as I worked with a student flying in from Denver to arrive at my ranch early in the afternoon. But Lakota wasn’t moving, nor standing in the sun on that cool October morning as he usually preferred. Instead he was standing in the position to relieve himself, yet didn’t seem to be getting that done either. Something wasn’t right. Time to investigate.

I hurriedly dressed and bee-lined it out to find my horse all out of sorts. He was bloated, breathing heavily and distinctly in the position of trying to have a bowel movement. This was one uncomfortable horse.

“What timing,” I thought to myself, and then hurried back into the house to regroup and assess the situation.

I had reserved this weekend to work with a young lady from Denver who was seeking accreditation status to teach my 7 Step Safety System. Tia was flying in to work with me and Lakota for two full days and was probably driving to the airport at that very moment. I knew immediately that I’d have to find other horses to work with as well as get my horse back to his the good health which had been the trademark of his entire life.

I made a mental list of horse folks in the area as I called the local vet and received instructions for treating colic. Getting Lakota moving was of utmost importance and of course a laxative would be a good idea. So we went for a long walk, cell phone in hand.

Tammy’s Herd

The first person who came to mind was my barber, Tammy Kent. Tammy kind of collected horses, dogs, cats, goats and most anything that showed up at her doorstep. She was a soft touch who simply loved animals. I could easily relate. Fortunately she was home.

“Sure I’ve got some horses your student can work with Frank. In fact I’ve got one in particular that could use some work. She’s a six-year old dapple grey Anglo/Arab with one ride on her. We’ve just been out of sync as far as getting her going under saddle. She’s a real sweetheart, but a bit flighty. You know how the quantum energy of an Arabian /Thoroughbred cross, right?”

“Know all about it Tammy. That’s the same breeding as my old guy Lakota Breeze. That excessive energy that needs plenty of direction. Hey this sounds perfect. We’ll see you this afternoon.”

Tammy and I made arrangements to meet mid-afternoon. At least one immediate problem was solved as Lakota and I walked on around the loop of about a half mile that led back to my place. He moved out progressively better with every step and I felt a weight begin to lift off my shoulders as the cloudless fall day gradually warmed.

Tia Hilton arrived at just the time she predicted, 1:30. Tia was a tall dark-haired athletic gal who shook my hand with genuine enthusiasm and an engaging smile. We were immediately at ease with each other as I explained the situation. She nodded understandingly, changed her clothes, and off we headed to Tammy Kent’s ranch with implements for horse training packed for the afternoon.

Tammy and her husband Wade were just “headin down to the river to get Diamond” when we arrived.

“We’ll wait here and play with the lovely horse right here in the close paddock,” I suggested as they drove off, stock trailer in tow.

I grabbed one of my rope halters with a twelve foot lead and Tia and I walked over to an attractive light gray mare who gazed at us invitingly across the fence.

“Have at it Tia,” I suggested. “Just start working the steps and I’ll jump in with pointers as I need to. Understand that I want you to get as much out of these two days as possible, so don’t be offended if I give you a good dose of constructive criticism. This is so much about you teaching the system down the road, so I’ll try to mention the typical pitfalls that most students fall into. OK?”

“That’s why I’m here Frank. I think by now you know I can handle about anything. So have at it.”

Tia had a wonderful sense of touch and immediately found the melting zones on that very fortunate gray mare that just delighted in the attention. She was putty in Tia’s hands in seconds and I was impressed. Tia shared that same love of animals that so many of us innately possess deep in our souls; it showed loud and clear.

The clatter of the trailer and whinnying and stomping of the new horse became progressively louder as Tammy and Wade turned the corner into the yard. We left gray- mare and approached the trailer to get a glimpse of Tia’s student. Through the slats of the trailer we could see a dark gray with heavy dappling. She was stomping around nervously and whinnying loudly. This was one very agitated horse with a whole lot of white in her eyes. Tia and I glanced at each other with mutual concern.

“This looks pretty interesting Tia. You ready,” I plied?

Tia had a worried look about her, almost perplexed.

“Don’t worry. I won’t get you into anything dangerous. My promise. Really,” I assured her.

Meeting Diamond

With a tremendous leap that about pulled great big Wade off his feet, Diamond came charging off the trailer, head sky-high, snorting fire and whinnying like a lost colt. Wade jerked down hard on the lead and Diamond’s head shot even higher and more white showed in those already zoned-out eyes. But the jerk did get the horse’s attention long enough to get control and move her into the small round pen.

As Diamond ripped around the pen Tammy gave us instructions and set up a couple chairs for us. Then she hit the road for the rest of the day and allowed us free rein with her once ridden six-year old Anglo/Arab.

It took a few minutes for this to all sink in and begin to add up. A magnificently conformed horse of incredible athletic ability evidence by her rollbacks and graceful changes of direction, why had she been ridden once only at this age? I suspected that Tammy had left out a few details, and surmised she had gotten into trouble and wasn’t too excited about getting back on this super-charged, hyper horse. But that was all just fine because no one was about to get on Diamond without a clear invitation. And the invite would only come when the horse was right. Period.

My Story. 7 Steps To Safety

Sixteen years earlier I’d gotten into trouble on a very athletic horse that had catapulted me right into the side of a solid wooden round pen. The loud snap of my collarbone insured that I would not be riding for a couple months, so I had plenty of time to think things over. My solemn promise to myself was to create a safety system before mounting any horse ever again. And I did just that. In fact I did it so well that several major horse magazines wrote it up and my career was launched.

Today I travel the world teaching the 7 Steps that help riders stay safe. It is the core of my teaching and the demand continues to grow. Build it and they will come. Well, they just keep coming. And today Tia would not ride until both she and Diamond knew this sequence of exercises real well and the horse was 1000% ready. That was my promise to Tia and myself.

Quantum Energy

I had the wonderful advantage with Diamond of understanding her breeding very very well. My recovering horse, Lakota Breeze had taught me volumes in the eighteen years we’d co-habituated. As I’d said time after time, “Hot plus hot equals boiling,” when referring to this combination of two high-strung breeds. In fact only in the lasts several seasons had I returned in the spring to a horse that didn’t need “the fresh taken off” as my good friend Mike Brown referred to the first encounter in the spring. Yes I did indeed understand this exact breeding well and it had been a gift in disguise many years ago before I had any idea what boiling energy was all about.

With horses of this nature there is often just too much energy to even begin to communicate. So then it’s about trying to use that energy constructively and get the horse focused on the handler. Monty Roberts and John Lyons have made careers in the art of round penning and this is exactly what needed to take place to begin to connect with this very sketched-out Angle/Arab named Diamond.

“You’ve studied Monty, right,” I inquired of Tia.

“Yes. I think I have a pretty good understanding of what he calls join up, Frank.”

“We’ll, have at it girl. And just don’t get too close to that hind-end. I don‘t think she’s mean, just bursting with energy.

And so it was. Tia entered that round pen with determination and optimism. And she did pretty well. After a series of turns to the outside with Tia very much the director, she dipped her shoulder and invited Diamond to join her. It took several attempts to actually get her hands on the wired-up horse, but within probably ten minutes she was using her instinctual animal talents to melt Diamond in the first step of my system, the one we call bonding.

Bonding with Diamond

Most every horse person believes they have that special bonded relationship with their horses. On some level this is probably true. But the depth of this bonding and trust-building that can be reached varies dramatically.

Years earlier I’d watched Linda Tellington Jones literally melt hyped-up Arabians at the Race of Champions near Cameron, Montana. I watched in awe as these over-the-top Arabs let down in her healing hands. Their eyes began to glaze over in shear pleasure as she stoked their ears, eyes, and insides of the horses’ mouths and noses. That very day, in a mere two hours, my life changed as I began to apply and modify these techniques to fit me, my approach, and my future program. And now, having taught thousands how to melt horses through touch, I’ve realized the value of this first step. Most importantly, Tia understood the importance as well. And she was good at it because her heart was in it.

In a very short while Tia had Diamond quite relaxed and trusting and enjoying her attentions. From there she asked for the head to drop and then be guided to the side, all of which Diamond complied with happily. This is the second step in my program called take and give. And while Diamond’s tail wasn’t completely relaxed, it wasn’t clamped down tight either. This was another good sign since a tight tail usually signifies an uptight horse. But now the moment of truth was upon us as Tia prepared for movement. You see, the fourth step we call the dance begins, because this is where the movement begins.

The Dance Begins

As Tia positioned herself to drive Diamond forward, the pitch of high energy seemed to almost send an aura over that little round pen. At the slightest provocation with Tia’s driving-hand Diamond shot irrationally forward so hard, fast, and unexpectedly, that the lead pulled right through Tia’s hand. Diamond ripped around the pen out of control as that twelve foot lead chased her, in a display of completely irrational behavior.

“Well I guess we’re getting a feel for her irrational side, huh Tia,” I remarked?

“I bet she’s been whipped-on Frank.”

“Sure looks like it to me. Believe me, the rough cowboy attitude is alive and well in these parts. You’ll have to do everything very slowly. I’m guessing your body language will get the job done. You push too hard with your driving hand and she’ll go right over the top. So eeeeeeasy now girl- I mean you Tia,” I suggested with a warm smile. “This is going to be quite a challenge for you. About perfect I’d say,” I said to myself and to Tia with a very good feel of this challenging situation.

In reality this was exactly the horse we needed for Tia to learn and for me to teach. What a blessing the morning illness of Lakota had suddenly become.

“Frank I’m getting light-headed. I’ve got to eat something,” Tia informed me after several too-fast go-arounds the round pen.

“No problem. Let’s head into town and get you something. Gotta have fuel to work, especially with this horse.

We put a bucket of water into the pen for Diamond and took a half hour break. It was a good chance to talk things over, debrief the last hour, and form a plan of action. A few nuts and some hydration brought Tia right back and she was ready and eager by the time we pulled back into Tammy’s.

Tia Becomes Graceful

Tia entered the round pen prepared to work with this high-strung horse at a level of subtlety she’d most likely never had to employ. But still at the very slightest provocation Diamond went right over the top. Even I hadn’t seen such a hot horse in some time. This horse would whirl on two legs and just fly out the opposite direction when Tia so much as lifted her hand just a hair too fast. This was a hot hot horse that had already been worked a good hour and a half and was still just way over the top.

Tia, just try to use your body language to drive the horse. Don’t twirl the lead at all. It’s just too much for Diamond to handle. Get into the driving position and set it all up so there is only one simple option, to go forward quietly,” I directed.

Tia pulled back for a few moments and just kind of thought about what I’d said. She was obviously used to having to push horses to get real impulsion. This was a horse of a different color for her. Then she moved into position with Diamond against the side of the round pen and positioned herself just off the horse’s shoulder on the near side. With her left palm open and held up toward the horse’s eye, she gave a soft cluck and patted her leg too hard. Again Diamond shot forward irrationally, hit the end of the lead and pulled Tia forward abruptly, which only heightened the horse’s spirit even more and he pulled the lead right out of her hand yet again.

“Lemme show you what I mean. I’ve dealt with so many horses that I can offer the slightest level of go, and hopefully get rational movement. She might be about at the end of her rope for the day as well. And we sure want to leave it in a good place, you know?”

Tia nodded and backed out of the pen as I took the lead. I set the horse up just as I had instructed her to do, with the slightest kiss Diamond moved forward at a jumpy walk that verged on the edge of the trot. I allowed her to walk right out around me a good half dozen circles before snailing her down to a stop. With her head into the girth-area I loved her up and worked my index finger into her mouth. She suddenly exhaled deeply, dropped her head, and licked her lips with gusto.

“Ok come on in and do the same. Then we’ll call it a day. She’s had enough and it’s getting cold.” The sun was now behind clouds to the west and the temperature was dipping fast.

Tia emulated my subtle go-forward cue with her body and a slight kiss and Diamond performed like a champ. He walked around her quietly until she asked him to wind down to the stop. And there he found that wonderful place yet again, back to the womb, safety, love, and comfort. She loved her up and gently removed the halter. Diamond had no interest in leaving Tia. They had both found this safe place to regroup and neither wanted it to end.

We turned Diamond out into the big paddock with a couple of minis and then drove home, discussing the day’s progress the entire ten miles back to Windrider Ranch. We both felt good about the day and were eager to return the next morning.

“I really like that horse Frank. She’s really a sweetheart, has great athletic ability, and is simply a beautiful creature. I might just buy her as a project horse, you know,” quipped Tia.

“Tomorrow will tell the whole story. If she’s still bonkers and hasn’t digested much of today, then I’d walk away. But if we do see some good changes and is a more accepting and relaxed horse, well then I think she’d be a fabulous project for you.”

Tia rested as I took Lakota for a good long walk before dinner. He was improving and I found fresh manure in his paddock, so the panic button wasn’t bright red anymore.

Sunday morning, late October, eastern Idaho spells out cold temperatures. Tia and I started the day by reviewing the video she’d sent several weeks earlier. She was able to see her progress very clearly and we discussed in depth aspects of her presentation. She soaked it all up like a sponge and just couldn’t wait to get her hands back on Diamond. But I insisted on working a few remedial exercises with Tia to improve her timing, positioning, and body-language for the day. We then grabbed some munchies, drinks, and my saddle and then drove over to Tammy’s place late in the morning.

Diamond was out grazing and cavorting with the minis when we arrived. Tia called out to her and you’d of thought they were long lost friends. Diamond couldn’t get over to greet us fast enough.

“I think you’re going to be taking this one home Tia,” I chided as the two melted into each other. “You two have really connected.”

Tia was speechless, as she felt the same emotion for this wonderful mare. At this point her heart had now entered into the equation.

“Listen, today get right into it. I mean it should only take a few minutes to get right back to where we were yesterday. Look what you’ve already got working,” I suggested?

The two of them were dancing around in no time. Tia’s subtlety and Diamond’s understanding of what she was asking were really working. It was truly beautiful to watch the two of them as the day warmed up.

When it came time to up the ante a bit with the fifth step, desensitizing, Diamond became noticeably more animated, but at a reasonable level. Within a half hour Tia was tossing the lead all over the horse, then using a plastic bag on the end of an extendable wand all over Diamond’s body as she tolerated it quite well.

Time for Ballet on the Ground

The final step in my sequence is a driving exercise that culminates in a change of direction as the horse performs first a turn on the forehand, facing up to the handler, and then is asked to rock back onto the haunches and head out in the opposite direction. It is amazingly effective to connect brain and feet as energy is used constructively. This is relatively easy for the horse, but not so easy for humans to really master.

Tia asked the horse to move out and then, reaching up the lead, for the face-up. Everything went well until she asked Diamond to head out the opposite direction, and then all hell broke loose. Diamond’s head shot into the air and her eyes whitened noticeably as she darted off to Tia’s right.

“Wow. That was a very big deal for her. Try the other side,” I suggested.

The other side was a whole lot smoother. Not perfect, but much better and clearly a more relaxed horse going from the right to the left.

“Okay, now make the change again Tia,” I instructed, pushing her a bit.

Again Diamond resisted going out to the right and tried by keeping Tia out on the left.

“Yep. I think I’ve got it figured out Tia. She’s got an eye changing problem,” I announced with almost a sigh of relief that I’d uncovered her major phobia that had been hidden behind her impulsive, irrational behavior. “You see she really is fearful of going from the left to the right side. There’s a blind spot in there that really has her bothered. We get that one fixed and I do believe she’ll calm right down.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about Frank. Never heard of such a problem. Explain”

“Well some horses just have a real hard time changing eyes. You see they focus on one side with their eyes and brain. Then suddenly we ask for them to make the change to the other side. There is a moment when they lose sight of us completely, called the blind-spot. Until they learn to handle this comfortably, it can be quite traumatic, even flip out stuff. This very phobia gets a lot of riders unknowingly into trouble. But I believe we can help her through this. Let me take over and watch very closely as Diamond works through this,” I explained to Tia.

Helping a Troubled Horse Through Eye-Changing Issues

I walked into the round pen and loved Diamond up to bring back that trust and relaxation. She enjoyed my attention and seemed to settle down a bit. Then I positioned her to face the side of the round pen head-on, perpendicular. From there it was a matter of pushing her with my open hand extended up toward her left eye and clucking. She resisted and tried to come back into me, but I persisted and she finally bolted off to the right impulsively, clearly bothered. I backed up and slapped my hand against my own leg to try to catch her right eye and pull her toward me, but she didn’t want to have anything to do with me on that right side and immediately turned back to the left.

“You see what’s going on here Tia? She is blocking me out on the right. It’s real scary for her. But I’ve got to persist until she can make that change and turn and face me and pick me up with both eyes. This is pretty complicated stuff that slips by most trainers. And it’s relatively easy to accomplish out here in the open air. The real test is inside a stall with four solid walls. Unfortunately we don’t have a set-up like that here at Tammy’s.”

Time after time I pushed her from one side to the other, driving her with outside turns until she was finally able to come through and pick me up with both eyes and actually walk toward me after that change. It was traumatic for her and she was very impulsive at first. But after about a dozen changes, she finally settled in and accepted this initially disturbing exercise.

“Okay Tia, now you jump in and do the same. We want her to come through the turn and actually walk toward you, so you may have to position yourself to make it easy for her by moving into her field of vision,” I explained.

Tia seemed to catch onto this and within ten minutes Diamond was completely relaxed and was changing eyes comfortably from both sides.

“I think she’s ready to ride, don’t you Frank,” Tia inquired?

“Well let’s get her saddled and do a little more desensitizing. I want to see her moving out reeeeeeal rationally as she handles you slapping the lead on the saddle assertively, with real gusto. Then I’ll feel that she’s ready.”

Diamond handled the saddling better than I thought she would have. Good sign. But when Tia started driving her and slapping the saddle, it all fell apart again. This sent her right over the top as she moved off in a herky-jerky, impulsive manner.

“Do you see how impulsive she is? That is what I call irrational behavior. Irrational gets us hurt. Rational keeps us safe. She must handle this calmly before she’s ridden.”

It was a difficult situation for Tia to perform and for me to explain. Her experience with handling the lead as the horse moved was just rusty enough to cause the horse discomfort. Sensing that it would be best for me to take over, I deftly made the suggestion and entered the round pen. Again I settled Diamond with deep kneading into her withers and broke her tongue loose with my index finger in the corner of her mouth. She settled noticeably and let out a long sigh.

“Good sign. When they get too bothered, they can’t think, but only react out of fear. So then we have to bring them back to home-base, bonding. Now watch how I’ll stay in here very close, even touching my shoulder to her side in support. I’ll begin by just tapping the saddle lightly with my right hand while supporting her with my left on her neck,” I explained.

Diamond was upset enough that even the slightest tapping was bothersome, so I retreated, rubbed the saddle, and stroked her neck all at the same time. And this she did handle. Then I slipped the index finger of my left hand into the corner of her mouth and began feathering her tongue as I lightly tapped the saddle. She raised her head, but didn’t move forward. I quit and rewarded her heartily. She enjoyed my enthusiastic praise.

“Lavish praise will speed up the learning process by 60%. 60%,” I reiterated! “I like those odds.”

I allowed Diamond to revel in our tiny success and then started anew. This time I was able to actually tap the saddle with the last eight inches of the lead in an overhand manner before she had to move off. Again I praised her with gusto. It took about another fifteen minutes to help her accept the slapping of the lead on the saddle as just part of life. Only when she could finally walk around me quietly as I slapped the saddle hard, real hard, did I feel like she was ready to ride. And that was and is my final litmus test with every single horse before I mount up.

“Do you see how she has settled and is completely accepting this,” I asked Tia?

“It’s so much about your timing Frank. You’re able to do it all so gracefully that she isn’t scared or threatened one bit. Heck when I do it I’m so jerky and inaccurate that it frightens her, doesn’t it,” Tia answered her own question?

“Just takes time and practice. I guess after a few thousand horses a guy starts to get smooth at some of this. The only way you’ll get handy with the rope is to just do it. And do it away from horses. Torture the fence-post and rail before you do it with the real thing. That way you’ll be reasonably accurate when you do it with a horse, ya know?”

“Got it Frank. Time to mount up?”

I was still just a hair nervous about Tia riding the horse, and I wasn’t about to get on Diamond. I’d had some back spasms plaguing me for sometime and couldn’t risk getting jousted around. This was one catty horse that could move out from under a rider in a millisecond.

“We’ll just ease into this slowly and make sure she’s just fine. We’ll get you half way into the saddle a couple times on each side, with me supporting her on the ground. Then I’ll lead her with you half way on lying over the saddle. I don’t want you swinging a leg on until she can handle the part-way stuff and stay completely calm,” I explained.

And it worked exactly as I’d hoped it would. Diamond stayed relaxed as I led Tia around in each direction, culminating with several one rein stops to each side. Then Tia mounted up and found the stirrup on the off side as I reassured Diamond from the ground. I stayed in close for several rotations in the pen, and then let Tia take the reins. I stood back and watched with a wonderful sense of satisfaction. In another ten minutes Tia and Diamond were gliding around that pen like a seasoned couple who’d danced for years.

Three parties, all new to each other merely a day earlier had worked together to accomplish this very happy ending.


Frank Bell and his accredited instructors have been helping horses with their people problems for several decades. Frank writes interesting stories about these horses and their challenges. He also helps people better understand how to communicate with these magnificent creatures by answering their challenging questions on his website. Frank has designed a logical sequence of exercises that immediately places both parties on higher ground . . . without the need for a round pen. Suddenly both parties are riding in confidence instead of fear. Frank Bell’s 7-Step Safety System has been featured in horse magazines and ezines throughout the world including a three-part series in Western Horseman magazine. Frank’s foundation video “Discover the Horse You Never Knew” fully outlines “the system” and is available in the audio/video library that includes twelve works. Join Frank Bell’s Gentle Solution Revolution and breakthrough your training barriers now!