See the Beauty!

This past weekend I took part in a three day clinic with Linda Telllington, founder of the  Tellington TTouch method of working with horses and riders.

See the beauty. Do not go to the place of despair.” Linda said to us on the first day.  So much is happening on our planet; wild fires, hurricanes!  It is easy to go to the place of despair.  But she told us to remember compassion, intuition and creativity. Since then I have reminded myself to “see the beauty”.  And what better place to start than with horses. These beautiful creatures can bring us out of the place of despair.

The three day clinic with Linda Tellington was full of things to be learned about our horses, and ourselves.

OUR BODIES

Linda asked us if anyone had aches and pains. Every hand in the room went up. She suggested we express gratitude to our body. I thought this was such a good idea. I am now starting every day with giving thanks to all the parts of my body. Instead of grumbling that my body is old and not so good anymore I give thanks that my body has recovered from illness and injury and I am still here! My body has done very well.

OUR HORSES

Linda asked us to let our horses know that they are brilliant. Tell them! She suggested that if horses could live with us in our houses they would be much calmer. But that is not possible so we need to help them to be calmer.  The TTouch body work can help with this. I am not going to describe the techniques here but if you are interested take a look at Linda’s book “The Ultimate Horse Behavior and Training Book.”  This book has all the body work and ground work exercises clearly explained and illustrated. I have used this book extensively with my horse Biasini and I know it is remarkably effective.

Linda helps the anxious horse.

One of the first horses we saw taking part in the clinic work in the arena was somewhat anxious. His owner had previously worked with a trainer who uses a well-known method of horse behavior control. But Linda was not happy with how the horse was reacting. She turned to us and said:  “If I was this horse I would be crying.”  She explained that the horse was confused and felt he was doing something wrong. Linda worked with her to use more gentle signals and calm the horse. 

“We do not need to dominate the horse.”  Linda told us. “We need to bring the horse to a place where they don’t have the instinctive response that could harm us. Dominating is about the ego of humans.

Linda working with one of the horses in the clinic.

If you want to change your horse you need to change your mind. This requires a conscious effort to come out of your comfort zone.”

In the afternoon Biasini and I had our first session in the clinic. Biasini was not very cooperative being led by Linda. Linda showed me some techniques to make him easier to lead.

The bitless bridle and the balance rein.

On the second day I rode Biasini. After a short warm up Linda suggested changing him to a bitless bridle. This Lindell bridle is not like a hackamore. It does not exert any leverage on the nose or pole of the horse,  Linda also gave me a “balance rein” around Biasini’s neck. I would just use the ring finger of one hand on the rein. I rode around the arena, walk, trot, and canter. I was amazed at how effective the balance rein was… with no bit in his mouth.

On the third and final day Linda gave me a neck ring; a solid ring that goes round the neck of the horse. Then she took off the bitless bridle!  Linda is very cautious about safety so she attached a simple rope round his neck and nose and walked beside me with the rope loose.  I soon found out that if I pulled on the ring nothing happened. But if I used it in a give/take motion he responded well and would halt easily. If I did the same to the sides of his neck he would turn. We managed the turns in the labyrinth (a set of poles on the ground that requires 180 degree turns several times as you walk through it.) This give and take is exactly what I need to make my habit when riding with a bridle. This was a valuable lesson for me to find it in another way quite different from my normal riding routine.

Biasini and me in the labyrinth with the neck ring and no bridle.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to see this,” Linda said to me with a big smile. To the audience she said:  “This is a happy horse. Can you see him smiling?”

I could not have had a better compliment nor could I have been more proud of my horse. To have Biasini come into the arena with people on chairs at the side of the arena, the labyrinth poles as well as another ‘star’ pattern of poles and we walked, trotted and cantered around all of this. We both had fun. For a previously spooky horse this was a triumph. And much of this success is due to my coach Belinda Trussell having introduced me to the Tellington TTouch methods when I first got Biasini. She had tried them and found they helped him so I followed along.

As Belinda said on the last day of the clinic: “It is a gift that the horses allow us to ride them. They do it out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Linda Tellington is now 82 years old. She has been working with horses and riders since the early 1960s. Her energy is infectious and she is tireless even after three days of leading this clinic. “I’m looking for joy,” she told us. She certainly brought joy to me and Biasini.

24 Comments Add yours

  1. David says:

    My daughters use the “easy as it goes” approach in their riding. When they hack, it’s a simple rope halter and no bit. When they practice and show, it’s a bridle with a multi-joint bit. Two seasons ago, they switched to overhead reins. How tight they make the nose band varies from horse to horse. It is a similar set-up to what Beezie Madden uses with her horses. Also, they do not lunge their horses; their primary instructor Trish finds no value in lunging a horse. When Trish was a World Cup rider, her horse had so much pent up energy before their turn in the show ring she almost lunged their way out of a jump-off (she was a fraction of a second under the time limit). Both Mark and Trish taught the girls how to ride without a whip. At certain shows where they’re required to have a whip as part of their “uniform,” they tuck it between the saddle pad and the cinch.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks for this comment David. Interesting that they are required to have a whip but do not have to carry it in their hand. Linda Tellington often uses something that looks like a whip but she does not use it as a whip. She touches it to the horse’s shoulder and says whoa and the horse will stop. Or he strokes the horse on the back and asks him to walk. Lunging is an interesting topic. When I first got Biasini I would lunge him trot in both directions for about a minute each way and then ask for a canter. If he took off bucking then I would have to do about 5 minutes until he would canter calmly. But if he cantered calmly from the start we would just stop. It allowed him to express any nerves he might have. It never took more than about 8 minutes even if he was spooky. Now I do not need to do that at all. He can still be a hot horse but not a nervous one. The jumpers have a much wider selection of acceptable bits and bit bridle combinations than we do in dressage. We are not permitted to use any over the head reins, side reins, martingales etc. We have our nosebands checked at the end of each test ride by a TD or Steward. Spurs are also checked and bits are felt as well. They wear gloves and go right into the horse’s mouth.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Emma Cownie says:

    I love reading that, thank you, Leueen.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful idea and inspiration on how to lead our lives.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. cagedunn says:

    This is wonderful! I used to get the ‘heavy-hands/legs’ riders to do a session in the lunge ring with a neck-rope, no bridle, no saddle.
    I’d talk the horse through the movements, and the rider had to move with the horse, feel the gait and rhythm without pushing hands or feet to dominate.
    Often, it worked wonders, especially for the horse. they’d learn how to feel the leg the horse was on, how to move the body slightly to change the leg and/or direction or pace. For most riders, it was eye-opening, a moment of joy.
    Unfortunately, there are some riders who will always want to prove their power over the larger beast.

    The FEI insists on specific items but the judges assess how horse and rider work together, not how the tools force the horse into compliance. It’s the difference between using a whip as an aid and using it to punish. The tools do not make the magic, only the partnership of understanding.

    That’s what I think, anyway.

    And yes, Biasini looks very calm and happy to share his space with her.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thay is so interesting that you did this work. And you are right it is not about the equipment but about the connection. I think Biasini had a grand time and I was so proud of him. He has come so far and is now a much more confident horse and he trusts me. I am so lucky to have this horse! Thank you for your detailed and interesting comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so wonderful Anne! I was smiling with you while I read this beautiful post!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Such a wonderful and inspiring post! Biasini and you look so in tune with each other, such beauty in your partnership. Thank you for sharing your clinic, it is very inspiring.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I am so glad you liked it Jane. Thank you for leaving this positive comment. I appreciate it.

      Like

  7. Jeff Rab says:

    Love this, Anne! Even the part about being thankful for our own bodies! And her feeling Biasini smile! Fantastic post, Anne!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Jeff! I am so glad you liked the post and yes we do need to be positive about our bodies and give thanks .

      Liked by 1 person

  8. dprastka says:

    I’m going to purchase her book! I’ve read a lot of snippets of her training methods, and I have Monty Roberts and John Lyons books, I need her’s too!! ♥️😀 Very inspiring!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think it you get the Ultimat Guide one that would be the best to start with. You will have a lot of fun with your horses doing the body work and ground exercises.exercises.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dprastka says:

        Thank you for the recommendation as I was thinking I wonder which one is good to start with? It will be fun to use on my horses! I can’t wait! 😀🐴

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Judy says:

    Awesome. I wish I’d known about this with my horse. Our last couple of years, I moved to a bit-less bridle and discovered he liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Biasini liked the bitless bridle. However I would not be permitted to show him at an FEI level in it. But it makes a nice change. Thanks for commenting

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Judy says:

        Interesting to know about the rule.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          People have tried to get bitless bridles approved but without success. I’m not sure why but I suspect it is because the FEI ,in particular, require the rider to have the skill to ride with a double bridle.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. dprastka says:

    What an amazing woman Linda Tellington-Jones is and to have a clinic with her is an honor, she looks great at her age. I think it’s always great fun to learn new methods of riding as I Love the bitless bridle and the neck ring and I can see her infectious Joy. Love the photos, you can see how relaxed and happy your horse is, you should be proud! I especially like the last one with her and you on Biasini!! ♥️🐴🐎♥️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Diana for this lovely comment. It was an honor and a privilege to be with her and watch and learn. Biasini loved it.🐴💖

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What a beautiful session Anne! We have used Tellington Touch with all our adopted animals and it’s very helpful for them and for us xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      That is wonderful to hear. Thank you for this comment. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

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