Anna is a regular contributor to Equine Wellness Magazine, one of our favorites. Here, she describes how we can better help our horses succeed in training sessions.
Anna is a regular contributor to Equine Wellness Magazine, one of our favorites. Here, she describes how we can better help our horses succeed in training sessions.
With an upcoming move from Dubai to South Africa, she reached out to hear from her horse wondering if he would be alright to travel the distance since his physical challenges had moved front and center.
He had experienced laminitis. As a stallion, his demeanor was gentle and kind; a compact, majestic individual. He articulated his consultation thoroughly and shared how his feet would make a full recovery. With veterinary care and a thorough rehab of cold hosing and barefoot trimming (despite her concerns as a vet tech), he was on the track to full recovery.
Life in Dubai was different from what he was used to in Europe and as an experienced jumper he was comfortable teaching her and keeping her safe as she learned the discipline. Living in a rural setting surrounded by desert was interesting and he noticed details such as the limos with flags on them.
They had fallen for each other with a partnership growing in depth. Their jumping experiences had taken a rain check since his condition and her injury, but they found ways to be together. She would have it no other way than to take him with her to South Africa. He was familiar with the quarantine process, the duration, and described the two flight paths – one direct and one through Europe – which he embraced. He knew he would be taken care of.
At the other end of the trip, the largest change he envisioned was climate change. The facilities would match one another in care, protection, and amenities. With her questions answered and her mind put at ease, she would be able to pave the way for the new chapter in their lives and prepare for his arrival with what was to become his home for at least the next few years.
As a result of the many donations Anna sends we often get lovely expressions of gratitude that come seemingly out of the blue! It always brings a smile to our faces and warms our hearts to know that people are enjoying learning about the methods and bringing the message to their volunteers and other cooperating organizations.
Thanks, Monica, and This Old Horse! We slaute the work you do in the world on behalf of the Mustangs!
Want to know more about the DVD referenced here, Whispers from the Wild Ones?
Or, does it intrigue you, the idea of gentling one of America’s last, great, wild icons? Discover the Untouched Horse Course in California at the Wild Horse Sanctuary this August? Go here for all the details!
We also got this message on Facebook from a student of the methods, Cynthia Lawson Greene of Sumner, MI, who was able to apply what she learned in Foals In Training DVD to her Mustang, Scarlet:
“Anna, we have your DVD set on foal training…we have applied it to gentling out mustang, Scarlet. I never thought about running and massaging the ears and surrounding area…Thank you. First time I did Scarlet pulled away some but now I can touch them at will…she is a sweetheart…thank you!”
Cynthia, we are SO pelased to hear that the FIT methods were easily applicable to Scarlet! Thank YOU for offering a good home to the Mustangs! We sincerely appreciate those of you who do.
This is just one more testimonial to the fact that the ROTH methods are NOT A COOKIE-CUTTER SYSTEM, but rather a methodology based in the language of Equus, which can be applied to each horse individually based on their learning style, likes/dislikes, personality, character and personal history. When we use the language of the horse to speak and to request their collaboration, it eliminates the barriers that other “training systems” can create. We are always thrilled to get messages of gratitude! Thanks again, Cynthia, for Reaching Out to Share in the Success!
To learn more about the Foals in Training DVD, you can go here:
And, of course, the Foals have thier own course as well! Learn how to start them right, from the ground up, and discover a path to partnership rather than a dominance-based, training relationship.
A Special “Thank You” came from Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, a rescue with whom we are SO BLESSED to partner year after year.
Pictured are Jodi Messenich, owner and operator of Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, Elaine Nash of Fleet of Angels, who provided us with untouched mustangs for this years Trainers Course, and Miss Anna Twinney herself.
In a largely oversized and muggy indoor arena, the wide eyes await. They sense our intention. They sense our presence. They sense the start of something big. Some are fresh starts and some are restarts. Either way it is a new beginning, both for the people facilitating the learning and new for the wide eyes alike. What brings us all to this quiet place on the hilltop is life’s inevitable inertia; or rather, our desire to shift and change as we continue on our unique trajectories. It is the need to be dynamic – ever learning, ever seeking something else, ever seeking wisdom to grow. What we knew is that some of these wide eyes were already used to moving, that is to say that some were used to moving until an opposing force of some kind moved them backwards, or even sideways, or caused them to halt indefinitely. Some of them have never moved before at all, and we begin fresh with a clean slate on their behalf, which is an ideal situation.
The people at Colt Starting are similar in this way; some of us were moving and then we hit a block where we got stuck, and perhaps we even got scared. Some of us are fresh and have never really experienced much moving at all, and maybe that earnest quality will save our hides. Maybe the ignorance of what can go wrong and not knowing what bone-crushing pain is actually keeps us safer than others because we can manage our congruencey more adeptly, and we aren’t focused on the negative possibilities. Either way this is no easy task to learn to gently move the previously unmoved, and for some, the still unwilling to move, but fortunately for our Colt Starting course we have an ace in the hole; her name is Miss Anna Twinney.
Anna’s primary focus is to keep us all safe, horses included. She is not a babysitter and she will not simply do it for us. She is a collaborator, a facilitator, and a developer of souls, techniques, and ideals. Anna will look into us and ask what we are feeling. When we can’t decide on an answer, or if we answer dishonestly, she’ll look us over and purse her lips as she squints a little and then she’ll ask us again. It’s important to know these things, for us, for her, AND for the horse. It’s important because the horse is a reflection of our energy and our emotions at any given time. If we don’t know what we are feeling it makes a muddied water for the horse that makes it more challenging for them to succeed. When we are starting or restarting colts and horses there is no more unsafe and unfair way to proceed.
It’s most important to be in touch with feelings because it’s the difference between a reaction and a response, a cloudy cue and a clear communication, and a partnership vs. a dictatorship. It’s how Anna knows if we are ready to do the hard things: to look at ourselves, to be honest about our capabilities and our intention, and to know if we are ready to ground ourselves and focus on the work at hand. Knowing how we are feeling is the basis of all this work, and most significantly, it’s how Anna helps us help the horses. Therefore, to be confused, in denial, or unwilling to be honest with ourselves or with others, that is the cardinal sin of Natural Horsemanship. It’s a problem because it hinders our awareness and it causes an imbalance the horse can feel. It causes us to become misaligned with the truth of things, and hence the truth of our own reality, of which the horse is an integral part. We can’t very well move a horse who exists in the truth of a present reality when we are in the falsehood of our own illusions or past misconceptions. Some horses are much more forgiving than others, of course, but most of those who are totally forgiving are called “therapy horses.” They are there to help the human begin to understand the truth of their alignment and awareness, or lack thereof. These are not those kinds of horses just yet. These wide eyes are looking to us to be the leaders, the truth tellers, to assure them we have their back and their best interest and safety at heart. These wide eyes need clear, soft eyes who can show them what a kind, congruent leader and human looks like.
The trick in all of this is not just getting the horse to do what we want them to do. The trick is in allowing them to see they have options and choices in their growth process and helping them to feel safe with us. All the while we are showing them we are capable of leading them well. Then, when they want to follow us and they trust us to make good decisions, we can co-create a life of endless adventure with them. A life where we always learn about one another and one in which growth and creativity are cultivated and not smothered like an unwanted flame. This is the foundation work for all future horse-human relationships. If we rush the horse into a panic, we fail. If we allow three experiences in which the horse develops a behavioral issue, we have created one where none previously existed. If we are not present and aware, we could get hurt or killed, or get someone else hurt or killed. This colt starting is serious stuff, but there are benefits that go beyond words in this experience. There are changes to our hearts, minds, and souls that only observers of subtlety can detect and appreciate, and that is where the gold lies.
Early mornings, late nights, and summer heat aside, one by one, day by day, we worked in comfort. The comfort of good company, that is. We worked alongside our partners and buddies, both human and equine. We shared a growth experience with like-minded individuals who were the most willing group of people I have ever met. If something was needed, all we had to do was ask and people jumped left and right to pitch in. We worked together on softening, slowing down the mind, being wholly present and aware during the work, being equally responsive in thanking the horse for their try, learning the silent language, using our body language effectively, understanding what we can tell from the eyes, and discovering how we can similarly use our eyes, weight, and breath to share our requests, our intentions and to offer reward. We shaped the lessons for the horses so as not to overwhelm them, but to help them learn to cope with discomfort and to experience success as they learned to trust us to add pressure to their lives. We helped each other with suggestions, epiphanies, and in great and lengthy periods of varied experimentation. Just as with people, every horse is different and what works with one may not work with another. We were fortunate to find those who were willing to give us ideas, to help us problem solve, and to offer solutions and comfort when we feared we had exhausted our options, our patience, and our efforts. Truly a lasting bond was formed and the camaraderie of colt starting developed and lingered like a silent partner, waiting in the byways and walls of the arena, always there with a smile and a pat on the back, reassuring us we had given it our all and done a good job.
In a very early impression it felt like the success of a week of starting colts would be measured by the number of colts under saddle on the final day. This was such a misconception. That is not to say that we didn’t have amazing numbers as result of all the hard work because each colt was saddled by the end of the week and all but three, I believe, had been ridden. Rather, the measure of a good colt starting course is in the daily experiences; it’s in every obstacle on the obstacle course we can finally cross and in the joy that comes from approaching a wide-eyed one and watching them turn into a soft-eyed one around things that were of tremendous concern at the beginning of the week. The success is found in the round pen, in reaching out, and in creating the contract. It’s in the close connection, the love lessons, and the successful breakaways. It’s in the liberty work, and in the long lines that we might never have thought we could use on a particular horse. It’s in each girth tightened, and each saddle pad that finds its way onto the horse’s back, and in the stirrups that clang and bounce against the horse’s side as he forgets they are there and focuses on the communication and direction of the human instead. It’s in every parachute dragged, every dummy draped and slung, and every noodle and flag wiggled and waved throughout the week. It’s in every head drop, every deep breath and sigh, and every lick and chew. It’s in every eye that was once distant, hard and wide, that now is only soft and presently attentive. It’s in every curious exploration of an obstacle or a pocket, every smile, and definitely in every laugh of this process.
Colt Starting was not about the end result at all – not about the product, not about the final polish. Instead, it was about the safe opportunity for some to start over and to learn to trust again, and for some to just be started gently and effectively so they will never have to be restarted ever again. It was about affording us a space, an environment where learning could take place, and where ideas could be safely shared and exchanged. Colt Starting was truly about the start of the possibilities of each individual there, and to see that there is limitless potential that can be tapped in all of us, despite our somewhat active resistance to that process. It was about opening up to trust-based leadership and compassionate communication, or TLC, as Anna calls it. It was all about the beginning and the journey to the next beginning, which starts now for each and every one of us.
The success of Colt Starting is also in the future of the horses whose lives we may now touch on any level. Sometimes we will only be able to offer a compassionate sigh and knowing glance when we see that they are frustrated or confused. If we are fortunate, we will have our hands on to help gentle them to saddling ourselves, applying all that we learned over the course. It’s in the potential of each observer who might see us doing something differently, with compassion, and think to themselves, “I need to ask them how they do that so gently and with such patience, and how I can learn that too.” It’s in every connection with every horse in our futures, and their people, as we become the ROTH mission at work in our daily lives. It’s alive in each and every instance where the human mind entertains the thought, “maybe there is a better way.” I had that thought and after much exploration, I can assure you, there IS a better way: the ROTH way.
They said colts was the most difficult course that Anna teaches, and I could see why that might be the case. We are taking big steps with horses who may have some negative programming already in place about the process, and who may or may not react, possibly even violently. But after watching pair after pair succeed in achieving their daily goals, I was encouraged that it was not quite as trying as I had perceived it might have been. I was lucky to have my gelding there, who had been ridden before, but after an accident we had backtracked quite a bit. So my experience was much tempered compared to those who were truly starting a horse for the first time. Still, the challenges are only where we perceive them to be, and I perceive that this course was a wild and total success for each and every student and horse who attended.
It is with good reflection upon this recent experience, and in preparation for the long journey to all of the next beginnings, that I note one most important piece of practice that struck me, in particular, and that I need to apply hourly: that is to relax and to smile, because if I am not smiling, I am not breathing. To all the people who helped me smile or laugh along the way, my gratitude to you. Here’s to the limitless beginnings and starts, to a future of moving, to the potential of us all, and to the glorious necessity of breathing.
To a mentor and boss who shows me that only I can limit my true potential, and to her husband who is there for me when I need to share silly things and ask about life’s difficult questions, my deepest gratitude to you both for putting up with my growth spurts. Your eternal patience with me is most appreciated. All my love to you both for the sacrifices you make on a daily basis on behalf of the mission and the animals. There are no two like either of you anywhere in the world. May you always find the energy to shine on, ROTH style.
All my love,
ROTH’s 2017 Colt Starting Crew at Zuma’s Rescue Ranch in Littleton, CO
The exceptional clients from The Animal Communication Dream Retreat share with us their thoughts and reflections after their amazing week at the White Stallion Ranch in November.
Marcia Lorenz: Coming from a scientific background, I am always looking for logic and a validated outcome. I have recently been curious about, and felt the desire to explore animal communication, but never was drawn to the proper teacher. Anna “appeared out of the blue” and I knew that she was the one who could relate to me and become my teacher, mentor, and inspiration. After completing the course, Anna was able to meet all my expectations and infinitely more. Now I feel that my journey has definitely begun. I know that it was the animals who sent me to Anna. Do not miss any opportunity to just be in her presence. She is so incredibly gifted. You will learn and grow and begin to realize your potential. Let your journey begin.
Lynda Marks: I had been looking for answers in connection with Animal Communication and how to move forward. Although there is a lot of information to be found via the web and in books as well as recommendations from others etc. But for me I was looking for someone I felt a connection with and that I could follow as being a mentor. This is exactly what I discovered in Anna and I am so excited that I feel I can now move forward with confidence. A huge thank you is not enough to express how I really feel when trying to convey that through a few lines on paper.
Cheryl Miller: The 7 day Animal Communication Training in Arizona was an extraordinary experience! Anna Twinney is truly a master of her craft as well as a supportive, compassionate, and uplifting teacher. Her training is a comprehensive and skillfully-crafted course that not only opens you up to a new world of possibilities, but supports and builds your confidence as you discover your natural/innate style of communication. Her light-hearted and warm nature, combined with her skills, experience, and wit, make this training an engaging and life-changing experience.
Barbara Claussen: Enlightened and empowered! This work is way exceeding my expectations! This opened up my door wide for wonderful experiences in the future! Loved it! Recommend it highly no matter what level you are at!
Lisa Brown: Working with Anna is an unforgettable experience! I’ve been learning animal communication for a few years, but I knew NOTHING about horses. Anna’s teaching style allowed our group with mixed levels of experience and backgrounds to learn and connect with each other in an environment of mutual support, friend ship, and trust. Anna is both warm and straightforward. The material was refreshing and invaluable. There is something illuminating for everyone to take away, regardless of where you are starting out or what you currently believe.
Pamela Davidson: Anna is a fantastic teacher. I learned so much- in more ways than specific animal communication teachings! Every day brought more gifts- a wonderful week with Anna sharing her depth and breadth of knowledge and experience. Thank you Anna and Vin!!
Thanks to all who contributed thoughts and wanted to share a glimpse of what their experience looked like. It was an amazing and profound week of growth and development for all who joined us in Tucson!
The email I received about Saga was dated “on my birthday”. That was my first clue that Saga should come and live with us. As silly as it may sound (especially at my age) – the first thought that came to mind – after replying “yes” to the email – was, “I’m getting a pony for my birthday”… Wow, how many kids in the world have dreamed of saying that!!! I forwarded the email about Saga to my brother who also lives on my place and has a wonderful relationship with my two horses – that I’ve had for 20 years.
Well, at my age, I figured I can make it happen because I don’t have to ask permission from anyone! It was so much fun to go around the office and tell people “I’m getting a pony for my birthday”!! Then I would tell them about Saga and invite them to come out and visit him. Many of them have already come out to visit my two Paso Finos. I love teaching both children and adults about horses – it’s like “magic fairy dust” – it changes them forever. The response from my friends and family overwhelmingly confirmed I had made a great decision!
My “deep down inspiration” for saying “yes” to Saga, is something that has been brewing for most of my life. It is the story of Black Beauty. Horses work so hard to please their people. They are great companions and provide such wonderful therapy (emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually). They do so much for us – they deserve to have a “retirement plan”. The photo in the flyer about Saga said “I’m unique – wanna be my friend”?
I am lucky enough to have watched my grandpa farm with horses – “Babe and Dolly” were his Belgian team. My grandpa passed his love for horses on to us – allowing us to go in the barn and visit the team while they were on break in the middle of the day – allowing us to reach up and pet those velvet soft noses while grandpa ate the lunch we brought out to the field – and best of all – allowing us to ride alongside him, on the hay rake, as he worked. That’s what started a life-long love for horses. Unfortunately, Babe and Dolly were eventually no longer available for lease and my grandpa reluctantly started using his new tractor that had been sitting in the shed.
My biggest regret was selling my 4-H horse, Coke – a half quarter horse, half draft horse – red roan pinto. She had been my best friend through my Junior High years and won a grand champion ribbon for me in Trail Class. As in the story of Black Beauty – I saw the homes and owners she had and where she ended up… It broke my heart. I thought I was giving someone else a chance to have the same experience with her that I did. But, the new girl didn’t spend time with Coke like I did. Due to a severe cold snap and frozen water pipes, we had to temporarily move during the winter. We “wintered” at the farm next to where Coke was living, so I thought I might walk over and visit her sometime. One day, while washing dishes, I had the feeling that someone was at the door. I hadn’t heard a car drive up but there was something telling me to “go to the door – someone is waiting for you”. I got the “biggest” surprise when I looked out the door and there stood Coke! She had no halter, so I knew she had escaped from the pasture to come and see me – perhaps the familiar laughter of my siblings playing outside had drawn her attention. I looked in her face and I could tell she was saying “where have you been – I’ve been waiting for you”. I wish I would have asked my mom and dad to buy her back immediately…
I’ve sold one Paso Fino colt, outside my family and my brother and I helped sell my sister’s Paso Fino herd. As a family, we helped my sister place her last mare with the last colt, with a lady who had rescued my sister’s grand champion stallion/made gelding by his new owner. The lady had plans to start a Paso Fino herd with that colt – the last colt from that champion sire… I kept in touch via email with the owners of each of the Paso Finos – making sure I knew they were in good homes with good futures. Receiving photos and updates from the new owners was so wonderful.
Saga… “is Babe and Dolly”…
Saga… “is Black Beauty”….
Saga… “is “Coke”….
Saga… “is all those Paso Finos”
Saga… is appropriately named and has captured my heart forever.