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About Us > Our Teachers > Meet Linda > Accolades

Linda Inducted into 2007 Massage Therapy Hall of Fame

Linda Inducted into 2007 Massage Therapy Hall of Fame

The Massage Therapy Hall of Fame recognizes Linda's contribution to the art and science of Massage Therapy.

Linda Tellington-Jones' work has its roots in a philosophy that sees all beings - humans and animals alike - as reflections of a Divine Whole. The Tellington Method was first created four decades ago as a system of animal training, healing and communication that allows people to relate to animals in a deeper, more compassionate way - a way that furthers inter-species connection and honors the body, mind and spirit of both animals and their people. The Tellington Method utilizes a variety of techniques of touch, movement and body language to affect behavior, performance, and health, and to increase an animal's willingness and ability to learn in a painless and anxiety-free environment.

Linda's highly effective and revolutionary approach to working with animals brought her world wide recognition, and it was out of this success that Tellington TTouch for humans has arisen, emerging as an important addition to the increasingly respected world of alternative healing practices.
Linda Receives Honorary Doctorate Degree

Linda Receives Honorary Doctorate Degree

On June 21, 2008 Linda Tellington-Jones received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the Wisdom University and was granted the position of Director of the Institute for Interspecies Connection.

This unique university, licensed by the State of California, is accredited by the World Association of Universities and Colleges and the Accreditation Commission International (ACI). The university, a global learning community, is committed to the pursuit of wisdom as a way of life.

Linda Tellington-Jones, the founder of Tellington TTouch Training, has influenced hundreds of thousands of people and animals around the world with her extraordinary teachings. TTouch is a gentle hands-on technique that accelerates learning and enhances behavior, performance, and the well-being of all species, as well as deepening the bond between humans and animals. The work honors the body, mind and spirit of animals and their people.

Jim Garrison, the university's president and chairman, says of this honor bestowed upon Linda: "Wisdom University is giving Linda an honorary PhD for her decades of work with the Tellington TTouch, which has contributed enormously to what we know about both animal and human healing and behavior, and for the work she has done to expand the boundaries of inter-species communication. She is joining the university as Chair of Interspecies Connection and the Director of the Institute for Interspecies Connection."

Dr. Garrison is also founder and president of the Gorbachev Foundation/USA, which set the stage for the establishment in 1995 of the State of the World Forum, a San Francisco based non-profit institution created to establish a global network of leaders dedicated to creating a more sustainable global civilization.

Linda says of her affiliation with Dr. Garrison, "I worked closely with Jim Garrison when he was director for the Esalen Institute's Soviet American Exchange program. In the 1980s and 1990s I went to Russia as a citizen ambassador 10 times, and taught TTouch to the Russian Olympic dressage and jumping teams. I also taught a 10-day course for Russian veterinarians at the Bitsa Olympic Center, as well as working with the Moscow Zoo and the Russian Academy of Science."

When asked if this doctorate degree and director position would change anything for her, Linda smiled and said, "This has given me an umbrella under which to gather and acknowledge the gifts we receive from animals and other forms of Nature. We are now able to prove scientifically why TTouch works on so many levels what we have known intuitively for years. As director for the Institute for Interspecies Connection, it is my intention to support scientific studies and to raise awareness of the many forms of interspecies connection around the world."

Linda Tellington-Jones has been honored with numerous awards throughout the years, including the Western States Hall of Fame, American Riding Instructors Association Lifetime Achievement Award, Horsewoman of the Year Award, the American Riding Instructors Association Master Instructor Award, the Ronald Reagan Good Citizen Award and most recently, the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame. She is also a graduate of the Feldenkrais Professional Training at the Humanistic Psychology Institute, California.

Her latest book is in the field of human health: TTouch for Healthcare. In addition to writing 22 books about her work published in 15 languages, she has developed TTouch curriculum for the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing. Linda has spent decades teaching people how to be effective with TTouch; today there are more than 1,600 certified practitioners teaching TTouch in 36 countries.

About Us > Our Teachers > Meet Our Instructors

Lindy Dekker

Lindy Dekker

Lindy started riding at age 10 in Stellenbosch near Cape Town, South Africa. The majority of the horses were rescued racehorses with problems. She was always surrounded by animals and her parental home was never without at least two dogs and two cats. She was given a rescued donkey in 1967 and had him for four years.

After studying Biochemistry, Microbiology and Genetics at university, Lindy moved with her husband Rick to Johannesburg in 1979. There she changed careers to become a computer programmer, and she is still involved in doing support for a consulting company.

In 1987 Lindy reached her dream and acquired her first horse 'Babyshoes' (ex-racehorse TB gelding) who stayed with her for nearly 21 years. Lindy has competed in dressage to Elementary level. In March, 1999 she attended a Natural Healing course for animals that included Reiki and Aromatherapy as well as an introduction to the Tellington TTouch Method. She started her own therapy business in 2000. In January, 2001 she attended her first five-day TTouch workshop for horses and hasn't looked back. She has been organizing the Tellington TTouch practitioner training clinics in Johannesburg since 2002.

Now Lindy is a Tellington TTouch Instructor for Companion Animals and for Horses. Besides organizing the practitioner training clinics for the Tellington TTouch Method for horses, she gives clinics as well as private consultations for both horses and companion animals while traveling to all sorts of interesting places!

To learn more about Lindy, visit her website, www.lindydekker.com.

Debby Potts

Debby Potts

For as long as she can remember, Debby knew she would spend her life working with animals. She began to live the TTouch philosophy of creative problem solving even before she had any idea this would be her life’s work; she was extremely allergic to anything covered with hair or fur!

Of course she dreamed of having a dog. Her turtle named Herman and her canary, Tangie, were wonderful but it wasn’t the same as thoughts of walks around the block with her very own dog. One day her parents learned that poodles didn’t shed. Shoni, a silver miniature poodle, soon became her best friend.

Debby’s interest in health and well-being was sparked by her childhood companion animals, and continued with her becoming one of Oregon's first board certified veterinary technicians. She grew up breeding and showing horses, which gave her an extensive background into working with many different breeds and disciplines of horses. A horse born with severe neurological damage initially brought Debby to Tellington TTouch Training in 1984 after the veterinarians had done all they could to help the filly. The amazing progress Spirit made inspired Debby to use the Tellington techniques to improve the lives of animals and their people on a physical, mental and emotional level.

Debby’s passion for helping people and animals in a fun, positive and creative way is evident in the many workshops and trainings she teaches every year. She has been a popular speaker at various international conferences including the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the International Symposium on Rescue Dogs. She established TTouch in Japan and oversees the Tellington TTouch Companion Animal Practitioner Training there.

From the beginning, Debby has used the Tellington Method to help humans as well as animals. Today Debby frequently works with people to help them reduce pain, recover from illness or injury and to improve mobility and function. She finds the Tellington work and philosophy to be an important part of helping people to find balance and well being in their lives. She often says, “TTouch isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am.” TTouch philosophy has strongly influenced her life and that of her family. Her two wonderful sons were raised with these concepts and often asked their mom for TTouch when they had bumps and bruises.

Debby travels much of the year teaching trainings and working privately with individuals in North America, Europe, South Africa and various parts of Asia. She lives near Portland, Oregon with her human and animal family. For more information about Debby visit her website www.IntegratedAnimal.com.

Marty McGee Bennett

Marty McGee Bennett

Marty’s first llama jumped off the back of a pickup truck and into her heart in 1981. Since then Marty has devoted her professional life to the well being of llamas and alpacas and the education of camelid enthusiasts. After attending her first TTouch demonstration in 1985 Marty attached herself to Linda for the next ten years learning the work with horses and adapting it for camelids.

In addition to her studies with Linda, Marty brings a variety of experience and qualifications to her work with camelids, including a B.S. degree in Animal Behavior and a professional background with fiber. This combination makes "Camelidynamics" the world’s most popular, and enduring training/handling system for camelids. Marty has taught the principles of camelid handling and the TTouch to veterinarians and veterinary students at veterinary schools around the county and was the only non-DVM invited to contribute to the Veterinary Clinics of North America series on Camelids.

Her books (including one co-authored with Linda), videos and training clinics have helped thousands of llama and alpaca owners more fully understand, appreciate and enjoy this magical animal. Marty’s most recent book "The Camelid Companion" published in 2001 has received rave reviews in publications worldwide.

Conducting hundreds of clinics in North America and around the world including numerous trips to Australia, New Zealand and Europe have kept Marty on the road for much of the past 30 years. Marty her husband Brad live in New Smyrna Beach Florida and Marty still travels the world sharing her expertise on handling llamas and alpacas without fear or force. For more information about Marty, clinics, and products for camelids including a halter that is safe comfortable and effective for refined leading, log-in to Marty's websie

About Us > Research & Studies

Horse 2001 Trailer Loading Study

Loading stress in the horse:
Behavioural and physiological measurement of the effectiveness of non-aversive training (TTEAM) for horses with trailer loading resistance.


This study was conducted by Stephanie Shanahan when she was a student at the University of Ontario Veterinary School at Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The research was funded by a grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation for Research targeting the Improvement of Animal Welfare. Stephanie won the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's 'Award for Student Excellence in Applied Animal Behavior Research'. Permission to post from Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.

Abstract

Resistance to trailer loading in the horse is a common source of stress and injury to horses and their handlers. The objective of this study was to determine whether non-aversive training based on Tellington-TTouch Equine Awareness Method (TTEAM) would decrease loading time and reduce stress during loading for horses with a history of reluctance to load.

Ten horses described by their owners as "problem loaders" were subjected to pre-training and post-training assessments of loading. Each assessment involved two seven-minute loading sessions during which heart rate and saliva cortisol were measured. The training consisted of six 30-minute sessions over a two-week period during which the horse and owner participated in basic leading exercises with obstacles simulating aspects of trailering. Heart rate and saliva cortisol were shown to increase significantly during loading as compared to baseline (P<0.001 and P<0.05, respectively). Reassessment after training showed a decrease in loading time (P=0.01) and reduced heart rate during loading (P=0.001). Seven good loaders were also subject to loading assessment for physiological comparison. Increases in heart rate during loading were significantly higher in the good loaders (P<0.001). Non-aversive training simulating aspects of loading may effectively reduce loading time and stress during loading for horses with a history of resistance to loading.

As most of you know, in the summer of 1999, I conducted research retraining horses with trailer loading problems using TTEAM. So I'd like to give a general outline of what I did and what I was trying to do. In a later issue, I will present some of the interesting case studies that came out of the research.

Horses who are reluctant to load into a trailer are not difficult to find. In fact, it is one of the most common behaviour problems horse people are familiar with regardless of the breed of horse or discipline they are involved in. Unfortunately, trailer-loading accidents are also a common cause of injury to horses and their handlers.

My intention in this project was to scientifically ascertain the effectiveness of a TTEAM training program at improving willingness to load. I also wanted to know if the stress of loading would be measurable physiologically and furthermore, if TTEAM training could measurably decrease loading stress.

We started with 12 horses who, according to their owners, were difficult to load. The horses included a Shire/Thoroughbred yearling, two and four year old Quarter Horses, Arabian crosses, Canadian broodmares and a few thoroughbreds. The oldest horse in the study was 20 years old.

In the initial assessment, the horse had two seven-minute opportunities to load, one with the owner and one with an independent handler who did not know the horse or the purpose of the study. We measured heart rate and took saliva samples to measure cortisol before, during and after the loading. We performed this assessment with all the problem horses as well as with 8 horses who were considered to be good loaders.

In almost every case loading time was not significantly different when the owner or the person unfamiliar with the horse was loading.

One of the "problem loaders" loaded readily and one of the good loaders did not load so we didn't use them in the study but we did work with both of them anyway.

After the assessment some horses started the training while others waited and had a second assessment before the training. This was done in order to keep the independent handler blind to the training status of the horse.

The training program was based on a wonderful article by Marion Shearer, "Prepare your horse to load", which was recently reprinted in the May-June 2000 TTEAM Connections. The sessions were every other day for two weeks. It is definitely beneficial for horses (and people) to have a break between sessions in order for the brain to integrate the new information. Every other day is better than every day. Some horses may benefit from more than two weeks of training while others might only need to be asked differently at the time of loading.

Here are some of the most important components of the program we used (for more information, I strongly recommend reading Marion's article):

Lower the Horse's Head

Many of the problem loaders had naturally high head carriage. When they were concerned their head would go even higher making it difficult to negotiate getting into a trailer. This is a normal reaction for horses, a part of the flight response. They are raising their head to shift their weight back which lightens their front end so they can turn around quickly and get away from what is scaring them. The problem arises when the handler has no way of asking the horse to lower its head. It appears that lowering the head actually changes the horse's reaction to a situation. When the head is lowered, a horse is able to move forward to approach and investigate what it is concerned about. This gives the horse the opportunity to realize that the situation is okay. With his nose in the air, a horse is neither going forward nor giving the situation a chance, he is asking to leave.

As part of our training we used as many different ways as we could think of to teach the horses to lower their head when asked. Some of the ways are listed here:

Leading position:

  • Putting the chain up the side of the halter

While standing:

  • A gentle signal and release downward on the chain, or "milking" of the chain
  • Stroking of the horse's chest and forearms with the wand

While walking:

  • Allowing the horse to walk into the wand which is held in front of the horse midway between the knee and shoulder

Body work:

  • Raising the back with the tips of the fingers pressing on the midline of the abdomen
  • Tail work
  • Mouth work and ear work

These may not lower the head directly but can be very useful to get the horse to pay attention and think about what you are asking when you are stuck

Since we only had a short period of time to work with and the owners were not familiar with TTEAM, we did not teach ALL the possible tools that COULD be useful when working with horses to improve their willingness to load. We focused on a few basic principles and were very happy with the results we got.

The training sessions involved the introduction of these TTEAM techniques at the pace that seemed appropriate for that particular horse and owner:

Leading positions

Cheetah: This was used as the BASIC leading position. The important principles were to habituate the owner to being further away and further ahead of their horse while leading. We emphasized that the horse would better be able to listen if they could see the person leading them. It was also an opportunity for the handler to learn to use the wand to more clearly communicate what they wanted the horse to do.

Dingo: This is considered a very important part of trailer loading problem solving. The horse must learn to go forward from a signal. It seems that horses understand the signal on the croup combined with the signal on the chain very well, but it is important for the handler to learn to coordinate this movement in a consistent manner.

Dance: It is believed that many horses are more concerned about backing OUT of the trailer than getting into the trailer. Imagine backing out of something and not being able to see or feel the ground behind you! Teaching a horse to back one step at a time and to negotiate backing over obstacles, inclines and off bridges makes the horse more willing to load onto the trailer as well as backing out more calmly and safely.

The obstacles we used were whatever combination of poles, planks, tarps and barrels was available. We tried to simulate the different aspects of what CAN be difficult for a horse when trailer loading:

1. Stepping over or onto something i.e. poles raised or piled, bridge, cavalettis

2. Stepping onto an unfamiliar surface that makes noise i.e. plastic tarp, plywood sheet, bridge

3. Walking into a narrow space i.e. poles raised on barrels, tarps hanging over the poles, plywood

4. Walking under a low roof i.e. an arch of wands, a Styrofoam pole, a rolled tarp

The horse would walk up to the obstacle and be asked to halt. If the horse's neck was above the horizontal, the handler would ask the horse to lower its head and then proceed with the obstacle. It is not necessary to stop EVERY time before negotiating an obstacle. It is useful, however, in order to make every step clear and intentional to practice stopping and moving forward in a controlled manner with the head lowered.

Some of the horses appeared not to know that their limbs were connected to their body. So we used the body wrap to help them get a sense of how they might coordinate legs and body as a unit. For the horses who could not step over a pole without tripping, the body wrap seemed to make a world of difference!

Body work

We also included one session of bodywork for each horse. We were focusing on touches that would help ground, calm and connect the horse. We started with an exploration of the horse's body, which the owners found FASCINATING. The reactions of the horse fit with the pattern of difficulties that they had with them on the ground and under saddle. All of a sudden they seemed to understand that the horse was not stubborn or difficult but tight or sore or habituated to a particular way of carrying itself.

The touches we used:

Grounding:

  • Python lifts
  • Leg exercises

Calming:

  • Ear work
  • Mouth work

Connecting:

  • Raising the back
  • Tail work
  • Lick of the cow's tongue
  • Noah's march
  • Zigzags

Results

Seven of the ten horses who completed the study loaded in the allotted seven minutes on the final assessment, a very significant improvement from the initial assessment. Three of these seven loaded instantly, in less than 30 seconds, and did so repeatedly during the 14-minute loading assessment.

Of the three horses who did not load:

  • one had fallen when the lead shank broke during the initial assessment
  • another owner had chosen not to participate in the training sessions
  • the third owner had been absent for the initial loading assessment and was so nervous at the final assessment that she was crying.

By analyzing the data we had collected, we were able to show that the heart rate and saliva cortisol increased significantly when a horse was asked to load. While after TTEAM training the willingness to load was significantly improved AND heart rate was significantly lower when they were asked to load. The saliva cortisol measurement was not sensitive enough with the small number of horses we had to show a difference after training.

Good loaders

One of the most interesting things we found was that the good loaders had a higher increase in heart rate when they were loaded onto a trailer than the problem loaders. We don't have a specific explanation for this. My guess is that even though these horses are obedient enough to load when asked, loading onto a trailer is still stressful, definitely more stressful than standing in the crossties! Conversely, the horse might associate the trailer with going somewhere exciting, like a competition or trail ride, and their excitement is reflected by the increase in heart rate.

We also noticed that the horses who moved around and whinnied the most while they were in the trailer had LOWER heart rates than the horses who just walked on and stood there. That was a real eye opener! How often we forget that freezing is a panic response!

  • "He was just standing there, quiet as could be, and all of a sudden, he just exploded!".
  • "He's not scared, he's just stubborn. He just stands there and doesn't move."

Just because an animal isn't showing overt signs of being stressed, it doesn't mean he is relaxed.

Discussion and further questions

When I told my childhood coach about my research project, her response was: "I think you should measure the stress of the handler instead of the horse". And I think there's some truth to that. I think a key component of the training program was the owner involvement. Learning to communicate more clearly what we want from our horses allows them to feel safer doing things that seem inherently unsafe, like getting into a trailer.

Will horses who have had a bad experience with a trailer benefit from this training?

In this training, we did not use a trailer at any time other than the assessments. There were specific orders that the horses should not spend any time near a trailer during the study. We did this in order to show that the fear of the trailer itself is often not the problem. When a horse is more confident about its coordination and balance and receiving clear communication from its handler, the trailer is suddenly no longer a problem. In some cases however, being in the trailer is much worse for the horse than loading onto the trailer. Some horses will load readily and as soon as they are in the trailer, their heart rate triples and they are sweating profusely. The response to specific exercises will vary from horse to horse because in each case, we don't know EXACTLY what the horse is concerned about. And there will be some situations in which this training will not be the answer.

What would happen if the good loaders went through the training program, would their heart rates be reduced?

Well, we don't know. It's possible. It is possible that doing TTEAM groundwork with these horses because of its many benefits unrelated to trailering may improve the horse's comfort with trailer loading by improving its balance and coordination.

What about using the Clicker? Why didn't you use a Clicker?

I didn't use a Clicker in this project because I wasn't very familiar with them at the time. Also, the more variables you introduce in research, the less meaningful it becomes. I have since spoken with MANY people (behaviourists, trainers, TTEAM Instructors) who would include Clicker and Target Training in a trailer loading program. I think it's a great idea. Definitely horses learn very quickly and enjoy learning with positive reinforcement!

Why didn't the saliva cortisol show a decrease after training?

We're still just in the beginning stages of applying the use of saliva cortisol to measure stress in horses. The number of horses and the interval of testing we used was not sensitive enough to be able to say whether or not there was a decrease. Though the increase during loading was significant, a lesser increase after training could not be demonstrated.

How significant was the bodywork in the training program?

Well there's no way of knowing this either since we did not have a group who received ground work without bodywork. But the owners definitely seemed to find it very important. If nothing else, it allowed them to look at their horse in a different way which is an essential part of learning to work with them differently.

Happy trailering, Steph Shanahan

NOTE: TTEAM is an acronym of "Tellington TTouch Equine Awareness Method." Since this article was written, the brand name for all the facets of the TTouch organization is Tellington TTouch®.

Our Method for > Dogs > Success Stories

Dog Show

Face, a Reluctant Show Dog
by Practitioner Kathi Lehman.

Face, a longhair standard Dachshund, came to TTouch as a Champion show dog. Vicki and Bruce Walsh were Face's owners and breeders. The Walshes have bred and shown dogs for thirty years. They had tried all the normal show dog training and socialization with Face, but while he was champion, he had developed bad behavior patterns.

Face had managed to finish his championship, but he was afraid of everything. He is an exquisite dog, but he is very nervous. At times, Face would totally loose it in the ring, and it would be everything Bruce could do just to hang on to him. He was very afraid of loud noises and would go into freeze at times. Face did not ever eat very well and was a very poor traveler. If Face had a "good" day and managed to win, he would totally refuse to walk on to the winners' platform to receive his award or have his photo taken.

Bruce brought Face to me ready to give up on Face as a show dog. My assessment was that Face was very tight in his stomach area and generally not very present. Face was very sweet but did not make any kind of contact really with anyone.

I used a body wrap and a Halti on him. When Face had his TTouch "clothes" on we just walked around for about three minutes. Many performance dogs have been over stimulated by their dog jobs and sometimes very short easy sessions are the way to begin a breakthrough with them. I also did a short basic session of Clouded Leopard TTouches and mouth work. I used a pressure of about a three with the TTouches. His tail was limp, so I did some gentle tail-work as well. Then we took a break of about an hour.

We let Face wander around mv place, visit with other dogs and wear his body wrap in this very relaxed situation. He wore his body wrap for about 15 minutes. He then had about an hour to relax and process his first session.

I then put the Halti back on and the body wrap back on and gave Face some food treats. We very slowly did the labyrinth. At first, Face was very nervous, and I used a wand to coax him along with me. We then put him into the Homing Pigeon and lie was a bit more confident with Bruce as the leader. When we added the platform, Bruce commented that Face would never go up on that. Using the Homing Pigeon, wands and bits of food treats, we managed to get Face to climb up on the platform. I then did another ten-minute session of bodywork and Face went home.

Bruce brought Face back the next weekend and we began with the same light bodywork. Face was still very tense in his body with his gut area really feeling like a knot. Face had a much easier time with the confidence course this time. We added his stepping over a couple of low poles. These low poles are made by cutting swimming pool noodles in half. At first, stepping over something was very hard for Face, but he managed. My hope was that by asking him to pick up his feet tjat he would become more aware of his feet and his body.

Face went to a dog show the next weekend. He did better. Bruce felt he was calmer and more responsive. He won and he was willing to walk up the little ramp and take his ribbons. Bruce was also able to get a photo of Face standing on the little platform and that was another first.

The Walshes live two hours from me. They wanted Face to have more TTouch sessions, but the drive was a bit much. I offered to take Face for a week of TTouch camp. I repeated the sessions as described above. I added an evening session of slow gentle bodywork including Raccoon TTouch and lots of TTouch mouth-work. It took four sessions before Face seemed to have a real relaxation response. I did not really think any true progress had been made, but he was a nice dog and I had enjoyed working with him.

Face went home. The first call I got was asking me what I had done to make him eat. The Walshes had not mentioned the issue with Face eating, so not only had I not done anything, but also, I didn't even know it was an issue! I had just fed him, but I had done a bit of TTouch on him prior to each meal because I was trying to maximize our week.

The next week, Face went to the dog show. He did very well. He was more relaxed than ever. He even ate little treats called bait in the ring.

The Walshes asked me to work on Face at a dog show. I did a couple of sessions on Face at nearby dog shows. These sessions included some bodywork prior to his being groomed for the ring. I did note that his tail did not feel as disconnected anymore. Hoever, his stomach area was still tense so I did Abalone TTouches on that area with a very slow lift at the end.

I went to ringside and used the lines on the floor to make a little labyrinth. Prior to asking Face to walk forward in our invisible labyrinth, I did a few circles on his rump above his tail. Then as we started out, I did a little flicking TTouch like the horse-leading position and Dingo to encourage him move out and use his rear legs. This warm-up seemed to work quite well. In the ring, Bruce would do light mouth-work on the outside of Face's lips prior to the judge examining Face.

Face has gone on to learn to enjoy his job as a show dog. He now lives with a very nice handler, Loreen Hogan. Loren keeps Face as a house dog when he is not at the shows and they have bonded very well. I taught Loreen some TTouches and she has continued his sessions. Face became the number one ranked Longhair Standard Dachshund for 1999.

Our Method for > Horses > Success Stories

Professional trainer impressed!

"This TTouch Training showed me:

effectiveness in changes

new realizations

confidence

philosophy

strength to be “weird”

appreciation and honor to all animals - we are all the same at cell level.

"At the end of this week-long training (my 6th or 7th, I think), I am once again struck by how powerful the TTouch method is. The combination of the TTouch body work, the ground work and leading, and the overall philosophy creates overall changes in the horses and in the people working with them. I have never seen this in any other system in my 25 years of working with animals.

"These competitive event horses began with very obvious problems: stiffness, short-strided, uneven gait, high headedness, dragging the rider to the jumps, kicking, biting, unwillingness, lack of attention. In every case there was dramatic improvement.

"We were fortunate to have top level riders who showed us their horse being led and being ridden nearly every day. This allowed us to see the changes in the horses after being worked each day by the clinic participants. It also allowed us to see the riders soften and ride more correctly after using the specialized TTouch equipment in their riding sessions. It was a joy to observe the riders' pleasant surprise as the horses became easier and more enjoyable to ride.

"After working as an animal professional for almost 20 years, I was so impressed by Tellington TTouch effectiveness. In the years since then, I’ve used it more and more in my work. I continue to learn better ways to work with animals through TTouch trainings and to be constantly amazed by the changes the TTouch method for horses brings about.  

      - Penny Stone

Workshop attendees comment!

"This line of work has opened up a new world of alternative  training which is sympathetic and supportive to the horse. The results were outstanding and immediate."
   – John

"TTOUCH has awakened me to a whole new (wonderful) world. I feel things and look at things (animals, people, etc.) in a renewed and understanding way. I myself feel different too. When in a situation I handle it much differently than before. I have stopped blaming the animal/person and begun to search for the real cause of the problem."  
   – Sharon Crement

"A novice can do the Tellington TTouch Method It's easy to make changes very quickly even for a novice person that doesn’t do the work as effectively as an experienced person. It’s not necessary to know the work perfectly.

"It's truly amazing to be able to make changes in an animal’s behavior, physical being or mental state, and have a reciprocation take place. For every animal I see being helped by TTouch, I always feel I have learned and changed in the process as well."   
   - Amanda L.

"The Tellington Method teaches me to be a partner with my horse so I can learn to be a team. It gives me the tools to LISTEN, OBSERVE, COMMUNICATE and then give back information to our animal friends so that they can teach me to become more effective. TTouch brings joy to my horse and me."
   – Amy Kendis

"This workshop has totally changed the way I view myself as a partner to my horse, our relationship and the relationship of the people and horses around me." 
   – Whitney Knauer

"The evening the clinic ended, my daughter was riding her Appaloosa mare (not at the clinic) in a drill team practice. The horse was a bit antsy and would not stand quietly. Rather than disciplining her as I have in the past, I spent a few minutes doing mouth work and some touches along her neck. She settled down immediately and stood quietly."
   – Denise Schoenladler

"Thank you for the marvelous lessons, ideas and awareness you’ve brought to my life.  My animals,  family and I appreciate what I’ve learned from your lessons, patience, carefulness etc. I enjoy meeting new horses and watching, reading and understanding them because of what I’ve learned from 'Getting in TTouch' and being able to help relax, soften and relieve tension from horses whose caretakers haven’t had the chance to study and use your methods."
   –  Terri Rexroad

Paste Worming

"I guess horses, like people, can develop a dislike for something over a period of time, especially when it becomes associated in their minds with some similar, but bad experience. Out elder mare, Canadair, developed a real hate for paste worming over a period of years, until our only recourse was to fit her with a snug, stout halter, lash her head firmly against a solid pole (of the power-pole type!) and wait until she gave up resisting, sighed, and let us do it. 

"She always looked faintly surprised after, as it was never (in recent years) as bad-tasting as she’d expected. Mind you, she's not an evil-minded horse, never bit or struck at us, just tried with all her strength and skill to keep her mouth out of reach. It took, I suppose, no more than five minutes in all, from haltering to worming, but it was nerve-wracking for me to handle her enormous resistance.  In fact, I always postponed worming the entire stable until me son who was very quiet and cool with horses could be home to help.

"Then I learned the mouth work at a Tellington TTouch weekend clinic and before the next worming day I gave the mare some “treatments.” Hey! She loved it! The mare that disliked anything going on around her head! We decided to try the worming sans power-pole, just my son’s hand on her halter, head over stall door, but essentially free to charge backwards. I worked the gums, played piano on her tongue, gently worked the nostrils, sides of the mouth and then slipped in the paste wormer - MAGIC!! No fight, no fuss, and all over in a matter of seconds! No fluke either; we’ve wormed twice since the breakthrough.  And next time I’m going to have a go at doing her all by myself!"

   – Pat Ritchie  in Alberta

Our Method for > TTouch-for-You > Why TTouch-for-You?

TTouch & Heart Resonance & The Role of Intention

By Robin Bernhard LCSW, MED

The universality of Linda’s methodology is unique to TTouch. Linda didn’t have to develop different techniques to teach horses, whales, snakes, parrots, cats, dogs or humans. TTouch works for all species. Through touches that are universally understood, Linda and her students of TTouch, invite their animals to participate in harmonious mutual communication; cell to cell and heart to heart. In her book, Tellington TTouch, Linda states: “Instead of seeing the TTouch as something that I do to animals, which would create separation between us, I view the circles as a way to come into cellular harmony with them, a way of allowing my cells to speak to theirs. At a cellular level, no living thing is alien to any other, and so the sense of connections remains the same whether I’m working with a gerbil or a lynx, a kitten or an elephant.” Both the practitioner and the animal benefit from the mutual communication.

Linda believes that the TTouch practitioner’s intention for healing is communicated from the person to the animal (or person to person) on many levels. These intuitive ideas are now being scientifically documented by The Institute of HeartMath with new research about mind-body communication and the heart. Research at The Institute of HeartMath has shown that we can regulate heart rhythm coherence by holding positive feelings and intentions. Increased heart rhythm coherence produces more alpha brainwaves, enhanced awareness and improved cognitive performance. Alpha frequencies induce a state of tranquility, not unlike the tranquility experienced during TTouch, and interestingly, alpha brainwaves are associated with peak performance. The results of the research at the institute of HeartMath supports the hypothesis “that the changes in brain activity that occur during states of increased psychophysiological coherence lead to changes in the brain’s information processing capabilities. Results suggest that by using heart-based interventions to self-generate coherent states, individuals can significantly enhance cognitive performance.” It would be very interesting to see if TTouch enhances heart rhythm coherence. I suspect that it does.

The heart produces an energy field that can be measured for five feet in all directions. It is quite possible that all species are able to perceive influences from another being’s heart from a short distance. When humans communicate and touch is involved, the brain registers the heartbeat of the other in the EEG, physiological evidence that we are influenced by another’s heart rhythm chaos or coherence. Research has shown that horses are sensitive to the heart energy fields produced by humans and that humans are sensitive to the fields produced by the horse’s heart. The practitioner of TTouch knows well the experience of peace that comes while engaged in the practice of TTouch. Scientific knowledge about the energetic communication from the heart suggests that TTouch practitioners are energetically engaging their animal partners at the deep level of the heart. When the TTouch practitioner consciously holds the intention of healing and a compassionate attitude to generate heart rate coherence within the self, the person or animal being touched benefits from the calming influence of the energy field created by the practitioner’s heart. The research at the Institute of Heart Math suggests that the heart to heart engagement is reciprocal and thus, we have the beginnings of scientific documentation for the experience of healing intention, compassion, respect and positive regard that is part of TTouch practice.

There are more neurons running from the heart to the brain than from the brain to the heart. Some research suggests that the heart directs brain regulation and not the other way around. Linda has stressed the importance of holding a compassionate attitude coupled with the desire to support healing as the correct mind-set for the TTouch practitioner to allow the heart to influence the work. The research on the power of the heart from The Institute of HeartMath documents the scientific basis for what Linda understood intuitively about the heart’s influence on TTouch outcome and the mutual benefit for the practitioner and the animal when the practitioner intentionally generates a genuinely positive heart felt connection between the self and the animal during a TTouch session.

On the other hand, forceful methods generate fear and impede “thinking” as the horse moves into its instinctual fight/flight survival mode. During fight/flight activation, thinking is shut-down in favor of split-second non-thinking reflexive reactions that the horse can’t control. It is often in this fear driven state that horses can’t meet the demands placed upon them, for which they are frequently punished and pushed further into fear, pain and freeze responses. Instinctual reactions may be activated through a dominating relationship, and animals can be managed through such training methods. TTouch does not elicit instinct driven behavior mediated by the limbic system, rather Linda seeks to calm the limbic system and stimulate learning that is mediated by the cortex through a relationship infused with a heart-felt connection.

Effects for You!

If you've done much work with Tellington TTouch® Training, you have most likely discovered the benefits for animals - not only for horses, but also for dogs, cats, small critters, zoo animals and wildlife rescue. You may have discovered improvements in health and well-being, a reduction in stress, and often, miraculous changes in behavior. And in horses and dogs you will have been rewarded by enhanced performance and a more flexible, intelligent four-legged friend. Many, who work with the Tellington TTouch Method, report an unexpected deepening of relationship that gives you the feeling you are Dr. Doolittle with the ability to communicate without words, and understand each other in a way you didn't think possible.

However, what is often unrecognized or unspoken, are the effects on you! There is often experienced a transformation in the people using TTouch as well as their animals. We become more flexible and balanced mentally and physically, as well as emotionally. Many adults report a sense feeling of being smarter and more confident.

In classes of school children practicing TTouch on their companion animals, teachers and parents describe similar changes: improved ability to focus and concentrate (just like horses and dogs) with heightened confidence and more tolerance. Children with a tendency to lose their tempers or bully other kids increase self-control and another level of understanding that allows them to adapt and be less reactive. I believe TTouch teaches children what I call "compassionate empowerment®."

What causes these transformational changes in the two-leggeds? I believe the reasons are two-fold:

1. TTouch activates both hemispheres of the brain resulting in Whole Brain learning. The left side of the brain is commonly referred to as the logical side, and the right side is thought of as the creative or intuitive side, although in reality that is not so. The brain is actually an integrated whole. The left hemisphere is more linear and the right is oriented to spatial issues and understanding the big picture.

You wonder how TTouch affects the whole brain?

Each time you push the skin in a circle imagining the face of a clock, the intuitive side is engaged, because imagining or visualizing as well as the actual movement have to do with the intuitive. When you "see in your mind's eye" the numbers on the clock, the logical is activated because numbers have to do with logical thinking.

When you're practicing leading exercises imagining the "Elegant Elephant’s" trunk as the end of your "wand" or whip, the movement itself, and holding the wand and chain in both hands, affects the right brain. And the logical way of holding the wand and chain in two hands awakens the thinking side.

2. The second indication of this whole brain effect comes from the two studies I did in the summers of 1987 and 1988 in cooperation with Anna Wise of the Boulder Institute of Biofeedback. Working with a "Mind Mirror" developed by her mentor, British psycho biologist and biophysicist Maxwell Cade, produced some fascinating results. The Mind Mirror is an EEG that differs from the traditional EEG in that it used spectral analysis to simultaneously measure eleven different frequencies in each hemisphere of the brain. Unlike the normal EEG it has the unique ability to measure beta, alpha, theta and delta brain waves in both hemispheres of the brain.

We measured over a dozen students to determine their brain wave activity while being TTouched, rubbed, petted and massaged. Surprising was the fact that consistently, whether our students were being TTouched or TTouching a horse or a person, there was an activation of all four brain waves –beta, alpha, theta and delta – in both sides of the brain. When the person being measured was petted, stroked, rubbed or massaged, the relaxing alpha brainwave pattern was present, but never beta – the problem solving potential. Only with the circular touches were the beta brainwaves present.

So the next time you head out to the barn remember that TTouching your horse a few minutes a day can reduce your stress, clear your mind, deepen the connection with your horse and dog, and make you smarter. That's why the phrase "The Touch That Teaches" came into being.

Linda Tellington-Jones

 

 

Arthritis in Knee

Combining Tellington TTouch and Feldenkrais for extreme arthritis in knee due to poor posture. Client: female - 48 years old

This patient had her first surgery when she was 18 years old. When bending the knee at a certain angle she sometimes would loose control of her right knee and fall down. Repositioning the ligaments should have helped, but the surgery was not successful.

To avoid falling the patient developed the habit to straighten the knee instead of bending it while walking.  Due to many years of this poor way of moving a strong case of arthritis developed in her knee. In March 2006, she once again underwent surgery on her meniscus.  This surgery, followed by intense Physiotherapy also did not bring any relief and required weekly drainage.  A friend suggested she'd come to me for a Feldenkrais session.

I combined TTouch for You and Feldenkrais as follows:

With specific Feldenkrais exercises we searched for the "right" gait, the physiological movement of the walk. The ankle had "forgotten" that it had to move, there was no possibility of up or down movement. The leg was lifted by a swing of the hip, foot and knee remained stiff.

With the lightest impulses, we organized the body in a way that foot, knee and hip were able to "learn" to move properly. To heal the arthritis in her knee I treated the patient 20 minutes at the beginning and end of each session with TTouch on her right leg with the following TTouches:

Abalone pressure 1, two-second TTouches on the whole leg including knee starting at the hip down to the foot.

Lying Leopard pressure 1, one-second TTouches on the inside of the upper thigh down to the knee and then on the outside of the upper thigh.

Raccoon TTouch, pressure 1, one-second TTouches around the area of the knee and later directly on the knee.

At the end of the session Lying Leopard with pressure 1, one-second TTouches on the entire leg and ending with octopus on both legs.

After three weeks, the ankle has much more movement. The knee is starting to bend and the hip slowly leaned a new movement. we continued working on the movement of knee, foot and hip with Feldenkrais. I also use TTouch on the knee including in positions that are similar to a normal gait, with the patient standing with one leg ahead of the other, putting some pressure on the ligaments and tendons. I used the following TTouches:

Abalone, pressure 1, two-second TTouches on the right leg.

Raccoon TTouch, pressure 1, one-second TTouches around the knee and along the path of the tendons and ligaments going up to a pressure 3.

The fluid build-up in the knee has noticeably been reduced and the patient is using less pain medication.

After six weeks of therapy:

On flat ground and light incline the gait is normal. When the patient gets tired there is a slight unevenness in her rhythm. She puts more weight on the strongest leg and keeps it on the ground for two seconds while to injured leg stays on the ground for one second.  Only when she walks downhill is there a chance of the knee collapsing on her. There is no more access fluid in her knee and it no longer needs to be drained.  The patient is NOT using ANY pain mediation

The case study is not yet finished, but it showed very clearly how the combination of TTouch for You and Feldenkrais encouraged the healing of an old condition.

Marie-Jeane Dufour, Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner and TTouch for You Practitioner

Shop > Dogs > Books

The Tellington TTouch: Caring for Animals With Heart And Hands

The Tellington TTouch: Caring for Animals With Heart And Hands

2008 edition with a new cover and some edits.

$16.00
Harnessing Your Dog's Perfection

Harnessing Your Dog's Perfection

Discover simple, non-threatening Tellington TTouch exercises and techniques that promote relaxed, enjoyable, loose leash walks for dogs and their people.

$20.95

Shop > Horses > Books

Strike A Long Trot: Legendary Horsewoman Linda Tellington-Jones

Strike A Long Trot: Legendary Horsewoman Linda Tellington-Jones

This book chronicles the distinguished early equestrian career of Linda Tellington-Jones.

$20.00
Rehabilitation of Horses - Booklet

Rehabilitation of Horses - Booklet

Useful techniques to help your horse recover from neurological deficits including EPM.

from $25.00

Shop > Horses > Equipment

Balance Rein - Braided

Balance Rein - Braided

Used for horses who are above the bit, behind the vertical or strung-out.

$21.95

Shop > Humans

TTouch for Healthcare - a Tellington TTouch Instructional DVD

TTouch for Healthcare - a Tellington TTouch Instructional DVD

New! Especially for You! TTouch for Healthcare Instructional DVD
$12.95

Worldwide > Animal Ambassadors International

1990 TTEAM and Special Education

TTEAM News International October, 1989 Vol 9 No 3 Pp. 21-23

Bonnie Lieuwen of College Station, Texas attended a workshop with TTEAM Instructor, Copper Love who encouraged her to write about how she had been using TTEAM in her special education classroom.

FOCUS: As a special education teacher I am most concerned with my students increasing their focusing skills. As we all know, if a person can focus & concentrate their focusing skills then they can expand academically, emotionally, socially, and physically. Sort of like a snowball effect, expanding in their skills, independence, and self-esteem. In my thirteen years of experience, this was the first year that I taught at the elementary age level (ages six - ten). Due to the students' handicaps, young ages, and extreme amount of energy, focusing was not one of their strong qualities. I tried many different techniques to increase their focusing skills with very little growth for the effort that was expended. It was not until I began using some TTEAM techniques that I started to see notable growth.

Other areas that I saw results from using TTEAM with the students were: body-awareness/use/carriage, relaxation, and decrease in hyperactive behavior. Increase in socialization, increase in behavioral self-control, increased awareness of self, others, and the environment, increase of following directions skills, decrease in aggressive behaviors, increase of willingness and enjoyment of being touched and touching others, the skill of waiting, increased feelings of acceptance, increased feelings of bonding and trust between student and teacher, and more I'm sure.

In special education there are so many variables and different specialists that work with these children (speech, adaptive p.e., physical/occupational therapists, counselors) and everyone has good input into the growth of these children. It is always difficult to pinpoint the most effective techniques and many times it is a combinations of everyone's input. But I do know that when I began using TTEAM, I began seeing exciting changes and other people (plus parents) were reporting these changes too. I will not be working with these students next year so I will have no idea of the lasting effects in their growth. Please remember these are only my observations and feelings. It is my gut feeling that TTEAM had a crucial positive effect on these children.

In the following paragraphs I will briefly tell you about the TTEAM activities and adaptations I used and the five students that received the most TTEAM energy. The time span was about two months, but not on a daily basis. In fact I found myself becoming very frustrated that I did not have the time I wanted to spend doing TTEAM. I saw the benefits and ached with the thought "if I only had more time to spend individually with each student."

In a school setting I thought it might look odd to use my horse wand so I substituted the wand with a drum major's baton. I found it worked well because it has the two white rubber ends and I could remind the kids to look (focus) at the white tips (we called then marshmallows). There are many stick things that would work well (is conductor baton, a painted stick, etc.) I just happened to have the baton.

With the baton we did:

  • open the gate
  • walk, turns, backward walk, run
  • wave to stop
  • dagger; this was especially for "J" who I will tell you about later.

Obstacles: I used sticks that were about 6 ft. by 1 inch (they were light weight and easy to arrange).

  • Labyrinth (varying the pattern)
  • cavaletti (arranged at different heights/distances)
  • star
  • the "pick up sticks arrangement

Other obstacles:

  • a tic-tac-toe design. I would use the baton to point to a square for the student to step into, this one worked very well for teaching them to focus on where the baton point, for increasing the awareness of space and feet placement, and for waiting in one place.
  • Box Lids. (I'm sure you have seen when stores cut in half, all the way around, a case of canned soda and each box part is about 2 inches high, well that is what I used). I would arrange the boxes on the floor in varying patterns and again I used the wand to point to the box I wanted the student to step into.

The boxes and tic-tac-toe were terrific for a group because I could direct one student and while the one student learned to wait in one space I could direct another, and so on. This really helped my students that were very compulsive in their movements, They had to think in order to control their bodies. It was a great exercise!

Other things:
Labyrinth - when the students became skilled in these (in the beginning they would plow right through the sticks, absolutely no awareness of the sticks or that they were plowing through) I made the addition of two labyrinth patterns. We used chairs with wheels and without. It was really neat to see the students expand from plowing through, to thinking their own bodies through, to having enough control to push a chair through the pattern.

Flashlight - After they had learned to focus on the baton I would sometimes use a flashlight beam instead of a baton. I would turn down the lights and shine the flashlight to direct them in the obstacle patterns. This is interesting: I had used a flashlight all year hoping to increase their focusing skills, but it was not until they had learned to focus on the baton that they finally were able to truly focus on the flashlight beam.

I did not get a chance to use the following ideas but I thought they might be good.

  • Rope: Take a long rope or several ropes to make varying obstacle designs.
  • Tires: Substitute the large tires (used with the horses) with bicycle tires or tubes, hoola -hoops, or some other light weight circular shapes.
  • Rag squares pattern.
  • Pulling a wagon
  • Varying the body movements through the labyrinth: while crawling, hopping and running.

And of course I used the wonderful "CIRCLES"!

Students: J., N. , K. , M. , C.

J. (10 yrs, he has a mental retardation handicap, very hyperactive) - when J. came to
my class in late October he walked with his shoulders hunched over, head down towards the ground, and his hands hold in a wrapped position on top of his head. His body language told that he was hiding within a shell. He did not talk, he only made a very occasional vocal sound (but he had Used words occasionally throughout his life). He was shy and withdrawn socially, would not focus on anything or anyone. He would not follow directions and when he was corrected on behavior he would fall to the floor with tantruming, crying and screaming. He frequently hit peers or tried to play too aggressively. He would often, just out of the blue, take off running away from staff. He was very hyperactive and easily over excitable.

I tried many techniques to improve his posture, nothing had much effect. In the month of February I tried doing circles on his shoulders, neck, and back. These areas were extremely tight, by my feel and by his own reaction. It was interesting that while doing the circles he would lower his arms but they would return minutes after I stopped doing the circles. Daily I did circles on his shoulders, back, and neck and daily the length increased that he would leave his arms down. At the end of March, after I had attended a TTEAM clinic, I began increasing circle time/ body areas and incorporating TTEAM activities. With the increase of TTEAM I began to do, J. really improved in all areas. His major growths were truly observable by the end of May. He walked upright, hands down with only an occasional verbal reminder, he learned to walk and stop which greatly helped staff because it decreased the number of times they would have to run after him. He made great leaps in his ability to focus and attend to tasks, and he began using words to state his needs i.e. water, bathroom, ball, play, others' names, bus, etc. Socially he became more aware of those around him and he was interacting non-aggressively. At lunch time all my students had a regular education student for a lunch buddy. Each of my students would sit with their lunch buddy at the lunch buddy's class table. Daily I watched J's interactions with the lunch class/ buddy become more calm and appropriate. He became more calm/relaxed and he definitely increased his ability to follow directions and to accept correction calmly. I feel sure the TTEAM obstacle activities had a great effect on his self-control, focusing, increased awareness of' his environment, and the decrease in his compulsiveness. J. loved the circles so much that he would take my hand and show me where he wanted circles, he also would try to do circles on others. It was a total joy to watch the growth he was making.

N. (6 yrs. mental handicap, slight degree of' cerebral palsy). M. had extreme baby behaviors: he refused to follow directions by excessive tantruming, hitting, spitting, crying, and throwing himself on the floor. He was extremely dependent on others to do things for him. Very low focusing abilities and very short attention span. When N. first came to my class in October I thought if this child learns to remain in his seat for five minutes it will be a miracle. Well N. passed that goal up by far. He made wonderful progress with a lot of physical guidance and verbal direction. He had already come a long way when I began doing TTEAM with him in the end of March. And once again I don't think it was coincidence that this student began to make progress more rapidly when I began the TTEAM. N. resisted the circles at first so I had to stick to the 'flick of the bear's paw" for the first week. After that he was very receptive to the circles and by the end of May he would ask for circles. I feel that N. made a lot of emotional progress in body awareness and use. It's as if he had discovered his body and its movements. N. also grew in independence and in following directions. I could see him improve and feel good about the TTEAM obstacles and learning these simple task directions seemed to carry over into following directions in other areas.

K. (7 years. Learning Handicap, hyperactive). K. was my speed student. He sped through everything just to get it done. His focusing ability was very poor. K. was in my room only in the morning so the only TTEAM I did with him was the Circles and the baton, open gate, walk, stop. I feel this greatly improved his ability to slow down and to focus. I would also let K. run in a circle around me plus focus on the baton and verbal directions. This seemed to be effective in releasing his excess energy, increasing his focusing, and increasing his following direction skills. K. seemed to react to the circles very emotionally. Some days he was very resistive to the touch. He was a child that did not feel comfortable with touch. Several times after I began circles on him he would have crying episodes (not within the circle session, but at later times). I took the circles very slowly with K. in case they were causing the crying. In time he became more receptive to the circles and the crying episodes ceased.

M. (10 yrs., Mental retardation handicap, very cerebral palsy, Used a walker to walk). M. came to my class the last month of school so he did not participate in a lot of' TTEAM. I observed some progress that I feel was a result of TTEAM. M. was not happy in our class when he first came. He had recently moved from another town where he was very happy in his class. I feel the circles helped him feel more trusting and bonded in our class at a more rapid speed than he would have without the circles.

C.* (9 yrs., regular education. student that was placed in my classroom due to severe emotional and aggressive outbursts within his regular classroom. C. is very intelligent, creative, and sensitive.) A teacher's aide worked with him in a partitioned off area of my classroom. I worked with him for 30 minutes a day. We worked on social/personal skills, breathing, guided imagery, and of course CIRCLES! C. loved the circles, especially on his face. He told me the circles made him feel relaxed and peaceful. We used the circles many times when he was feeling upset. Every time he would feel better and refrain from inappropriate or aggressive behavior.

I hope that I have at least been able to cover the highlights of what I feel TTEAM did for my students. I'm not sure who benefited the most from TTEAM - my students or me. I do know that now I have seen the benefits with my horses, with my students, with myself and I thank you for sharing TTEAM with the earth.

NOTE: TTEAM is an acronym of "Tellington TTouch Equine Awareness Method." Since this article was written, Linda decided to use a brand name for all the facets of the TTouch organization. Currently, that is Tellington TTouch® Training.

 

 

1988 Animal Ambassadors International - Pilot Program in Idaho Schools

I've just been through a remarkable experience. It actually began last fall, when I did a pilot program introducing Animal Ambassadors International® and TTEAM to elementary school children in my home state of Idaho. The TTEAM portion of the program was exciting and well received. We could see a wonderful thing happening: children becoming more responsive, more caring. We did not so much teach the children as awaken something they already had within themselves, something that can be very beautiful in a child. I say "we" because it was the animals who were the teachers. The TTouch was the connection that made it possible, but I was as surprised as anyone at some of the "lessons" the animals taught us.

We also demonstrated how an Animal Ambassadors International unit can be used to teach natural history and science. Each child chose an animal to befriend, protect, and learn more about. Many of the children also wrote a poem on behalf of their animal.

The content was rich, the program was successful and yet something was missing: the cross-cultural element Animal Ambassadors International began as an international celebration of the importance or animals in our lives. Linda Tellington-Jones invited American children to send pictures of their pet to her to take to Russia. Many children responded. The pictures were displayed in Gorky Park and the Russians were deeply touched by this expression of friendship.

I tried to introduce an international awareness into my school program, but it just didn't have the energy of the other elements of the program. In trying to analyze it and discover what was blocking the flow I realized pretty quickly that it was myself. I could not project interest in what I knew so little about. I could not make it real for them.

Fortunately a chance came to remedy the situation a little bit. On January 5, Linda organized an Animal Ambassador day for 15 Russian children who made a whirlwind tour of the US with Youth Ambassadors. Out of this experience grew the past two days and some exciting suggestions from teachers that I can hardly wait to pass on. But first let me describe what we did and what happened.

Most of the children had had at least a brief introduction to TTEAM last fall. A few had earned Animal Ambassadors International certificates. So it was a heartwarming reception I got from these children when I returned. The age range was 7 through 13, with most being 8 or 9. They were quite a bit younger than the Youth Ambassadors. But I was to find out they still responded to the Youth Ambassadors as one child to another.

I began by telling them about the Russian Youth Ambassadors in San Francisco. I told them everyday things, for example some of the comments the Russians had made about our food in the Youth Ambassador newspaper, "The Bridge." We looked at a globe to see what an immense country Russia is, and I talked about how the Soviet Union is actually many countries in one. We traced on the globe to find a Russian city exactly opposite us, only to find a city with a name we couldn't pronounce. After a few minutes' discussion I put on a record of Russian music -- explaining"balalaika" as best I could -- and then I taught the kids the dance the Russians had done the night of the concert at the Dakin home in San Francisco.

Fun? The teachers couldn't stand it. Soon teachers and aides -- everybody -- was whirling around. Nobody wanted to stop. The kids could do the difficult steps so easily it was amazing. We all had a grand time. This happened in class after class. In one class it was super because after we stopped the dancing one child said, "I wish we could write to some Russians." What a lead-in. We left the Russian musician and they wrote their letters.

The next day was thrilling because the kids had been doing some thinking on their own. They wanted to know about the Russian alphabet, why we spell their country U.S.S.R. and they write it C.C.C.P. One boy wanted to write his letter not about animals at all but about stopping nuclear warfare. I told him to give it a try if he wished, but he decided on his own that maybe his first letter should be about animals because he really had a super animal story to tell. Last fall he had adopted wolves as his totem animal and this winter he had had a chance to help a wolf. He would save nuclear disarmament for another letter.

It's important to remember that some of these letters are from kids who have never written a letter before. Many of these kids are what they used to call "under-achievers." They don't try. Well, today they tried. They tried so hard. I think they did a beautiful job. I hope it comes across how genuine and honest these letters are. The kids were not being creative, they were just being. They put their hearts into these letters and they did it in their own way, trying to be neat and readable, trying to spell the words correctly to make it easier for the Russian child who would read it. I'm not sure the Russians will understand what kind of dog a "cocker spaniel" is, but otherwise...

I wish I could put into words how important I feel this program is. These kids are not the privileged, some come to school in rags. They may never have another chance to make this connection. Yet in 10 years most of them will be voters. Will they still care about wolves and nuclear disarmament, and will they still be capable of signing "Your best friend" in a letter to an unknown Russian?

NOTE: TTEAM is an acronym of "Tellington TTouch Equine Awareness Method." Since this article was written, Linda decided to use a brand name for all the facets of the TTouch organization. Currently, that is Tellington TTouch® Training.

1990 TTouch for Developmentally Delayed Students

TTEAM News International Back Issues, 1990 Pp. 91-92

TTEAM Practitioner and Educator Erika Hull works with a class of Developmentally Delayed students (ages 12 -21) in Bracebridge, Ontario. She has taken a number of week-long TTEAM Trainings with Linda Tellington-Jones and Robyn Hood. She also owns and rides two horses and has a dog and two cats.

About eight years ago, first used the Tellington TTouch on one student who was totally out of control - the student was screaming and could not sit or stand. In "self defense" Erika did a few light-pressured Clouded Leopard circles and the screaming eased while Erika was doing the circles. Since that time, the use of TTouch in her classroom has become, in her words, "a way of being" that is integrated into the rest of her teaching. However, with some students, she may spend a little more time to deal with specific problems.

In January, 1990 I visited Erika to observe, video, and write about some of these special cases, so that they could be shared at the first Tellington TTouch Workshop for Humans held at Esalen Institute in February 1990.

David (not his real name)

He came to Erika's class at the age of 12 years suffering from Cerebral Palsy. At that time, he was violent and disruptive. He had no friends, did not talk, did no work, and had to wear diapers. His head moved constantly, he could not see anything, and was unable to focus. Go could not straighten his arms, and they were always on his chest. He was unable to feel heat, cold or pain.

Erika told him that if he wanted to remain in her classroom, he had to be smart like everyone else, and that his brain was the boss. She began TTouch by working on his arms and hands with the Clouded Leopard, doing Noah's March down both arms, and telling him that he had a telephone connection from the brain to his fingers. This was the "beginning of a new life" as Erika puts it, "he began to get an idea of where his body was."

Two years ago, a hamstring operation was done and his legs were in full casts (from the hip to the toes). His mother was told by the doctors that he would never have sensation or movement in the toes. Erika did Clouded Leopard and Raccoon circles on his toes, working on him for about 20 minutes each day for six weeks while he was in the casts. After the casts were removed, she did circles over the feet and legs. To help him stand, she put his feet in high ski boots. She used the wand to direct the brain signal from the head to the foot, and he is now able to wiggle his toes. He is also able to stand without the ski boots and instead of 100% of his weight on the heels, it's now 60% on the heels and 40% on the toes. He is now able to walk without assistance. By doing TTouch down the outside of the leg David is beginning to be able to turn his feet straighter (instead of out), and is able to walk backwards.

To assist David with his writing and improve his eyesight, Erika did TTouch circles on David's temples. He has learned his letters and numbers, and is now able to write them. He has become very social, has many friends, and can have a sensible conversation with people. He can dress himself, is able to use a urinal, and doesn't wear diapers any more. During the TTouch work, a great deal of emphasis was placed on breathing - because the breathing helps to "unfreeze the neural impulses that direct the muscles". Erika says that David is now one of her host students.

Tara
She has been in Erika'a Class for 1 & 1/2 years. It the beginning she had no speech, and had so little strength or balance that she was unable to got on the school bus. Her speech problem was related to an inability to take air into the lungs. She was unable to rotate her spine, which interfered with her washroom activities . TTouch was done on her feet and legs to improve their strength and she is now able to get on a ladder.

When first TTouched on the back, four months ago, Tara gasped, due to extreme sensitivity probably caused by inflammation of nerve endings. Very light Python Lifts and Raccoon touches were done all over her back to help improve her breathing and enable her to rotate her spine. Tara can now be TTouched all over her back with the Abalone without feeling any discomfort and can use the washroom. Her parents are very pleased with the changes in her.

Bill
Bill was expelled from every school and every school bus due to violent behavior. (e.g. throwing a VCR through the window). His Ontario Student Record is 1" thick with incidents. He was placed in Erika's class in November 89. At the beginning, Erika did not use the TTouch on him, but she used the TTEAM Philosophy of offering alternatives instead of force, as she had learned in TTEAM horse clinic. Whenever force, (in the form of coercion) had been used with Bill, he had exploded (as some horses will). When offered alternatives, he began to be able to cope.

More recently (March, 90) Erika began doing the Python and Butterfly on his arms and hands (his hand would shake,, and he had difficulty writing. She also used Tarantulas Pulling the Plow and Lick of the Cow's Tongue on his back; sometimes she only does Noah's March. If Bill receives some TTouch twice a day, his behavior is acceptable, and he is beginning to be helpful with other students. It seems that Bill possibly suffers from the opposite of tactile defensiveness - he becomes sick if he is not TTouched. When he first came to the class, he could not use the computer with his hands, but would use his nose instead. In March, he began to use the computer with his hands. When the TTouch is done on his arm and hand, he will write. He was not able to do this six months ago.

Erika continues to integrate the TTEAM philosophy and TTouching her students. She has also maintained a delightful sense of humor as she works in situations which can be stressful.

NOTE: TTEAM is an acronym of "Tellington TTouch Equine Awareness Method." Since this article was written, Linda decided to use a brand name for all the facets of the TTouch organization. Currently, that is Tellington TTouch.

1987 Animal Ambassadors International Introduced to Elementary School Children

TTEAM News International December, 1987 Vol 7 No 5 Pp. 5-6

I want to share some of my experiences of the last few weeks: introducing TTEAM to elementary school children. So far I've given four presentations - ranging in length from one hour to a week - to students in Grades 1 through 6. Forty-four children have earned Animal Ambassador Certificates. An additional estimated 200 have had hands-on experience doing Raccoon or Clouded Leopard circles on a horse.

Animal Ambassadors International® and TTEAM® were presented to the teachers as ends in themselves and as vehicles for learning empowerment. I wanted to demonstrate that TTEAM can be more than just an interesting sidelight to a school program. It can be a valuable adjunct to the program itself.

To that end the two week-long units that we did were by far the most productive. They gave us time to set specific goals and objectives that addressed both cognitive and effective modes. For example, last week I worked with Celeste Klmerico, who has charge of her school's Gifted-and-Talented and Remedial program. One of the really exciting things Celeste wanted to do was bring these two groups of kids together in a week-long Animal Ambassador unit. One purpose for doing this was to raise the prestige and confidence of the remedial group, to make it easier for them to leave their classrooms each day for "Special Ed." Meanwhile the kids at the other end of the spectrum would be gaining practice in sharing their skills and being supportive while everyone broadened their knowledge of animals and natural history through TTEAM and an imaginative search for a special animal to befriend, protect and learn more about.

Although with each program I realize how much I have to learn. I'm excited about the programs we are doing right now as well as possibilities and plans for the future. Out of the two week-long units a workable, flexible framework has evolved that include the following components.

  • Introduction to TTEAM, Animal Ambassadors International and the stuffed toy animals on which they will learn and practice the Tellington TTouch.
  • Live animal demonstration with Tehya, a horse, and Bud, a dog – both gentle, beautiful animals who are Ambassadors to the children from the whole vast Animal Kingdom.
  • An imaginary, guided tour with Linda aboard a winged horse throughout the animal habitats of the world, looking for a special animal to befriend and protect.

This journey begins at Monkey Mia, in Australia, swimming with dolphins. The children loved making the sound of dolphin-breathing. They journey to the California coast, where sea otters spend almost their entire lives in the surf, rocking to the music of the waves.

On the beach they meet the winged horse, first as a toy animal with wings shaped like hands; with their TTouch it becomes the magical, gentle horse who carries them to Africa, to Australia and eventually back to North America.

The drawings from my coloring book are used to give framework and focus to the imagery. Last week I ended the journey with a recording of wolf howls.

Then everyone rises from their chairs and joins hands in a Friendship Circle while they choose an animal to befriend and protect.
 

  • Back to the left-brain mode. Over-night I have drawn a picture of each child's animal. This is not as difficult as it may sound because many children choose the same animal. Last week we had four eagles. The children use library books to research their animal's color, plus several interesting facts about the animal, which they will write down. They'll also color the animal.
  • Children who complete the research may wish to write a poem about or for their animal.
  • Validation: Children read their presentations before their classmates and are awarded their Certificates.

It is necessary to remember that this program must be flexible in order to meet the needs of the children with a wide range of abilities. For example, last week we had a gifted first grader, at least one hyperactive older child who usually can best be reached only on a one-to-one basis and a gifted eighth grader who chose to design her own project based on the TTEAM newsletter.

In evaluating the children's responses it is important to point out that most of the children we've worked with so far have been in remedial programs. The hyperactive children are tremendously exciting and challenging. They'll wear you out, but when a hyperactive child sits still for an hour - working on his project - you know your program has got to have some strength.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about ways in which a TTEAM-Animal Ambassador program, with additional components of art and guided imagery, can be used in a whole-brain learning approach. A lot of credit must be given to teachers and teachers' aids, who know how to make the most of a program like this. I have learned so such from the teachers!

Every program we've done so far has served as a springboard for further activity, some initiated by the children themselves. Anne Gahley's remedial classes began asking for more animal books to read, an indication that we provided incentive to nonreaders. One child elected to redo her project. Ms. McCathryn's 'Introduction to TTEAM' was the start of a month-long Animal Unit for Second Graders. Dorabeth Adams plans to use our poetry writing venture as a start to help the children develop vocabulary and imagination in creative writing. Some of Celeste Almerico's students may bring their pets to school to give a TTEAM demonstration for the other children. Her 8th grade is working on a special project to send to Linda.

I believe the program is powered, to a great extent, by the live animal demonstration. The children appear to be positively affected by the presence of the horse. Perhaps they are awed by the horse's size. They press close to the rails of the portable corral, watching the TTouch being done on the horse. They are quick to notice the horse's every reaction. When their turn comes to enter the corral, one at a time, their eyes are shining with pride and anticipation. I am amazed and delighted at how much they have learned working with the stuffed toy animals, and at how well they remember the names of the different TTouches.

When they got to the dog there is sudden laughter. They have invented a new name: Lick of the Dog's Tongue.

I would like to conclude with a poem written by an eight year old girl on behalf of' her animal, the elephant.

Freedom
Is a gray elephant
Eating in the jungle.

Happiness
is a burnt umber elephant
With her calf in the rain forest.

Sadness
Is a brown elephant
Asleep In the zoo.

NOTE: TTEAM is an acronym of "Tellington TTouch Equine Awareness Method." Since this article was written, Linda decided to use a brand name for all the facets of the TTouch organization. Currently, that is Tellington TTouch® Training.

2004 Visit to the Oakland Zoo Goat Rangers and Giraffes

In October, 2004 I joined Practitioner Jaynellen Kovacevich and her Oakland Zoo "Goat Rangers" for a presentation to the youth and their parents. Jaynellen's program won the Oakland Zoo "Volunteer of the Year" award for 2003.

Jaynellen arranged this presentation and potluck lunch with me as a reward for the Goat Rangers.

Their parents were invited to spend the day at the zoo with their rangers, the youngest volunteers at the zoo, to learn more about the program and the benefits of TTouch. This was also an opportunity for the parents to hear about the special contribution the Goat Rangers have made to the zoo and to show pride in them for their accomplishments.

It was especially wonderful to have this chance to honor the work of Jaynellen. She is both a Companion Animal and a TTEAM Practitioner in addition to being a special education teacher. Jaynellen has been teaching TTouch in her school classes for almost 20 years, since the beginning of the Animal Ambassador program.

I talked about the history of Animal Ambassadors International® and how I was inspired with the idea of Animal Ambassadors International from my work in Russia with children and animals beginning in 1985. That was the year that I organized a telephone exchange between a school in Moscow and a school in Utah. In both schools the kids could hear each other (through the interpreters) over loudspeakers that could be heard ri all the classrooms. How rewarding it is to see this concept of animals being our ambassadors for promoting understanding between people and animals these 19 years later.

I presented the Goat Rangers with Animal Ambassador certificates that state, "I hereby vow to use my hands, my heart and my voice to speak for and protect all . . . . . (This space is then filled in with the name of the animal or animals the recipient chose. Many of the youth wrote in "all animals.”)

After lunch we spent an hour with the goats and sheep in the petting zoo, where the rangers introduced me to their favorites, including Pygmy goats, an Alpine, a Nubian, a La Mancha goat and a flock of Barbados sheep. It was exciting and impressive to watch the Goat Rangers as they TTouched several of the senior goats who are being treated by the zoo veterinary staff and zookeepers for arthritis. Educational staff members and keepers have noted that the Goat Ranger program and TTouch have been beneficial to these older goats as well as the other goats and sheep.

Jaynellen has been teaching this class twice a month for almost four years at the Oakland Zoo and has shared the benefits of TTouch with many educational staff members, zookeepers and docents. When she began the program, many of the sheep and goats shied away from being touched. They were used to the public feeding them, but often they were approached by young children pulling on their horns, face or legs. In return, the goats often tried to escape by butting the children. Sometimes parents pushed or hit the goats and sheep to keep them away when they were aggressive about getting food. Not exactly ideal for a petting zoo.

Jaynellen taught her Rangers how to teach visiting children to quietly and respectfully groom the goats and sheep with a soft brush and to do some TTouches on them. Every two weeks for the past four years the Goat Rangers have been handling the goats and sheep in this way.

I just could not get over how gentle and relaxed the animals are. Normally one has to be careful around goats with horns because they can make abrupt moves with their heads and hurt you unintentionally. These goats are so quiet and careful with their heads and will lie still for ages to be groomed gently and TTouched. This gives visiting children and their parents a new way to be around animals with gentleness and respect.

Jaynellen and Avril Keimey, one of the first Goat Rangers, commented that the behavior of the goats and sheep changed dramatically with the use of TTouch and brushing. Avril had this to say about the program: "I used to go to the Zoo when I was younger, and I was one of those kids who was afraid to go into the petting zoo because there were goats jumping on people. About four years ago, I became a Goat Ranger, and started doing TTouch on the goats and sheep, and showing little kids how to pet them nicely. In the time I've been a Goat Ranger, I have seen a huge improvement in the animals' behavior. They approach people instead of running away. I now see very few kids who are afraid to go up to the goats."

Later in the day, Roland and I were shown video footage of the Goat Rangers teaching visiting kids of all ages, including parents, how to gently brush and TTouch the goats and sheep. It is fascinating and inspiring to watch kids enter the area with rambunctious behavior, and within five minutes be relating quietly to the animals. It's totally intriguing to listen to these young Goat Rangers demonstrate and explain exactly how to gently brush the goats. On the video you see goats lying perfectly still, often with eyes half closed, or sometimes lying flat on their sides, enjoying every minute of the interaction. These Rangers are awesome Animal Ambassadors and articulate, patient teachers.

Gail Ellis, School Programs Manager, The Oakland Zoo, said: "There has been an obvious and dramatic change in the behavior and temperament of both the animals and the youth involved. It has been amazing to see."

The "Goat Rangers" are volunteer kids between the ages of 12 to 17. The youth have to commit to six months of volunteer work to be accepted in the program and Jaynellen puts them through a rigorous interviewing process before they are accepted.

NOTE: TTEAM is an acronym of "Tellington TTouch Equine Awareness Method." Since this article was written, Linda decided to use a brand name for all the facets of the TTouch organization. Currently, that is Tellington TTouch® Training.

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