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LTJBookClub

World-renowned authority on animal behavior and creator of the Tellington Method Linda Tellington-Jones invites members of the public to join her and her popular Online Book Club for a conversation with Dr. Allen Schoen about compassion’s role when working with animals, and much, much more.

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Schoen for close to 20 years,” says Linda. “He’s been on our veterinary advisory board for Tellington TTouch Training and we co-taught a workshop together in the late 1980s—sharing our modalities with horses and dogs—he with his holistic, integrative veterinary approach and I with Tellington TTouch.

“With his new book he is once again laying a fresh trail. THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN offers new possibilities to the thoughtful horse owner.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 3.47.16 PMOn Wednesday, March 23, 2016, from 6:00-7:00 pm PT (9:00-10:00 pm ET), you can be part of this revolutionary discussion. You do not have to have read THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN to participate and learn from this extraordinary meeting of two of the world’s most exciting advocates for equine welfare. The Book Club meeting is free and open to all.

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/849145520

Or iPhone one-tap: 16465588656,849145520# or 14086380968,849145520#

Or Telephone: Dial: +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) or +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 849 145 520

International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=UwSFoJWg-SZrbkunk0wS385C33H4xNo6

 

“I love this book! I believe the Compassionate Equestrian concept is a perfectly presented foundation to support our aim to attain a new level of relationship with the horse. At Equitana in Germany this year we celebrated my 40 years of teaching the Tellington Method around the world, and I was asked what my goal is for the next 20 years. Well, my goal is to increase acceptance of recognizing each horse’s individuality so that more people learn to ride, compete, and work with the horse, coming from a place of compassion and understanding.

“THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN is a wonderful, wonderful book that helps show just how more of us can join together to spread this message. I love the authors’ 25 Principles as they give us such clear guideposts as we take steps toward a future where science merges with spirituality. I think it is just brilliant!” —Linda Tellington-Jones, Internationally Acclaimed Authority on Animal Behavior, Author, and Founder of The Tellington Method

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Linda Tellington-Jones in 1995 riding Gershwin, at the time one of British Olympian Carl Hester's mounts, bridleless.

Linda Tellington-Jones in 1995 riding Gershwin, at the time one of British Olympian Carl Hester’s mounts, bridleless.

There is a common analogy that compares a horse wearing a tight noseband or girth, or a poorly fitting saddle, to a person wearing a pair of shoes that are too small—perhaps trying to walk all day or dance all night in them.

“But this analogy has been around a long time,” says Linda Tellington-Jones in her thoughtful and provocative book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, “and has inspired little change that I can see.”

(Perhaps because many of us sacrifice comfort for fashion—at least when it comes to footwear!)

So with the particularly prevalent issue of too-tight nosebands and ill-fitting tack of any sort in mind (and this applies to all equestrian disciplines), take a moment to think about your own athletic body and how you ensure its ability to perform as you need it.

How you dress for a training session, riding lesson, or show?

Do you show up to ride your best in the brand new pair of riding boots you just purchased and have worn only once before?

Not likely, as you know the top edge of the stiff new boots might bite into the back of your legs behind your knees when your feet are in the stirrups. This will be annoying and potentially painful after warming up, proving a distraction during your test and maybe causing you to hold your legs tensely in a way that eases your discomfort, sacrificing your position and ability to aid.

Do you wear the breeches from three years ago that perhaps are too tight in the waist, digging into the flesh there, possibly leaving a mark on the skin when you unbutton them?

Again, the discomfort caused would certainly prove problematic, inhibiting your ability to focus and to aid your horse correctly.

Do you wear the too-small sports bra that makes it difficult for you to breathe? Do you wear the helmet that is too tight and causes a headache?

“I feel confident saying that given the above, all of you would choose clothing and equipment for yourself that is the most comfortable and least distracting during your time in the saddle,” says Linda.

 

Linda presenting at the 2011 Xenophon Society Seminar at Klaus Balkenhol's stable in Rosendahl, Germany.

Linda presenting at the 2011 Xenophon Society Seminar at Klaus Balkenhol’s stable in Rosendahl, Germany.

 

In fact, millions of dollars are spent each year by manufacturers to develop such apparel—boots and breeches and undergarments that promise comfort and freedom of movement as you ask your body to perform its athletic best, both in obvious and subtle manners.

It is then most egregious that we expect differently of our horses. We wrap them tightly, constrict their tender flesh, bind their middle…then warm them up and tighten it all some more, sometimes with the help of mechanical cranks.

After all this, we ask them to extend and collect smoothly, bound lightly over the ground, focus on our most subtle of aids, and perform difficult collected movements for extended periods of time.

This is the equivalent of dressing you in stiff new boots, breeches that are too tight, a too-small sports bra, and a helmet that doesn’t fit, and then asking you to sit the trot for 45 minutes (without sacrificing proper position) while reciting the alphabet backward. To add to the stress of the scenario, someone will poke you in the ribs with a piece of metal every time you start to slouch or lose track of which letter you last stated aloud.

Sounds a little like a refined form of torture, doesn’t it?

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

“I have said it many times, in many places before, and I will say it again here,” emphasizes Linda, “The trend that insists that horses must be trained and competed in tight nosebands and saddles ‘clamped’ in place with extremely tightened girths is unnecessary and cruel. [In DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL] I demonstrate that these practices go against the recommendation of veterinary science and your own common sense as an athlete. It is your responsibility as a rider to develop your horse from the ground, and develop your seat through proper training, in order to control your horse from the saddle. When properly done…there is absolutely no need for constrictive devices in an attempt to achieve submission.”

DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL has been called “wonderful” and “a very, very good read” by reviewers. It is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of horse books and DVDs, is a small, privately owned company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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“How the horse responds during training can be influenced not only by its affective state (mood) and arousal (alertness) level, but also by how attached it feels to the trainer,” says the August 2013 article from the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Arousal, Attachment, and Affective State. Is the Horse in a Learning Frame of Mind?

Andrew McLean, PhD, Director of the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre (AEBC), and Professor Paul McGreevy of the University of Sydney, Australia, examined the complex combined impact that mood, alertness, and bond with a human can have on a horse’s training. McLean says that because horses possess the largest amygdala of all domestic animals, “… they have a very significant flight response…they are very fearful animals.”

As many of us have now learned from numerous clinicians and trainers, understanding how to temper the horse’s fear is of primary importance to those who wish to form an attachment or “bond” with their horses.

“One way to modify this fear may be in how we touch the horse,” the article says. “Historically, horse training hasn’t involved much touching of the animal, yet horses find security with one another through touch. Recent studies have shown the positive effects of grooming on lowering heart rate. Dr. McLean proposed that such primary positive reinforcement may be another tool in the training toolbox that can be used to overcome fearful insecurity in the horse. Touch may be an important way to develop attachment between human and horse.”

 

Click image for more information about the Tellington Method for Dressage Horses clinic in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Click image for more information about the Tellington Method for Dressage Horses clinic in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 

Renowned animal behaviorist and horse trainer Linda Tellington-Jones made her name as the founder of the Tellington Method, a three-part training system that centers around her now famous Tellington TTouch. Tellington TTouches are a collection of circles, lifts, and slides done with the rider’s or trainer’s hands and fingertips over various parts of the horse’s body. These TTouches have, over the last 40 years, been proven to enhance trust, release tension, increase flexibility, overcome habitual “holding” patterns that lead to resistance, and aid a horse in recovery from illness or injury. Linda has long maintained what Dr. McLean and Dr. McGreevy have asserted in their recent findings: that how we touch the horse matters in training. And, the right kind of touch can lead to enhanced learning and improved performance.

 

Try this Tellington TTouch:

Llama TTouch: Use the back of your hand, from where the knuckles meet the back of the hand to the fingertips, with the hand softly open (a less threatening way of making contact) to push the horse’s skin in a full circle-and-a-quarter clockwise, or in some cases, to stroke. Apply a very light pressure on the horse’s face, ears, or neck. This TTouch builds confidence in timid horses, soothes, nervous ones, and helps when you are approaching a horse you don’t know for the first time.

 

Linda is the author of numerous books. Her most recent is DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, which provides innovative ways to improve performance and longevity in dressage horses. Linda is giving a Tellington Method for Dressage clinic at Ashwin Stables in Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 17-19, 2014. For information on how to attend or audit, CLICK HERE.

Linda tells you about her upcoming clinic in the short video below:

 

For more information about Linda’s book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, CLICK HERE.

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Linda Tellington-Jones doing Tail TTouches on one of Frederic Pignon's horses.

Linda Tellington-Jones doing Tail TTouches on one of Frederic Pignon’s horses.

TSB author, horse trainer, and animal behaviorist Linda Tellington-Jones sat down with world renowned liberty trainers and performers Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado during the first weekend of Equitana in Essen, Germany. Linda, Frederic, and Magali discuss the ways Tellington TTouch, the specialized bodywork that forms one important piece of the Tellington Method, dramatically reduces stress in the sport or performance horse, as well as increasing the horse’s desire to work with you, in and out of the arena.

“[Tellington TTouch] is a way to ‘think’ about being with horses,” says Frederic, who rose to international fame alongside his wife, a dressage rider, in the hit show Cavalia. “It gives you a way to find what your horse likes, so you need only a light and momentary touch to relax him in a stressful situation.”

In the Equitana presentation, Frederic shares the story of Guizo, a young stallion who appeared in Cavalia when it was touring North America.

“I worked with Frederic and Guizo in Dallas, Texas,” explains Linda. “Guizo was the youngest stallion of the three who worked at liberty in Cavalia. He performed beautifully, but was concerned about the older stallions and had a tendency to bite at them. Frederic had been managing this by keeping Guizo slightly apart on the upper stage and asked me if I had any thoughts of how to give the stallion more confidence to stop this habit. I showed Frederic how Mouth TTouch can effect the emotional behavior of a horse by quietly working the outside of the mouth with the flat hand and then slipping the thumb into the mouth. At the same time it is important to hold the intention of the behavior you want—in this case, to hold the vision of Guizo keeping his mouth quiet, breathing normally, and relaxing around the other stallions (I discuss the idea of training and riding with ‘intention’ in depth in my new book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL).

“Working the lips and nostrils affects the limbic system—the part of the brain that controls emotions as well as affecting the ability to learn. It sounds so simplistic, but it worked! Frederic told me that the first evening he took maybe 30 seconds when Guizo entered the arena and spoke quietly to him, lowered his head a little, and slipped his thumb into the mouth. Guizo was able to work quietly together with the other stallions for the first time!”

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“TTouch is good for the mind of the horse, and also the body,” adds Magali. “I warm my horses up well before a performance, but then they must stand backstage and may get a little cold, a little stiff. I do two minutes of work with the horse’s shoulders and tail [Shoulder Release and Tail TTouches] backstage, and just before riding I can promise you my horse is very relaxed, his back very fluid, able to do all the movements easily.”

Linda talks about the work she has done with Frederic and Magali, as well as over 20 other top dressage riders, trainers, and horses, in her new book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, which is available now from the TSB online bookstore.

GALLOP TO FREEDOM, the first book about training philosophy by Frederic and Magali, is also available (CLICK HERE TO ORDER).

Check out this video of the session with Linda, Frederic, and Magali at Equitana! (Note: They speak in English and German throughout the video–there is great stuff here in both languages, so be sure to watch through!)

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Frederic Pignon and Linda Tellington-Jones apply TTouches to one of Frederic's horses.

Frederic Pignon and Linda Tellington-Jones apply TTouches to one of Frederic’s horses.

Liberty trainer Frederic Pignon and his wife, dressage rider Magali Delgado, authors of the bestselling book GALLOP TO FREEDOM, are sparkling examples of how, as human beings, we can still come to know and understand our horses in a way that allows us to “dance” together without one dance partner becoming diminished in any way. Frederic and Magali are naturally gifted horsemen who have honed their abilities to keenly read their horses and so train them to accomplish great things and perform wondrous acts—all through the act of “play” rather than through the use of pressure.

One technique that Frederic and Magali have come to use in all their dressage and liberty work is the Tellington TTouch—the form of bodywork developed by word-renowned animal behaviorist and horse trainer Linda Tellington-Jones.

“Linda is one of the finest horsewomen we’ve ever met,” say Frederic and Magali. “It’s not often you meet someone like her. A lot of people want to help horses, but Linda has an ability to instinctively read horses, understand them, and determine what they want and need, and teach others to do what she does. Using her TTouches for a few minutes before you begin work with your horse establishes a fundamental connection at the start of your training session. It’s not only spending time, it’s spending good time.

“Most everything we do with our dressage and liberty horses now includes TTouch. We use it every time we have a little problem, if our horses are tense or seem tired. And even when there isn’t a problem, it helps us establish a deep connection with our horses. It is a part of all our work.”

Magali Delgado and Linda perform TTouches on one of Magali's horses.

Magali Delgado and Linda perform TTouches on one of Magali’s horses.

Frederic and Magali are featured in Linda’s new book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL—due out February 1, 2013. Alongside Linda they explore how the idea of “play” can be used in formal dressage training and be an integral part of the development of top performance horses who are sound of mind, healthy in body, and enjoying the sport you pursue together, every step of the way.

Dressage w MBSYou can preorder DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL at the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO PREORDER NOW

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