Answering the call of the horses: Safia Khider

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My journey from Marrakech to Colorado is teaching me so much about myself but most importantly about who I want to continue being in this world: a person with compassion who will not stop learning how to better be and act with horses.

My luck has brought me to ROTH and to Anna Twinney, an incredibly talented and compassionate horsewoman who gives a voice to the voiceless and travels the world to teach the language of the horse. Her generosity has brought me to her ranch where I have the honor and the incredible chance to work with her horses and to get her training. I am very excited and happy to share this journey in my blog with all of those out there who, just like me, have longed to truly understand and listen to the horses…

Safia’s favorite quote:

“Once you give your horse a voice, be ready and willing to hear what he has to say.”

~ Anna Twinney

It is a good reminder as I have seen a lot of people not liking what they “hear” once they give a voice to the horses.

 

Go here to follow along on Safia’s BLOG: Read Connect to Horses Here!

A Message From Behind the Curtain…

Ahoy, Mateys! 

‘Tis I, Lacey, Captain of the ROTHffice!

Most of my friends who know I work for a Horse Whisperer have visions of me out with the horses, riding all day, crossing the western landscape with a cowgirl hat and boots or maybe even working in an indoor.  That is not at all my story.  While I occasionally feed, clean, and fill water tanks, I’m largely an indoor girl. Much of my time at ROTH is spent at my desk, packing shipments, on the phone with clients or hosts, or taking care of the myriad little tasks that supporting a small business requires.  Still, I do have horses and as much as my lifestyle heavily revolved around being on a horse when I was younger, in my older years, I simply wish to keep their company and to learn as much as I can about their language while maybe enjoying a trail ride here and there.

If I were an equine, I’d be a donkey, because you can’t push me. I have to want to do it and only on my schedule.  However, this year I became acutely aware that my chance to attend the HHC here in CO might be drawing to a close because of Anna wanting to bring the course to people around the world.  So after years of watching others go before me and learning what it was that I too wished to learn, 2019 was indeed my time to jump on it, and so I did.

I did not attend Part I of the HHC, but I figured that this many years of working for Anna and her graciously allowing me to attend and volunteer at some of the local clinics meant that I had enough exposure to the ideas and methods that  I could now jump in and “challenge” Part III of the Holistic Horse Course.  And, indeed, “challenged” was the right word to describe my two weeks at Zuma’s, as I struggled with catching up on all the material, all the notes, and the practicals that I had missed.  But however challenging it was for me, I so enjoyed being with everyone there, all the other students who helped me and who were patient with me, and who taught me what they had learned in the first part of their HHC.  Not to mention Katie, Safia, and Gino, who helped me immensely and included me in learning as I became the buddy to watch what it was they were doing so that I had a better idea when it was time for me to try the same.  And my gratitude extends to Anna, for allowing me to join you all while being entirely aware of all the gaps in my ROTH foundation that are simply the result of gathering bits and pieces here and there over the years.  You took those pieces and turned them into a complete and smooth picture for me, one with direction, clarity, and confidence that was entirely lacking before. 

To everyone who accompanied me on the journey and to the teachers, mentors, and horses who led us, THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS!

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The above image is of my allocated horse for the duration of the course, Pumpkin, Cari Simmons, who was handling Pumpkin to keep me safe while I did some blanket prep and spook busting, and myself.  I really fell in love with Pumpkin (and Cari for that matter) and I’m so blessed that I got to work with Pumpkin for those two weeks.

Our Annual Modular HHC in CO Is Filling FAST! Will YOU be there?

The end of September will be here before you know it and our annual Holistic Horsemanship Certification class in Colorado will begin!

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This unique exploration into true, trust-based partnership and training is filling up fast.  So, if you haven’t had a chance to look into what our course covers, and what students can expect, here’s an overview:

Are you a:

Passionate amateur
Equine enthusiast
Potential horse guardian
A rescue, donor, or volunteer
Horse guardian
Instructor
Equine coach, life coach, psychologist or psychiatrist
Natural horsewoman
Trainer
Groom
Barn or Equine Business Manager

Or are you:

Working in the Equine Industry
Seeking to become a professional trainer or clinician
Moving from traditional horse training into the next generation of horsemanship
Seeking a more gentle and effective training method
In the equine facilitated learning or coaching industry and you are looking to enhance your horsemanship and gain clarity to better serve your clients

If you answered yes to any of the above, the horses are calling YOU!

 

Explore the ROTH methodologies

  • Discover a truly unique approach to horsemanship and develop a real, trust-based relationship with all horses
  • Learn the difference between trust-based and dominance-based training and how to tell the difference
  • Gain fluency in the language of the horse (goes way beyond simple body language and physical training cues)
  • 12-step safety system through intimacy, relaxation, and leadership
  • Language and life lessons at liberty
  • Understanding effective use of the round pen and how to avoid its abuses and pitfalls
  • Create a genuine contract with your horse through conversation at liberty
  • Transfer language to the line in the in-hand obstacle course
  • Gain feel, timing, and an understanding of pressure/release
  • Explore team building & team penning at liberty
  • Learn the priceless value of riding from the ground
  • Practice stress-free, no flood, spook-busting secrets
  • Discover a comprehensive, holistic approach to your horse’s health and fitness
  • Build a confident, reliable equine partner
  • Learn the secrets to the self-loading horse

Take me to learn more about the HHC!

 

ROTH-testimonials

“I am lucky enough to have had many extraordinary adventures all over the world but the Holistic Horsemanship Modular course has blown my mind.  What a transformative, life-changing experience!” ~ Lorraine 

“As a licensed psychologist and horse owner, I provide equine facilitated psychotherapy as well as traditional psychotherapy. I enrolled in the ROTH Holistic Horsemanship Course to deepen my understanding of the language of equus and gain more skill and experience as a horsewoman. Anna’s immense capacity for understanding and working with horses on every level never ceases to amaze me. She has a unique ability to accurately gauge precisely what each student needs to learn and grow while simultaneously tailoring each lesson to the specific needs of the horse. This Course has far exceeded my expectations and has certainly added fuel to my passion for working with horses.” ~ -Jo Brilhart, RN, PsyD

 

Watch below as students from all around the globe immersed themselves into learning the language of Equus from the ground up at Anna’s HHC a couple of years back. With over 30 yrs of experience, Anna shares secrets in body language, inter-species communication and more.

 

 

 

 

In Partnership with Horses as Healers

Equine Facilitated Learning or Equine Facilitated Therapy is a vast ocean of nuances and subtleties. What means something to one person might be misinterpreted or completely misunderstood by another. We can’t really assess a horse to see if they would be as a therapy horse and Anna Twinney (founder of Reach Out to Horses and life coach for over 30 years) explains why in this lecture at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo. She also goes into how we can support our therapy and coaching horses to make sure that the exchange is not a one-way transaction of them only supporting us.

To purchase Anna’s DVD set: In Partnership with Horses as our coaches, healers, messengers, and teachers, go here: Take me to the DVD

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For more videos from Total Integration Tv, go to Ti-Tv.tv or, visit Dr. Vickie Wickhorst’s page at ColoradoSageLearningCenter.com for more on Quantum Healing and Health!

Reaching Out to Horses in the Round Pen

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Once more, our lovely friends at The Horse’s Hoof have featured Anna in their online publication.  We are so pleased to be partnering with them to reach more and more people who are interested in Natural, Holistic Horsemanship!

Reach Out to Horses by Anna Twinney

Horses have walked this Earth for more than 54 million years.  While some do not consider them among the brightest of the animal kingdom, most are unaware that through their lengthy tenure on this planet they have created an effective non-verbal language that some have coined “the language of Equus.”  This is a language that goes well beyond the unspoken.  Through careful observation, humans have been able to interpret and adopt this method of communication.

Originating from the horses’ body language, behavior, interaction and herd hierarchy, humans can now speak with them through our own body language, gestures and even our intentions.  This language, like any, requires patience and practice.  It can be taught to anyone but fluency only comes from time spent observing and communicating with the native speakers.

Not only can horses read the body language of every member of their species they can read humans just as easily.  They can, almost immediately, see your agenda and how you are feeling.  They will highlight your strengths and weaknesses.  In effect, they know who you are and what that means to them in a very short period of time.  You can lie to yourself but you can’t lie to a horse.  Therefore, it’s important that you begin every interaction with a clear mind, leaving “all your baggage” at the gate.

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One place to start the conversation with your horse is the round pen.  Using the round pen as your classroom can be very helpful in creating a trust-based relationship.  This type of conversation is the foundation to all interaction, every ground session, ridden work and ultimately your success.  A 50-foot round pen is suggested as it allows free motion for horses of most sizes.  It’s also important to make sure you have appropriate footing, which is essential to maintaining health and fitness.

This is an example of a typical session in the round pen.  It’s important to note that this is an overview and is not intended to be a formula or a “quick fix” to solve behavioral issues and requires dedication and commitment to learn and apply.  Remember that communication takes place whenever you are together.  Each gesture and motion you make says something to your 4-legged partner.

Familiarization:  Horses need the chance to explore the round pen at liberty.  They naturally check out their perimeters, take time to settle and to explore the vicinity through their senses.  Each horse is an individual and as such will react in different ways to different circumstances.  This 15-20 minute period is an ideal time to observe their character and learn to read thier personality.

Orientation:  This is the official introduction and there are many important steps in this portion which include:

  • The introduction to the four directions (N, E, S, W) of the round pen
  • Introduction of body language
  • The opportunity for handler to read horse and horse to read handler
  • The time for the adrenaline of horse and handler to subside
  • Creation of a comfort zone in the center of the round pen
  • Creation of a safe distance between horse and handler
  • Manipulation of speed and direction by the handler to gain leadership

Communication:  In a natural herd environment, hierarchy is determined through many factors, one being the manipulation of speed and direction.  As mentioned in the orientation process, the handler adopts this practice in the round pen environment.  The connection between horse and handler takes place before or during the orientation, with a herd of 2 being formed.  Once the herd has been formed and the orientation has been completed, the handler asks the horse to leave by driving them away using body language.  This is the time to make character assessments, to complete a health check, and to begin forming the partnership with the horse.

A higher-ranking horse will use his body language to communicate or punish another by sending them out of the herd.  This gives a strong message as banishment is a grave risk to their survival.  Through the position that the handler takes of driving the horse forward, he will retreat.  This is a form of advance and retreat, also known as pressure release, and has been used by horsemen for centuries.  The handler then adopts equine body language by squaring his shoulders, placing his eyes on the horse’s eyes, and advancing forward in an assertive manner.  The combination of proximity, speed, movements, and eye contact can mean a number of different things.

As prey animals, horses naturally run for ¼ to 3/8ths of a mile before they stop to assess what made them flee.  This distance is roughly translated to 7-8 revolutions in the round pen.  The fleeing that is induced should not be through fear, but rather a request for forward motion.  The handler takes possession of any area the horse stands in at any given moment, hence gaining leadership.  A speed slightly beyond their natural gait is best and will often be in the form of a canter.

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When it feels like the right time to change direction, the horse is asked to change direction towards the round pen wall through the handler’s body positioning.  The same process of asking the horse to leave is repeated in this direction.  Unlike humans, horses only transfer about 20-50% of all information from the left to the right side of the brain and, as such, they consider this to be new ground that they are exploring.

Once the horse has explored both directions he is then asked to return to familiar ground, pressure is reduced but an active involvement is maintained.  An assertive walk forward is continued, while allowing the horse to reduce his speed and maintain focus and attention.  The handler’s body language becomes a little softer as his intention changes.  This procedure is also helpful because the horse will often reveal his history during this time.

The horse will begin to communicate his desire to return to the herd of two.  He will relay very clears signs, such as reducing the size of his circle, relaxing his jaw and neck, and many other gestures that require some study for the handler to recognize.  These are all desired responses that need acknowledgement through a release of pressure resembling a drop of the eyes, a relaxing of shoulders, slowing of the walk, or a hesitating in the line throwing.  This is what makes it a conversation, rather than a demand or simply talking at the horse.  Each try by the horse should be acknowledged in this manner.   Overall, the handler is looking for a complete feeling of unity and a commitment from the horse prior to inviting them back to the herd.  This will come with experience and the whole of the “Reach Out” process generally should take no longer than 15-20 minutes.

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Reach Out to Horses:  A suitable moment is identified to invite the horse to become part of the team again.  The invitation takes the form of a sweeping motion in front of the horse and is similar to the natural gesture of displaying one’s flank, while eating.  The passive nature of the maneuver asks the horse to slow down and step closer.  He will choose to stay close to the wall, come part of the way or all the way to the handler.   If the communication is done correctly but the horse does not return to the handler this may possibly point to a problem, issue, or habit the horse developed before the session.  Ultimately, the greatest compliment is that the horse comes up to the handler and reaches out towards him with his nose.

Close Connection:  An invitation to the horse is given to come into the heart space where he receives lots of reward and reassurance – creating a close connection.  A rub on the forehead will reinforce his positive behavior.  The ultimate reward for a horse is the release of pressure, which translates to walking away.  Horses naturally move in arcs and angles so, when the time is right, the handler walks away in a clockwise direction to perform a figure 8.  The qualities of a leader are displayed to bring the horse back to the center of the round pen, which becomes a familiar comfort zone.

 

Reaching out to your horse is the foundation of all communication.  It can take on many forms and will allow you to learn to read and communicate with your horse, while building a trust-based relationship.  It is the beginning to all success and will aid in improving existing relationships, embarking on new partnerships, and assessing character and health.  From here, you can lead into starting young horses, problem solving, improving ground manners, teaching to lead & load, eliminate kicking, biting, and rearing, just to name a few.  Creating this trust-based relationship with your horse can be a magical experience and the moment you feel that true partnership is a moment you will never forget.

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This is NOT a Rehearsal. This is NOT a Show. Let the Mustang Demonstration Begin!

We arrived with just 10 minutes to spare having driven over 5 1/2 hours through fog, rain, snow, sleet, and hail to get to Grand Junction, CO, in time to support the Mustangs at the auction and particularly Friends of Horses & Steadfast Steeds with Tracy Harmon Scott and George Brauneis who work hard to give these amazing horses voices and homes.

Follow along for the live streaming of these wild horse 🐎 demonstrations. Part 1 of 4  and catch up on all of the valuable information in these demos that you might have missed.

Mustang Demo with Rango 3 Rango and Anna

Click on the Link to the Video Below to watch the Live Streaming of this event and more!

Watch all of Anna’s Live Streaming over the Weekend with the Mustangs Here

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This is not a rehearsal, this is not a show. It’s live from CO! We have never met before and the demonstration begins!

Many mustangs adapt to life away from the range and some find a way to cope. Imagine knowing just how to reignite their spark and to encourage them to wake up – to find a new identity. That’s where I come in. Bringing 20 years of wild horse gentling to them as I recognize the position they find themselves in and offer a chance of expression and understanding.

Shout out to Lani Salisbury and Jill Haase for joining the ROTH team this afternoon. What true troopers they are. Dedication personified.

Ongoing appreciation for George Brauneis and Tracy Harmon Scott for inviting me to join them at this event in support of the Mustangs.

In Gratitude – $1500 Raised for America’s Mustangs!

A BIG and heartfelt THANK YOU to those who joined us on the Western Slope for the weekend of Mustang Horsemanship in cooperation with Steadfast Steeds and also to support Friends of the Mustangs.  We raised $1,500 in support of the Mustangs at Steadfast Steeds.  Thank you to ALL who showed up, who suited up, and especially those who adopted and want to know more.  We salute you!

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Sunday at Steadfast Steeds was pretty amazing. The weather was crisp, and we bundled up. The love story of Jade and Cole continued, as Anna did a demo with them together.  Anna demonstrated wild horse gentling and guided participants so they could try out some of her methodologies. It’s such a cool experience to see Anna in action, we absolutely love when she comes to town and shares her gifts with others! Thank you, Anna, for being here again this year! (from our newsletter) We had twelve participants at the clinic.

~Tracy Scott

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“My favorite moment from today’s Mustang Gentling Clinic with Anna Twinney!! Coal (who was adopted by Jade yesterday) and Jade are making their first connection as Anna coaches them both.”

~George Brauneis