In TSB author Linda Tellington-Jones’ new book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, she explains how we have scientific evidence that proves something most of us “knew” already: The heart does more than simply service the human circulatory system as a “blood pump.” In fact, it is in constant communication with the brain in order to direct various other bodily systems so they all work in harmony. As you perceive and react to the world, your brain sends messages to your heart. And, amazingly, the heart talks right back, with its rhythmic activity sending us emotional signals that, in effect, govern our life—and our riding.
In DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, Linda delves into the concept of heart rhythm coherence—understanding how the mental and emotional energy emanated and controlled by your heart can become coherent (logical, orderly, and aesthetically consistent) and can then be a powerful force in your work with horses.
A positive emotional state, both in you and your horse, contributes to this “coherence,” which has been proven to increase effectiveness when addressing tasks (in other words, it improves performance). The presence of love and caring in your life are important factors in the generation of a positive emotional state. Luckily, we as human beings are blessed with the ability to control (to a great degree) the amount of positivity or negativity in our thoughts and intentions.
Being thankful and showing thanks are basic steps in promoting a positive emotional state in you and your horse. According to Linda’s work with riders and horses around the world, light Raccoon TTouches—one of the many Tellington TTouches that, along with innovative Ground Exercises and Ridden Work, make up Linda’s Tellington Method—can soothe and relax your horse, and so are a great way to say, “Thank you,” after you ride.
Want to “thank” your horse this Valentine’s Day? Here’s how to do the Raccoon TTouch:
1 These small, very light TTouches are done with the fingertips, without contact with the fingernails. Curve your fingers so the distal phalange is vertical and your fingers are lightly apart. The heel of your hand and your wrist should be held well off the horse’s body, and the side of the thumb should not be in contact with the rest of the hand.
2 Move your fingertips and the horse’s skin in a circle-and-a-quarter in a very light 1 to 3 pressure.
3 At the end of the circle-and-a-quarter, release the pressure, slide your fingertips to another spot, and repeat. Be sure to move the skin rather than simply sliding across the horse’s hair.