TTouch has helped me gain confidence on the ground as well as in the saddle. I feel a stronger connection to my horse ever since I started using TTouch. It has been very useful to me in many ways with lots of different horses.
My TTeam Adventure @ Bitteroot Wyoming
In 2009 I met Robyn Hood and Mandy Pretty, Linda’s sister and her niece. Because we had moved into our unfinished new house the previous day, little from that clinic actually “stuck”. But I was very impressed with how skilfully Robyn was able to keep my injured horse calm so we could treat his leg. She and Mandy were very accessible trainers and the work they taught was kind and gentle, but clear to the horse. They have a passion for listening to what the horse is trying to express.
Last year Mandy encouraged me to attend the “Young Horse Starting Clinic” which is an annual event held at the Bitterroot Dude Ranch in Wyoming, USA. She said it was a lot of fun and as I have two youngsters I thought it would be a great place to start their training. I’m so glad I went!!
It was incredible to see how quickly these barely handled 3 and 4 year olds learned to lead, pick up their feet, be relaxed with people TTouching them all over their bodies, and negotiate “The Playground for Higher Learning”. It was fascinating to watch the horses build their confidence and rapidly expand their abilities to incorporate what they had learned into new and gradually more challenging situations. And most of the time I think we were all enjoying the process enormously.
We also had a 5 year old horse from the previous year’s clinic to help him review his learning from last year and progress in his training to potentially be one of the horses used by the ranch.
The overall respect given to the horses and people as we negotiated our learning paths was wonderful to experience. At no time was anyone made to feel foolish or dumb, for not getting it yet. “Chunk it down” became a favourite expression when anyone was stuck. I kept visualising how I would be able to use this work at home with all my own horses, and how beneficial it would be to incorporate in basic training for the RDA* horses and volunteers that I work with.
The highlights of my trip were the incredible beauty of the snow capped mountain ranges looming all around the ranch, trail riding through the Hollywood movie set alias the Indian Reservation and Public Land adjoining the property (I had been fizzing for weeks like a shaken Coke bottle that I was going for a ride in “cowboy country”) and the incredible people that I met. It was wonderful to be in such a place surrounded by people on such similar paths or wavelengths. Its been a bit difficult fitting back in to who I was before I went, I’ve had to stretch the boundaries of that “hole” a bit :-)
Sue McKibbin (*RDA = Riding Develops Abilities, previously Riding for Disabled Assocn.)
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