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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Check out Anna’s Interview While on Location in Morocco to see What Constitutes Real Partnership

Visit Horse Lifestyle TV’s Facebook Page (https//www.facebook.com/HorseLifestyle/?pnref=story) and scroll down, or click on the link or video below to see Anna’s interview that discusses true partnership, and what it looks like to really hear the horses.

 

Check Out Anna’s Horse Lifestyle Interview from Morocco!

A Few Gems from this Month’s Newsletter; Information for the Herd from the Heart.

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Vin and Saber having a tender moment in the trailer before the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo.  Vin always makes sure to take time to connect and thank the horses for their efforts!

Join Anna on Facebook to receive our weekly quote cards for inspiration!

https://www.facebook.com/AnnaTwinneyHolisticHorsemanship/

 

Dynamite introduces NEW foundation programs for both horses and humans!
It’s never been easier to get started! 

Running low on your favorite Dynamite products?  Do you want to learn about what it takes to become a distributor?  Visit us here for more information on how you can evolve your dietary support program the Dynamite way!

Tell me more about the Dynamite Way!

 

Anna on the Airwaves!!!!

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The link to the Radio Show is here!
http://stablescoop.horseradionetwork.com/…/453-anna-twinne…/

Listen to Anna discuss pole gentling with the untouched horse.

For information on Anna’s Untouched Horse Course visit us here:
http://www.reachouttohorses.com/training.html#gentling

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Anna’s Communication with Horses in Action 3/2/1
Reaching Out in the Round Pen
Do you chase your horse in the round pen or do you drive your horse?  
The difference; one is dominance based and the other leadership based. 
 
Do you consider all natural horsemanship lineages to be the same?  
This is not a training technique, this is about the language of the horse, a silent language beyond the spoken words.  
 
Are you looking for obedience, control and compliance?
We are not, we look for collaboration.  
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Do you really know what you are saying to your horse?
Watch the video below and find out!

 

For more information on how you can learn all about Round Penning and Reaching Out the ROTH way, visit us at the links below for Anna’s DVD or to join our Horse Whispering 101 Course:

DVD Vol. 3

De-Mystifying the Round Pen

In this, the third of the Reach Out to Horses® DVD series you will see just how effective the Round Pen can be in training your horse.  Anna and her students will show you how to use the Round Pen to create the ultimate foundation for a relationship with your horse, introduce the saddle or even solve your most challenging horse related problems.

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You will learn how to:

  • Talk to your horse through your body language, energy & intention
  • Create a 2-way communication system with your horse
  • Use your eyes like a pro in the Round Pen
  • Understand how horses perceive your actions and the how’s behind the why’s.
  • Determine when the Round Pen is not the right tool for the job
  • And much, much more…

When combined with the horse’s language, the RP will open up a whole new world for you and your horse.  You will finally learn how to resolve your Round Pen issues and gain the leadership with your horse.  Through communication, honesty and mutual respect you will be able to create the trust-based relationship crucial to a good partnership with your horse.  Create a lexicon that far exceeds the RP environment and experience a language that goes beyond body gestures.

Testimonials:
Neda DeMayo – Founder of Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary
Anna’s compassion for horses and humans supports her students in developing the quality of communication that will take them beyond traditional training methods.”

Show me how to help my horse in the round pen with DVD #3!

 

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Tell me more about Horse Whispering 101 at Happy Dog Ranch

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Anna dedicates so much of her not-so-free time to writing articles for Equine Wellness Magazine.  Her contributions are beyond valuable.  Here to share just one of Anna’s Recent Feature Articles:

Read the Article Here

For access to ROTH’s resource page and to sign up to receive our full newsletter, which contains truckloads of information about Holistic and Natural Horsemanship, Dietary and Medical Support, Young Living Oils and their uses, Animal Communication, Anna’s upcoming Events and Appearances, the Diary of a Horse Whisperer, and so, so, SO much more, visit here:

http://www.reachouttohorses.com/contact/register.php

 

 

Reaching Out with Anna Twinney welcomes back The Founder of Healing Touch for Animals

December 17th and 24th, 2010

Carol Komitor

Carol Komitor – Founder of the Komitor Healing Method, Inc. & Healing Touch for Animals. We all know Carol and her amazing work as the Founder of the Healing Touch for Animals method and comprehensive program. But what you may not know is that she is also an expert in the world of Essential Oils and the powerful benefits they can bring. Join us for this 2-part conversation as Carol shares her wealth of information on the subject of therapeutic oils and how you and your animal companions can benefit from this natural healing tool.

“Don’t LOOK at me in that tone of voice.”

 

 

Occasionally we are fortunate to have the opportunity to experience out of the ordinary situations. During the Holistic Horse Course at Ray of Light Farms in East Haddam, Petie, a PMU yearling colt, reached out to a Swedish student. Suspected he may be partially deaf and going through a huge growth spurt, flexibility within the RP was key to establish a trust-based partnership to assess his personality.

“I DID….I DID…I DID SEE A MUSTANG!”

The Mustangs are our symbol of Freedom and roam throughout the United States. Anna took a fortunate few to explore the Pryor Mountains, Montana in search for herds. We could not have imagined what we were about to see…we were calling and the Mustangs responded.

The Class Clowns

Anna is privileged to demonstrate the communication between horse and human with 2 colts at the Agriculture College in Norway. She is given 2 quite rambunctious individuals to assess personalities & characters. Watch as she explains how to interpret the whispers and how the horses settle within moments through the trust based leadership.