Posts Tagged ‘TTouch’


Who didn’t learn it that way? One of the very first lesson we all absorb as tiny horse-crazy tots is to approach and handle the horse from the left side. I once went on a dude ride (no really, it’s true) and the four things that were explained to all the tourists in tennis shoes before they got on were whoa, go, “don’t let him eat on the trail,” and “lead him from the left.”

In her new book TRAINING AND RETRAINING HORSES THE TELLINGTON WAY, legendary horsewoman Linda Tellington-Jones counters this traditional lesson in basic equestrianism, arguing for ambidexterity on the part of both horse and handler.


Why All Left Isn’t Right

Why is it considered “correct” to lead a horse from the left? Anyone who has gone through Pony Club or 4-H knows that leading a horse from the “far” or right side is considered incorrect.

HandleYourHorsefromBothSides-horseandriderbooksHorses are to be handled primarily from the “near” or left side. Unfortunately, this leftover military tradition is not particularly useful for your horse’s overall straightness, flexibility, and balance. Leading horses from the left originated from the righthand dominant military tradition of having the sword scabbard on the left side of the body. Leading and mounting horses from the left side meant that the sword was not in the way.

The result is that many horses are very one-sided and have a difficult time stopping without a left bend, or they might not be able to be led from the right at all. This tendency can be seen in unhandled foals, as they mimic their dam’s posture, and is reinforced as they are primarily handled from the left side. Horses that rush on the lead will generally be turned in a circle as a way to slow them down, which increases imbalance to the left and often results in a tendency to drop the left shoulder and fall toward the handler.

Practicing leading and handling from both sides will go a long way to improve overall balance in posture and mentally accustom your horse to having a person on either side. It is also an excellent non-habitual exercise for handlers who, more often than not, are much less comfortable leading from the right.


World-renowned equine expert Linda Tellington-Jones’ healing equine bodywork and innovative training methods have revolutionized the horse training landscape over the last 50 years. Her unique blend of hands-on TTouch (a collection of circles, lifts, and slides done with the hands over various parts of the horse’s body), combined with humane groundwork and under-saddle exercises, has helped solve training and behavioral problems for horses of every breed, every discipline, every age, and all levels. In TRAINING AND RETRAINING HORSES THE TELLINGTON WAY she presents a thoughtful recipe for starting the young horse without stress, helping to establish the very best beginning, in hand and under saddle. Unfortunately, not all horses have the benefit of the right foundation, which can lead to misunderstanding, mistreatment, and unhappiness for both human and horse. With this in mind, Tellington-Jones also curates her own experience working with older horses ready for a second chance at life, providing the necessary tools for filling in training “holes” and reconfirming lessons that may have been poorly taught or forgotten. The result is book with all the right ingredients and its heart in the right place: Whether starting right or starting over, Tellington-Jones’s field-tested, compassionate answers are an excellent way to find connection while ensuring the horse a lifetime of success in the company of humans.

TRAINING AND RETRAINING HORSES THE TELLINGTON WAY is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and videos, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.


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Photo by Keron Psillas from The Alchemy of Dressage by Dominique Barbier and Dr. Maria Katsamanis

In almost every book we publish, we invite our authors to include a page of acknowledgments; this is their chance to thank those who may have had a hand in their careers or the making of their books. While it isn’t every day that we look back through to see who they’ve thanked over the years, it seems appropriate on this blustery, cold, Vermont afternoon, the day before Thanksgiving 2016. As might be imagined, there is one resounding theme that emerges…have a look at some of the words of gratitude TSB authors have put in print. If your book was about to be published, who would YOU thank?


“They say success has a thousand fathers—I thank from the bottom of my heart all those who have taken an extra minute out of their day to help me down my path.” Jonathan Field in THE ART OF LIBERTY TRAINING FOR HORSES

“Thanks go out to every horse I’ve ever had the pleasure and privilege of riding…they’ve taught me the importance of caring, patience, understanding, selflessness, and hard work.” Daniel Stewart in PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING


TSB author Jonathan Field with his family and "Hal."

TSB author Jonathan Field with his family and “Hal.”


“Most of all my greatest thanks go to Secret, the horse who has taught me so much—she is a horse in a million.” Vanessa Bee in 3-MINUTE HORSEMANSHIP

“We owe the greatest depths of gratitude to the horses.” Phillip Dutton in MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON

“Thank you, Santa, for bringing the pony when I was little.” Jean Abernethy in THE ESSENTIAL FERGUS THE HORSE

“Thank you to my partner and wife Conley, without whose moral support and inspiration I would be sitting on a tailgate by the side of the road holding a cardboard sign that reads, ‘Will work on horses for food.'” Jim Masterson in BEYOND HORSE MASSAGE


TSB author Linda Tellington-Jones.

TSB author Linda Tellington-Jones.


“Thank you to my beloved parents. You were so wonderful to let me chart a path with horses, which you knew nothing about.” Lynn Palm in THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION

“I thank my beloved equine partners—my most important teachers.” Dr. Beth Glosten in THE RIDING DOCTOR

“Thank you to all my wonderful students and friends for always being there.” Jane Savoie in IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE RIBBONS

“I really need to honor the people who have invited me to work with them and the horses that have allowed me to be with, ride, and train them over the decades. I have learned some things from books, but most from the people and horses I train.” Heather Sansom in FIT TO RIDE IN 9 WEEKS!

“I give thanks for all the horses over the years who have taught me so much.” Linda Tellington-Jones in THE ULTIMATE HORSE BEHAVIOR AND TRAINING BOOK

“I am grateful for all my teachers, two-legged, four-legged, and winged, for all they have taught me through their own journeys.” Dr. Allen Schoen in THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN

“Thank you to every horse that came my way over the past 45 years. Each one had lessons to teach me.” Susan Gordon in THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN

“I want to thank my parents who finally gave in to the passionate desire of a small child who wanted a horse.” Heather Smith Thomas in GOOD HORSE, BAD HABITS

“Most of all, thank you to all the horses.” Sharon Wilsie in HORSE SPEAK


TSB author Dr. Allen Schoen.

TSB author Dr. Allen Schoen.


“I am extremely thankful to all of the horses in my life. I would not have accomplished so much without them. The horses have been my greatest teachers!” Anne Kursinski in ANNE KURSINSKI’S RIDING & JUMPING CLINIC

“I need to thank all the horses.” Sgt. Rick Pelicano in BETTER THAN BOMBPROOF

“Thank you to students and riders who share my passion in looking deeper into the horse and into themselves.” Dominique Barbier in THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS

“Thanks go to the many horses that have come into my life. You give me great happiness, humility, and sometimes peace; you always challenge me to become more than I am, and you make my life whole.” Andrea Monsarrat Waldo in BRAIN TRAINING FOR RIDERS


And thank YOU, our readers and fellow horsemen, who are always striving to learn and grow in and out of the saddle, for the good of the horse.

Wishing a very happy and safe Thanksgiving to all!

The Trafalgar Square Books Staff


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

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Linda Tellington-Jones with Dablino at the 2011 Xenophon Symposium.

Linda Tellington-Jones with Dablino at the 2011 Xenophon Symposium.


From DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL by Linda Tellington-Jones with Rebecca M. Didier

Miracles surround us, on a large and small scale. It is on a personal level that we ascertain whether an occurrence qualifies as miraculous. My life has been full of what I consider miracles—from the simple unexpected to the extraordinary. Many of these have had to do with the animals, in yards, pastures, and lakes, on mesas, steppes, and mountaintops, both those in the wild and at home, who have graced my life with their essence.

While the extraordinary is easy to recognize, it is the more commonplace miracles that you must be sure not to take for granted. On many occasions, the most seemingly insignificant of moments can either indicate a tidechange (one small step in a succession of small steps that eventually equal an evolution) or it is, in itself, so integral to progress that your horse learns and performs in an entirely different manner from that moment forward.

Riding a horse is a series of small miracles. It is a miracle that this powerful animal allows you to sit upon his back. It is a miracle he chooses to follow your direction (in most cases), to earn your friendship, your praise, and your loyalty in an intense form of reciprocity seen in few other human-animal relationships. But the miracles don’t end there—each time you ask for the most specific of movements, each time you focus on the most subtle of cues, each time you brush your leg against the horse’s side and receive a gentle, controlled response, you have experienced a small miracle for which you should be thankful. Remembering to give thanks and express your gratitude for these things should be something you work at daily. I remind myself of this each morning when I rise and each night before I journey into the dream world.

Although whether or not miracles are brought about by divine power may be a point of debate, it is not one that concerns me in this book. Instead, I prefer to acknowledge that events do happen in life that are surprising, inspiring, and in every estimation “good,” and in these instances I choose to recognize them as “miraculous.” With this attitude as part of your day-to-day existence, an unparalleled relationship with your horse can be the result.


DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.




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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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At Trafalgar Square Books, we are incredibly excited to announce the release of a unique new work from rider, trainer, and innovator Linda Tellington-Jones. DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL is an out-of-the-box introduction to Linda’s theories and how the Tellington Method—comprised of Ground Exercises, Ridden Work, and her specialized form of bodywork known as TTouch—can become an integral tool to getting the finest performance from your dressage horse while at the same time preserving his physical and mental well-being.

DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL is available now from the TSB online bookstore (CLICK HERE TO ORDER).

We asked Linda to tell us about what inspired to write this book and how she hopes it will change the sport of dressage for the better.

Linda Tellington-Jones working with Klaus Balkenhol and Goldstern.

Linda Tellington-Jones working with Klaus Balkenhol and Goldstern.

TSB: Over your 40-plus-year career, you have covered how the Tellington Method can be applied to a number of species (horses, dogs, cats, humans) as well as in a number of ways (for better behavior, improved learning, better health). Why did you decide to write your newest book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL with the dressage horse and dressage rider in mind?

Linda: Caroline Robbins, my publisher, knows I have worked with many prominent dressage riders and their horses over the years, and she felt it was time I found a way to share the different ways the Tellington Method can benefit the sport horse with this particular group of riders and trainers.

I knew this book could be very different from what is already available to dressage riders. Over the years I have studied and read about both the scientific and spiritual aspects of our lives—the reasons we are who we are and why we do what we do find their roots in both science and spirituality. Dressage is a wonderful example of how science and spirituality come together. In some ways, there are few sports as demanding of precision, practice, and repetition, as dependent on an understanding of horse and human biomechanics, as dressage. And yet without “feel,” without soul, without connection, dressage is just a series of mechanical movements.

It takes both science and spirituality to produce riding art.

This book was an opportunity to write about the philosophies and practical exercises that have been my passion for so long, and the theories and beliefs that are at the core of my work with the Tellington Method all over the world.

TSB: As you say, you have worked with many top dressage riders and trainers and their horses over the years, and you share some of those stories in DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL. Can you tell us a little about one horse in particular who you worked with and how the Tellington Method changed his life and his relationship with his rider?

Linda: I have had the privilege to work with many wonderful Grand Prix horses and their riders, but I believe my most touching  experience (no pun intended!) was my work last year with the 18-year-old Grand Prix horse, Meggle’s Weltall. He was on the German dressage team in the Olympics in Athens, but this big gelding had been explosive in every class he entered for several years. Dieter and Dodo Laugks attribute the Tellington Method—applied daily by Weltall’s groom, Katie Rast, for several months—to the phenomenal change in Weltall. After many years of unsuccessful competition he won 10 Grand Prix classes last fall! He changed from a horse who was defensive and very challenging under saddle and on the ground, to a trusting, cooperative, and very happy horse.

Linda's work with Meggle's Weltall has inspired her to help others use the Tellington Method with dressage horses.

Linda’s work with Meggle’s Weltall has inspired her to help others use the Tellington Method with dressage horses.

TSB: If there is one thing that you hope people will take away from your new book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, what would you like it to be?

Linda: That they ride with an attitude of gratitude, for their horses of course, but also for themselves.

That they practice the art of riding with “HeART” (which I explain in the book), forgiving mistakes, realizing that it’s through our mistakes that we achieve success.

That they discover the power of smiling as they ride and the resulting enhancement of health and well-being, for both themselves and their horses.

TSB: When did you first realize that helping horses and the people who love and work with horses was your mission in life?

Linda: I don’t believe I had an “aha” moment in terms of it being my “mission” to work with horses and people. It was simply woven into my life’s journey.  I began teaching riding as a teenager at Briarcrest Stable, where I rode every day from the time I was 9 until I was 16. Horses were as much a part of my life as breathing. And so it has continued on from there.

TSB: You travel most of the year, giving workshops on the Tellington Method around the world. What is planned for 2013—where will you go and what message do you plan to bring?

Linda: 2013 marks the beginning of a new era. My husband Roland and I were inspired to focus on our new concept of SpiritGo: In this twenty-first century, there is scientific evidence supporting the value of training horses with focus on a trusting horse/human relationship that enhances the health of both horse and rider.

SpiritGo is Tellington Training for the twenty-first century that: 

    – Honors the spirit of the horse. 

    – Builds trust between horse and rider.

    – Develops a willing and cooperative relationship.

    – Results in the Ultimate HorseHuman Connection. 

SpiritGo is for all levels of training and riding and every discipline, from the beginning equestrian to the Olympic star.

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember sitting on a horse.

Linda: The first time I sat on a horse I was six years old. My father took me to a riding school to buy a horse for me because we were moving from the city to my grandfather’s farm, and my school was more than two miles away. There weren’t any school buses in those days, so I had to ride to school.

I was put on a 15-hand chestnut mare named Trixie who walked once around the riding arena and headed straight to the barn. My father bought her and with one exception, the mare took good care of me. I rode every day to school and most days would come home after school and ride some more. I was nine years old before I had my first riding lesson.

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember falling off a horse.

Linda: The first time I remember coming off was rather dramatic. One day I left for school too late and my cousins, who lived up the road from me, left without me. When I got to their farm entrance, Trixie decided she was not going on alone and balked. I gave her a whack on the rump and she promptly dumped me on the road. I was too small to get on bareback alone, so I marched her back to the barn, stomped to the house, got two clothespins, took them back to the barn, and put them on her ears. I thought this would teach her a lesson, but she showed no reaction at all. I don’t know where I got the clothespin idea, but I often joke that it was the forerunner to the Tellington Ear TTouch, which of course we use to calm horses in times of stress and alleviate pain at times of injury, among other things.

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a friend? 

Linda: Gratitude and intelligence.

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a horse?

Linda: Intelligence and trust.

TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback or with a horse that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?  

Linda: Ride in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado in perfect summer weather.

TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse and a book, what breed of horse would it be and which book would you choose?

Linda: An Arabian mare and one of Rumi’s books on life because I love to memorize and it would give me much to think about.

TSB: If your desert island had WiFi and an iPad, which movie would you stream?

Linda: Beauty Shop with Queen Latifah Kevin Bacon.

TSB: What’s in your refrigerator at all times?

Linda: Cranberry water.

TSB: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Linda: The understanding that happiness is a choice.

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?

Linda: Macadamia-crusted Ahi with mashed yams and steamed greens, key lime pie, and St. Pauli Girl nonalcholic beer.

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect vacation?

Linda: Cruising on a sailing ship or steamliner with my husband, my iPad, and friends.

TSB: If you could have a conversation with one famous person, alive or dead, who would it be?

Linda: My mother, Marion, to thank her and let her know what an amazing woman she was and how much I appreciate her teaching me by example about trust, tolerance, gratitude, forgiveness, compassion, and to live by the Golden Rule. I also so appreciated her example of the loving, respectful relationship she had with my father.

TSB: What is your motto?

Linda: Remember your perfection.



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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.


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Linda Tellington-Jones, author of the bestselling THE ULTIMATE HORSE BEHAVIOR AND TRAINING BOOK and the forthcoming DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL has released a fabulous TTouch app that can be viewed on your iPhone or iPad!

“I laughed when I realized that low-tech TTouch [Linda’s world-famous form of bodywork], based on simply using your hands and heart to influence your horse, is going high-tech!” says Linda. “This is such a great opportunity for people to have ‘how-to’ TTouch guidelines right in their phones, especially when faced with a horse emergency. TTouches can be extremely helpful for colic or injury situations while waiting for your veterinarian to arrive.”

The TTouch app contains short video clips of various TTouches, accompanied by Linda’s personal instructions describing how to perform the TTouches and what benefits that particular TTouch, slide, or lift provides. The text included with the app is extensive, explaining how much pressure to use, how to apply the TTouch, lift, or slide, and which TTouch is best suited for particular behavioral, postural, physical, or training issues.

There are TTouches and exercises that help with saddling issues, sore muscles, spookiness, lengthening of stride, increasing confidence, lowering pulse and respiration, overcoming resistance, alleviating pain and shock, releasing tension, reducing stumbling, calming the nervous or frightened horse — the list is extensive. “As they say in the world of technology,” says Linda, “There’s an app for that!”

The TTouch application for your iPhone can be purchased on itunes.

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