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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®.

Horse and Human 1984 Mind Mirror Study

Study of TTouch® with Anna Wise
Boulder Institute of Biofeedback, Boulder, Colorado


During this study the Mind Mirror showed activation of all four brain waves in both hemispheres, illustrating how TTouch activates both the logical and intuitive parts of the brain.

News from Linda

(Reprinted from TTEAM Connections Newsletter, February 2003)

If you've done much work with TTEAM and TTouch® 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 TTouch®, 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 the mensch. That means you! In this work there is often experienced a transformation in the people using TTEAM and 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 . TTEAM and TTouch® activate 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.

As you may already know, we have email discussion lists for TTEAM and TTouch certified practitioners that are hosted by Maggie Moyer, Peggy Rouse and Judi Trusky, bless their buttons!! The discussions are often fascinating and educational, and sometimes there is a question directed to me. The following question that arrived over the Internet could be of interest and help to you.

Carol Bryant, a Tellington TTouch Apprentice in Oz (Australia) wrote the following. Stop! I need to know more about the "Mind Circles" you wrote about. What are mind circles? Are the TTouch circles done mentally on animals you are unable to touch and if so, can you tell me a little more about.

Hi Carole, Yes, these are circles done in the mind, directed specifically where you want them. We have some fascinating cases of beneficial effects which are described in my new TTouch book for humans. Until the book is published, just begin by visualizing them. I've used these imaginary Mind Circles in the air a few feet away from a terrified, aggressive tiger while visualizing/imagining that they were being done directly on the tiger's body and I could see a change occur right in front of my eyes. In the case of the snow leopard reported by Dr. Isenbugel in the forward to my Tellington TTouch book, I imagined doing circles on the second snow leopard who was watching me work her sister. The snow leopard I worked on, and the cub mate I visualized working on, recovered overnight from a respiratory disease that the zoo people expected the leopards to die from. You can visualize the circles while in the presence of an animal, or you can imagine you are with an animal that is not in your presence, and have this help. In the memory of Jonathan Livingston Seagull asking why seagulls can fly the answer is: "They think they can." Enjoy the journey!

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.

Background Information

Follow-up to "News from Linda"

The February, 2003 TTEAM newsletter prompted several people to ask me for more information about the Mind Mirror studies. The most common question was asked about the difference between the Mind Mirror measurements of brain waves and standard EEG's. Here are some more details.

In the summers of 1987 and 1988 Linda worked with Anna Wise, founder of the Biofeedback Institute of Boulder, Colorado. After monitoring Linda's brain waves of while working with TTouch and discovering that she was working in the awakened mind state, Anna thought it would be interesting to check out TTouch students to see if they would have these same brainwave states.

Anna had worked with Maxwell Cade in England for 8 years before coming to the United States to continue her work with people using the Mind Mirror to develop insight, healing and creativity.

The following notes are exerts from The Anna Wise Center for Awakened Mind Training website and from her first book, The High Performance Mind: Mastering Brainwaves for Insight, Healing, and Creativity (Tarcher/Putnam, 1996, 271 pages)

There is major difference in EEG machines developed for medical use for diagnosis of brain dysfunction. The use of EEG to understand the pathology of the brain has been very thoroughly explored over the last few decades. The Mind Mirror was developed by Maxwell Cade to study states of consciousness.

"The study of states of consciousness was undertaken by C. Maxwell Cade, a distinguished British psychobiologist and biophysicist and one of the few nonmedical members of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Geoffrey Blundell, an electronics expert in the late 70s. They studied the brainwave states of yogis, swamis, healers, ministers, and masters of many traditions to develop the Mind Mirror series of educational EEGs. The process was interactive – with many revisions to the hardware as Cade and Blundell discovered how to measure brainwave states that correlate to subjective states of mind. What emerged was an "awakened mind" brainwave pattern. Cade continued to find confirmation of this lucid state in the highly evolved minds that he studied, and learned how to help his students develop it. (p. 11)

"The high-performance mind – the awakened mind possesses a potential for using optimum states of consciousness for greater creativity; self-healing; better general health, relaxation, and stress management; solving emotional problems; more productivity in the workplace; understanding and improving relationships; greater self-knowledge; and spiritual development.

This state of mind is clearer, sharper, quicker, and more flexible than ordinary states. Thinking feels fluid rather than rigid. Emotions become more available and understandable, easier to work with and transform. Information flows more easily between the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious levels. Intuition, insight, and empathy increase and become more integrated into normal consciousness. With an awakened mind, it becomes easier to visualize and imagine, and to apply this increased imagination to one's creative processes in many areas." (p. 2)

Anna Wise's Description of the Brain Wave Functions:

"BETA is your normal thinking state, your active external awareness and thought process. Without beta you would not be able to function in the outside world.

ALPHA brainwaves are the brainwaves of relaxed detached awareness, visualization, sensory imagery and light reverie. Alpha is the gateway to meditation and provides a bridge between the conscious and the subconscious mind.

THETA brainwaves are the subconscious mind. Theta is present in dreaming sleep and provides the experience of deep meditation when you meditate. Theta also contains the storehouse of creative inspiration and is where you often have your spiritual connection. Theta provides the peak in the peak experience.

DELTA brainwaves are your unconscious mind, the sleep state, but when present in combination with other waves in a waking state, Delta acts as a form of radar – seeking out information – reaching out to understand on the deepest unconscious level things that we can't understand through thought process. Delta provides intuition, empathetic attunement, and instinctual insight."

"Someone in the Awakened Mind brainwave state (specific activation of beta, alpha, theta and delta in both hemispheres) has access to the unconscious empathy, intuition, and radar of the delta waves, the subconscious creative storehouse, inspiration and spiritual connection of the theta waves, the bridging capacity, lucidity and vividness of imagery, and relaxed detached awareness of the alpha waves, and the ability to consciously process thoughts in beta – all at the same time!"

"The work I have done with interspecies communication and brainwaves involves horses and their riders or trainers. I fell into this work by accident when I met Linda Tellington-Jones. The first time she came to me for a brainwave profile I monitored her while working on people. In this state she produced a form of awakened mind brainwave pattern that was heavily weighted with theta brainwaves.

"I was interested to know if her students had a similar pattern, so we set up a test during one of her workshops at a Colorado ranch. I observed that all of the students who had studied TTouch over a period of time tended to have strong theta and delta brainwaves in a normal resting waking state. Six out of the eleven people I measured had near awakened mind patterns in the left hemisphere, and one person had an awakened mind as coherent as Tellington-Jones'."

Our next step was obviously to attempt to monitor horses' brainwaves and then to see if we could observe any effect from TTouch. We fond that the basic resting state of the horses was primarily theta and delta with occasional flares of alpha. When TTouch was administered we got an activation of all four categories of brainwaves on the horses. We say that alpha especially was consistently activated during TTouch, as well as some beta.

I simultaneously monitored the brainwaves of Tellington-Jones and a horse she was working on, and found a high level of entrainment occurring between the horse and the trainer.

Perhaps the most startling experience that we had took place while working with a two-year-old thoroughbred mare that the owner thought was crazy. Initially, this horse had scattered brainwaves and out-of-control, high-amplitude flares. She had exceedingly strong theta and delta and not as much alpha and beta as we thought there should be, according to the other horses' brainwaves. Tellington-Jones then spent some time doing TTouch on her.

Afterward I was standing in front of a group of people talking about our discoveries and discussing this particular horse's difficulties. I explained that this horse could produce only theta and delta and was unable to produce alpha – whereupon the horse immediately produced strong alpha. When everyone laughed, I said, "O.K., but she can't produce beta." When she immediately produced beta, no one laughed, because our mouths were all open! Time prevented us from experimenting further with this particular horse. I still wonder what would have happened if I had said "O.K., but she still can't produce an awakened mind." (p. 213)

These studies on multiple horses on two separate occasions were fascinating from the point of view of considering that horses demonstrated an activation of beta – indicating logical thinking in the mind's of humans.

However, the brainwave studies done on TTouch students were even more interesting to me than the results shown with horses.

The Mind Mirror showed a consistent activation of all four brain waves in both hemispheres of the people doing TTouch and those being TTouched. It is my belief that this explains the reports from people TTouching their horses, dogs, cats, other animals as well as two-leggeds, that they feel more alive, more balanced emotionally as well as physically, more focused, happier. This has been true for both children and adults. So that the time adults spend TTouching their animals is as much benefit to them as to their animals – in addition to the wonderful bonding and opening of the heart that occurs.

It has been demonstrated that activation of both hemispheres of the brain– to include both logical thinking and intuitive knowing– is important for "Whole Brain Learning". TTouch® can be a powerful tool for this enhancement and at the same time healing for the body, mind and soul.

Anna and I have been in discussion regarding further studies and hope to get together later this year. My vision is to measure the brain waves of children TTouching their companion animals. I believe this would be a powerful tool for Whole Brain Learning and "High TTouch" in this age of "High Tech". With TTouch children can learn "compassionate empowerment" and a sense of kindness that is sorely needed in our modern world.

Aloha, LTJ

 

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® Training.

Events

Interactive & Online Solutions for Dogs with Travelling Issues

If you have a dog who loves a ride in the car, you may take this simple joy for granted.  For many dogs, however, traveling, and riding in the car specifically, can be a source or physical discomfort and mental anxiety.

Dog guardians who have an animal that struggles with car rides know how difficult and worrisome this issue can be.

Join us in January 2023
Join Tellington TTouch Method Instructor, Author, and Animal Behaviourist, Toni Shelbourne to learn an effective and positive approach to working with dogs who experience anxiety or distress around travelling in the car.

Enjoy the logical and linear educational format of online content, combined with the supportive and adaptive format of small group, interactivesessions held on the Zoom platform. Over two sessions, Toni will guide you through the why’s, how’s and possible solutions for helping your dogs find traveling in the car, a touch easier.

Register and gain access to a clearly laid out and detailed online course covering the material you would learn in a two day hands on intensive workshop.  This course can be done at YOUR OWN PACE, before the live sessions, and is available to you for continued review.

Live interactive sessions begin on Monday, January 23rd at 6pm to 8pm  (UK Time) with a follow up session for questions and feedback on February 6th.

Toni will help coach you through specific concerns you may have and give you the tools to enhance your dog’s well being all from the comfort of home, with your animal at ease, in a small, intimate group setting.

This course will count for 4 credits as an elective towards the Tellington TTouch Practitioner certification program for dogs.  It is also suitable for dog trainers, shelter staff, and guardians who want to help their dogs develop confidence, coping skills, and  emotional well-being.

Interactive & Online Tellington TTouch®

Applied TTouch with Toni Shelbourne

If you have a dog who loves a ride in the car, you may take this simple joy for granted.  For many dogs, however, traveling, and riding in the car specifically, can be a source or physical discomfort and mental anxiety.

Dog guardians who have an animal that struggles with car rides know how difficult and worrisome this issue can be.

Join Tellington TTouch Method Instructor, Author, and Animal Behaviourist, Toni Shelbourne to learn an effective and positive approach to working with dogs who experience anxiety or distress around travelling in the car.

Enjoy the logical and linear educational format of online content, combined with the supportive and adaptive format of small group, interactive sessions held on the Zoom platform. Over two sessions, Toni will guide you through the why’s, how’s and possible solutions for helping your dogs find traveling in the car, a touch easier.

Register and gain access to a clearly laid out and detailed online course covering the material you would learn in a two day hands on intensive workshop.  This course can be done at YOUR OWN PACE, before the live sessions, and is available to you for continued review.

Live interactive sessions begin on Sunday, July 2nd at 6pm to 8pm  (GMT) with a follow up session for questions and feedback on July 16th.

Toni will help coach you through specific concerns you may have and give you the tools to enhance your dog’s well being all from the comfort of home, with your animal at ease, in a small, intimate group setting.

This course will count for 4 credits as an elective towards the Tellington TTouch Practitioner certification program for dogs.  It is also suitable for dog trainers, shelter staff, and guardians who want to help their dogs develop confidence, coping skills, and  emotional well-being.

visit this website for more info

Our Method for > Dogs > Success Stories

Thank You!

Dear Linda, "thank you for your wonderful book that has helped me and moved me a lot. And of course, it did help our dog, who was very ill and died finally.

"During his illness, Iwan our dog, was coughing very badly. The animal doctor said that he could not help him. A girlfriend told me about your book and the TTouch® Method. I immediately started reading and practicing what I was reading. I began to TTouch®Iwan. From the beginning, I learned something very important: How far away I was from understanding his needs and problems. I had thought that I was sensible enough to know and to feel what was going on with him. But I was not really. I lost a kind of a silliness and proudness. I saw, I know nothing and that I created suffering, because I did not really understand the animal nature.

"I love animals and understand them to some extent, because from childhood on I was sitting silently for hours with cows, horses, sheep and dogs, being with them, trying to get in touch with them. From time to time in my life I felt a great longing to speak with animals, but I did not really know why this longing was so extremely strong. I felt a kind of separation between me and the animal creation, which hurt me.

"But I did not know what to do, accepted these feelings and forgot them again. But they woke up the time when our family's dog died slowly. I tried to help him as good as I could with the TTouch, and speaking with him. I began to realize many things that I had not been I aware of, for example the stress and the fear in his body and his loneliness. I saw the separation between me and my family members and Iwan. As I TTouched his body, I realized a connection that I never had been aware of. I felt a freedom of letting go of the artificial separation between me and the animal. And I saw how much I had contributed to the suffering of my dog, without wanting and knowing, only because of my ignorance.

"Iwan released a lot of stress from of his body, but he died finally, he was 13 years old and his heart and his lungs were full of water. Now I see, that we can prevent a lot of suffering and I am thankful that you open the eyes of lots of people to see, to touch, to learn to communicate and to cooperate. The TTouch® helped me to see clearer what I do and it helped my animal to release fear and stress. I wish I had known it earlier so that I could have tried to make the going of lwan easier. To use the time we still had together, to learn from him, what I had not learned before.

"At the end of my letter excuse the many mistakes in it, but writing in English is a bit difficult for me.

"The essence of my saying is THANK YOU!!! That is most important"     MARIA ANNA HAUSHOFER Alte Muhle A-635i Scheffau

Rehabilitation

"What a difference TTouch® and specifically one of your practitioners, Kathy Kawalec, has made in my dog's life. My dog is a rescued four year-old male Rottweiler who I am trying to rehabilitate a partially torn ACL in his left rear knee. I am trying to avoid surgery at all cost. Kathy showed me a very "beginning" TTouch® technique and also how/why to use a body wrap. Within only a few days this dog had shown major improvement.

"I have to thank all the teachers of these practitioners, such as Kathy. After seeing the benefits already in my own dog, I hope in the future to perhaps register for a certification program."
–  Teri Brown   Mokena, IL

Our Method for > Horses > Attend a workshop > Read More

The Touch That Teaches

In the 1980s, Equus Magazine dubbed Tellington TTouch® Training "The Touch That Teaches" and said participants will learn how to see and embrace their horse as an individual and through observation, patience and TTouch®, find the best ways to assist it in its training.

The second T in TTouch stands for "Trust" and building trust is what we aim for since it is the foundation on which everything else rests. With trust, horses learn to achieve enhanced levels of physical, mental and emotional balance.

Who Should Attend?

  • Professionals of every level and from all disciplines, as well as amateurs, can benefit from learning a training philosophy and methodology devoted to working with horses using empathy instead of force - down to the cellular level. Linda's approach focuses on working with horses' minds and intelligence as much as with their body. The same is true of her work with riders.

Why Should You Attend?

  • To improve your horse's rideability and performance without stress using holistic and humane groundwork, bodywork and ridden work from the Tellington Method and Tellington TTouch® Training.
  • To create a long term training program that will help you develop a horse that is confident, willing, mentally and physically healthy, and capable of meeting your training goals regardless of discipline.
  • To enhance, repair or deepen your relationship with your horse through the Tellington twin philosophies of "Change Your Mind & You Can Change Your Horse" and "Change the Posture and Change the Behavior."

What Will You Learn?

  • Participants will learn how to identify, soothe and resolve discomfort in horses' bodies using TTouch. With the Tellington special ground exercises called the Playground for Higher Learning, they will learn how to help horses develop better patience, balance and suppleness as well as increase their confidence and self-reliance. They will find out why, when and how to enhance their horse's performance under saddle with the Promise Wrap, Liberty Ring, Balance Rein and Lindell, and why, when and how to ride bridleless and more.
  • On day one, participating horses and riders will be assessed under saddle to determine which of the TTouches, the Playground for Higher Learning exercises and Tellington riding equipment can be helpful.
  • Over the next two days Linda will teach specific TTouches and Tellington techniques appropriate to each horse's situation.
  • Participants will be broken into small groups and will practice with the horses under Linda's close supervision and with the help of her experienced team of instructors.
  • Participants will also experience TTouch and the Promise Wraps for themselves. Linda will share the importance of heart coherence and breath work in achieving internal balance and a closer partnership with horses in and out of the saddle.

What Will You Take Away?

Susan Gibson, publisher of Trail Blazer Magazine, reported that she left Linda's training with the "ability to see her horse with new eyes." Cristiane Pravaz from Quebec wrote after attending the Tellington Training in Hawaii; "I tried the Balance Rein with Comrade today for the first time, and I received my first half walk and a lighter trot than ever before, and when we were finished with the session, Comrade moved his head near mine and with his lips, he touched my nose and just turned like you would do to somebody to let her know that you like her and the way she rode this afternoon!!!"

Our hope and the purpose of this training is that participants will take home a different awareness of themselves and new ways to assist their horses.

 

 

Our Method for > TTouch-for-You > Success Stories

TTouch® During a Coma

"My name is Josee Beaumont from Canada. I’m a coach for equitation. I have my small riding school located in Waterloo, Quebec. I went to my first clinic of Tellington TTouch® Method about ten years ago. I have used your method not only on horses, but on dogs and kids.

"On July 18, my husband had an aneurysm to the brain and he is only 27 years old. He went in a very deep coma G/6 and he had a hemorrhage S/5. I realized three days later that my husband would be in the coma for a long time. I started all the articulation rotations on his body AND did TTouch® on him. Two weeks after he started doing little kicks while I was doing this. At the end of a month he came out of the coma. On the 18th of August (my birthday) the doctor (Neuro Surgeon) told me he could never walk again. He saw on the scan that the bottom of the brain was very damaged. Yesterday in physiotherapy, he started walking without parallel bars, but with the help of me and his physio holding his hands. The personnel of the re-adaptation center are very surprised with the results.

"My teachers at school always told us the difference between a human and animals was intelligence, but personally I always asked myself who was more intelligent. That is why I decided to treat my husband like an animal. Thank you very much for your work and for taking time to read my letter."

   - Josee Beaumont in Quebec

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

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

 

 

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Balance Rein - Braided

Balance Rein - Braided

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

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Balance Rein - Woven

Good for horses who are above the bit, behind the vertical or strung-out. New lower price!

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Lindell Bitless Bridle - Leather Nose

One of the most important pieces of equipment you'll ever own.

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Touching Our Animal's Souls Audio CD

Touching Our Animal's Souls Audio CD

Linda's interview on the New Dimensions World Broadcasting Network.
$12.00

Worldwide > Animal Ambassadors International

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.

1993 Animal Ambassadors International in Syria

TTEAM News International Summer, 1993 Vol 13 No 2 Pp. 1-3

What on earth were we doing in Syria in April?

Off on another Animal Ambassador journey: weaving the webs of friendship between lovers of animals. Some of you will remember that before the Iron Curtain fell, I was teaching and building bridges-of-understanding between horseman and horsewomen, working with veterinarians, zoo personnel, Olympic riders, and a very special group called the Club Healthy Family.

In 1984, upon the culmination of my first trip to Moscow, the birth of the phase ANIMAL AMBASSADORS, in recognition of the unique role animals were playing in opening so many impenetrable doors inside the then Soviet Union.

Then in 1985, the birth of the Animal Ambassador concept of taking an "inner journey" to find an animal as a personal teacher. In Gorky Park, that spring, I led a group of 165 Russians, ages five to about sixty-five, on an "inner journey" to find the animal who would be their inner teacher, using the Native American model of an animal's totem as protector. My friend, Andre Orlov, translated into Russian for me. It was Andre who added the unique idea that we, in turn, must reverse the role and become "protectors of the animals". We must become their "totems."

Now, that same concept leads me into the Middle East, looking for way, to bridge the cultural gaps in that ancient area of the world, which is currently the "hot spot".

In February, at the suggestion of my friend Joan Ocean, Carol Bentley and I journeyed to Israel to join an international conference: "Prayers for Peace in the Middle East". (Some of you may have read Joan's inspiring book describing her work with dolphins.) We spent several days with my Russian friend, Alya Gurevitch, founder of the Club Healthy Family, now immigrated to Israel to work with Israeli and Arab children.

After spending time in Israeli, we decided that we also needed to meet with the Arab peoples. Having been informed it would take days to get a visa to Egypt, and having been warned travel was somewhat dangerous, a lovely woman attending the conference informed us we could simply fly to Egypt and get a visa at the Cairo airport. Sure enough, we disembarked after a one hour comfortable flight from Tel Aviv, and spent a magical three days in Cairo which, in terms of richness, could have been three months. I was completely unprepared for the welcome, for the hospitality, the friendliness we encountered.

One of the most striking impressions in Cairo was the inordinate number of animals throughout the city. Donkeys, horses, camels and buffalo make up a surprising percent of the population. Most of the horse we saw looked to be in reasonable health, although the image of a 900 pound horse straining with every ounce of his energy to pull a wagon brutally overloaded with metal rods remains fixed in my head. Thanks to Princess Alia el Hussein's influence, the condition of the horses at the pyramids has apparently been considerably upgraded. Princess Alia's Egyptian mother also supports the remarkable Brooks Animal Hospital in Cairo. Injured, exhausted and worn out animals from the streets of Cairo are brought to this hospital: there is no charge for care, and the sympathetic veterinarians sometimes take in animals just for rest. They often buy donkeys or horses who are no longer in condition to continue, and need to be put down out of kindness. They are kept in special "yard" or paddock, where they are fed and loved for a few days before they are sent on to the "pastures in the sky".

Flying out of Cairo, I wondered why this magic carpet trip?

What was I really doing there? I pulled my trusty Macintosh Power Book out of its case at my feet, while forming in my mind the image of a circle of animals which I refer to as "The Animal Council". The screen lit up with this suggestion: I should plan an Animal Ambassador Celebration in honor of the role of which horses, camels and donkeys play in the Middle East with the aim of unifying Arabs and Jews beyond, and outside of politics. I simply began to write about the next steps in the Middle East.

At first, I was shocked by the seemingly impossible idealism of such a task. However, before my first trip to Moscow nine years ago, I was assured that I would never be able to meet the Russian populace, and would have to be content with only reaching government officials. Nevertheless, in complete trust, I decided to simply begin to take small steps: see where the path would lead, and let the animal ambassadors open the doors.

Because of the remarkable synchronicity which so often occurs in my life, sharing some of the steps with you is fun, and I think this synchronicity has a tendency to happen even more frequently when it is acknowledge and appreciate.

Christine Jurzykowski, founder of Fossil Rim Wild Life Center, and a dear friend, is on our Animal Ambassador Board of Directors. Whilst at Fossil Rim in February, working with two of their young and very wild cheetahs, I mentioned to Christine that I intended to go to Jordan and Syria and, hopefully back to Israel in April. So would she like to come? Christine was to speak at a conference in Denmark the day before my scheduled departure from Frankfurt, so it seemed natural to have her join me.

The next pieces of the puzzle were held by Gabriella Boiselle, one of Europe's very best photographers, known for her exquisite portrayals with a very special "feel" - a view which no other horse photographer has managed to capture. During Equitana, Gabriella asked me what I was doing. I told her I was hoping to visit Jordan over Easter, but all the seats were booked due to the holidays. She said, "Don't worry. Princess Alia El Hussein is a friend of mine and would be fascinated by your work. I'll call her".

Two days later, Gabrielle had managed to get the seats on Royal Jordanian Airlines, organized the trip to Jordan and Syria for us; and had contacted a Syrian friend, Basil Jadaan, whom she had met at a WAHO horse show in Cairo.

Basil Jordan was one of the kindest, most hospitable gentleman I have had the pleasure of encountering in a longtime. He is establishing a troupe of pure Arabs which, approved by WAHO (World Arabian Horse Organization), and they are beautifully maintained. He hosted us on the first afternoon, seated in a Bedouin tent on cushions laid upon carpets on the ground, with glasses of hot, sweet tea and the traditional welcoming sips of very black, Arab coffee served, thank goodness, in tiny cups. The horses were paraded one by one in front of the tent, where Gabrielle photographed from all angles; she also got some photos of me working.

Our second day there, Basil's friend loaded up four horses and trucked them out of the city into the desert where we galloped and whirled for Gabrielle's cameras. She is the most entertaining photographer and personality imaginable; a live wire, with beautiful blond often wild hair which charms every man who comes within 20 feet of her. We all had a marvelous time working with her.

We drove from Damascus to Amman, Jordan, crossing the border in the record time of one hour, to keep our first appointment with Princess Alia. Princess Alia is a warm, lovely, intelligent woman.

She was most interested in the TTEAM work. She greatly honored us with a Bedouin meal in a beautiful tent set out in spring-green barley fields near the royal racetrack. Horse after horse was paraded before us prior to sitting down to a traditional meal of boiled lamb on a bed of rice, eaten with the hands. It is a rare occasion to be treated to this ancient way of eating.

We had a long discussion about TTEAM work and some of the horses which I was to work on the following day. We were awakened bright and early by the 5 a.m. call to morning prayers which resonates over the hills of Amman, and we arrived at the Royal Stables in plenty of time to catch the early morning light which Gabriella so loves. I worked with Princess Alia's veterinarian, a young Iraqi woman who was very interested, very kind to the horses, and very intelligent.

Princess Alia has some favorite horses, one of which was a young stallion, a very bad stall walker. And one of the tensest horses I have worked with. He's the first horse whose ears I could not get to in the short time we had; which, to me, is a very good indication of a tense condition in the rest of the body. I left the veterinarian with suggestions for working him, and am invited back to teach a group of veterinarians and horse owners who are gathering for an annual Arabian Horse Show by invitation of King Jussein in September. We're working to see if we can put together a clinic in time to include it with the September show.

In 1969, Went and I organized the first North American Endurance Ride Conference at Badger, California. The Jordanians are interested in endurance riding, so I am working with Catelyn O'Reardon to see if we can get a conference together in time. Catelyn was the executive secretary for the Great American Horse Race from Syracuse, N.Y. to Sacramento, California in 1976, when I was the international coordinator. So, we are going to see what we can arrange in the Middle East with veterinarians and some top, experienced riders from the US and Europe, to join together, rather than competing. Each team of three to be composed of two Arabs from two different countries with an experienced endurance rider from either Europe, or the US.

It's a great Animal Ambassador project which could result in opening many new doors towards understanding and cross-cultural pollination.

LindaTellington-Jones from Fayence, France

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 our organization. Currently, that is Tellington TTouch® Training.

1988 TTEAM Gives Children Opportunities

Further Thoughts and Observations about the Opportunities that TTEAM Offers to School Children

TTEAM News International April, 1988 Vol 8 No 2 Pp. 1-6

When I began offering Animal Ambassadors International® educational programs in the schools, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that TTEAM was great for animals. Robyn's files burst with case histories of horses and other animals from all over the world that have been helped through TTEAM & TTouch. I also knew that many of these case histories had been submitted by people who had relatively little experience with TTEAM before they were called upon to use their skills on behalf of some animal in trouble. But these people were mature adults; often they were professionals in some field involving animals. The subtleties of TTEAM would not escape them.

It was different with children. I was confident that hands-on experience with live animals would provide motivation and self-esteem, and I hoped it would be a bridge to right-brain learning. But I was totally unprepared for what was to happen.

"Andy would carry the cat around upside down by the tail. I didn't like it, but I didn't know what to do about it. Then this week I noticed a big change in his attitude. He's more considerate. I'm very pleased."

This comment from Andy's father at an elementary school "Parents Night," after I had been doing a TTEAM-Animal Ambassadors International® educational program that had already run four days of a week-long unit, was one of the first hints I had that TTEAM for children is a two-way street. The benefits flow both ways. The feeling for animals that can come with actually doing the TTouch on a live animal opens up doors for some children. They begin to think in a new way that is more responsive and more caring. Many children have this natural ability within themselves, and it is wonderful to see it awakened in a child.

The key is that it happens without fuss, without preaching. The child just has a new awareness, an added element that changes the way in which he perceives the world. In some children, that is going to make a difference, as it did for Andy.

The first educational programs that I was invited to do were with children in Special Educations. As I understand it, these are children who are considered educable, but they do not learn up to their potential. Emotional and/or physical problems may be holding them back. They may be hyperactive and disruptive. Some are gifted, artistic and imaginative, but unresponsive to the left-brain learning approach favored in most schools. Some Special Ed children score high in I.Q. tests and some don't; but they are all lumped together bottom percentile and an enormous amount of effort is expended in trying to solve their problems.

If I'd had a choice, I probably would have chosen to work with mainstream classrooms or children in the Gifted and Talented programs in preference to Special Ed. However, as it turned out, that probably would have been a mistake. Each child in Special Ed is there because he or she has some kind of a problem - a problem that is considered solvable or the child wouldn't be there. So, working with 40 kids, you are going to have at least 40 problems to deal with, each one different. What an incredible laboratory for TTEAM.

Following are some examples. They are not pretentious enough to be called "Case histories" because teachers do not readily disclose a child's background unless something happens, and then they tell you as little as possible, i.e.. "He's hyperactive. He probably didn't get his pill today." The names have been changed in these examples, and anything else that might identify a particular child, as in Andy's case above. But everything else is real.

I would like to begin with an experiment in poetry writing that we did in one class. This came the day after we did an Introduction to TTEAM (with stuffed toy animals) and an imaginative journey throughout animal habitats looking for a special animal that each child could choose to befriend and protect.

Animals are now used as part of the treatment protocol in a growing number of programs, according to Carolyn Reuben, health editor of the "L.A. Weekly." She cites animals as therapy for abused children, delinquents, women in prison and the elderly. For example, animals helped abused children to relax and talk about their fears.

The last thing we were thinking about in our poetry writing class was therapy. I had read a program Mann Lowenfels does to teach creativity to gifted children and thought it would adapt well to our animal program. Simplified from Lowenfels' program, its objective was to enhance creative writing skills by giving children a simple. formula to produce a poem.

We began this lesson by asking the children if any of them had tried the TTEAM circles they had learned yesterday on their pets at home. Most of them had, and a lively discussion ensued as the children reported different reactions of their pets to the circles. The teacher then used this springboard to introduce the concept of "Feelings". She wrote several different feelings on the chalkboard: happiness, sadness, etc. Then we thought of colors, places and actions that were happy, sad, etc. You put them all together with your chosen animal and you had a poem.

And what poems did we get -- from these children who don't usually give?

Afraid is
an orange cat
In a pumpkin patch
Alone.

This is from a child who was, right then, the subject of a bitter custody fight "with many tears." Within a couple days her mother, with whom the child wanted to be, would lose the battle.

Another child from a troubled home wrote:

Mad is
a brown gorilla
Who is furious
On a volcano top.

A third child who was feared in his neighborhood because he carried a tremendous chip on his shoulder. Yet this child comes from a wonderfully supportive family. He wrote:

Happiness is
A gray wolf
In a den
With her puppies.

I think it might have been an eye-opener to some of the teachers that this child could write such a "peaceful" poem. He was showing a new side of his character, but he as also telling that his home life is okay.

Obviously the kids were projecting their own feelings into the animals that they wrote about. It was a safe way to tell us something about themselves. That may be very important for this group.

I believe now that a TTEAM & TTouch lesson, followed by a lesson in creative writing, may help children express themselves. If something is bothering them. They may choose to express their loneliness or rage in a poem. Children who bristle at the idea of writing a poem are sometimes more willing to do so if the poem is on behalf of their chosen animal. Of course, they can also write stories for their animal, as they do after Alexandra Kurland's presentations. It is possible that the animals, imagery and art all tap the right-brain mode, making for a learning approach that can release stress as well as enhance creativity.

"Animals can be some of our best teachers," Alexandra Kurland tells her audience of school children. "Every time I do a live-animal program, I find a new reason to agree with the truth of this statement. The Tellington TTouch circles that the children do open the door."

For example, a horse must be a huge animal from the point of view of a child who may never have touched a horse before. My mare, Starlite, is actually on the small side, less than 15 hands. She is 26 years old, which means that she does not move around very much. She is very pretty, with dark glowing eyes set wide apart, and a white snip and star on her kindly face. Furthermore, she just loves having TTEAM done on her. At home she has been known to "wait in line" for her turn while I'm working on another horse.

When I take her to a school, I load a portable corral on one side of my stock trailer. Starlite goes into the other aide and Lad, a dog rides in the back of the pickup. The corral is to keep the children out rather than the horse in. Some children are fearless and eager to make contact with the horse. The corral helps teachers keep them in line by setting a boundary. It also frees Starlite's head while I am working.

The children enter the corral one at a time to work on the horse. I demonstrate a particular touch, such as Raccoon circles on the ears, first getting the horse to lower her head. Then a child is invited to come into the corral and do the same thing. Most of the children love it. Their eyes are shining and they try so hard to do the TTouch exactly right. I am usually at Starlite's neck, with my arm under her neck, and I can feel her response to the children's TTouch. It is fascinating, because she seems to feel some children's hands much more than others. She will lower her head into my arm in utmost bliss. None of the children has ever frightened her or made her unhappy. It is just that some seem to reach her more.

I think a horse is the most wonderful animal teacher. Maybe it's the size that commands respect. Perhaps it in because TTEAM was originally developed for horses. The good thing is that even if a child is a little bit afraid, using the TTEAM & TTouch the child has something definite to do rather than just pet the horse and thereby, a different type of learning situation is set up. Usually the fear soon vanishes and the child is elated, with a real sense of accomplishment. Starlite feels that she knows she has given the child that good feeling. Merely petting the horse would not get the same results.

Of course, I give the bolder children a little more challenging circles than I do the shy ones. And herein lies a tale.

Bobbie was good looking, disruptive and proud. He began my day making obscene circles on his stuffed toy animal; his next move was to beat on the kids next to him. He flatly refused to do anything I asked of him and spent his time trying to make the other kids laugh -- at my expense if he could. I felt that this was not hatred but a challenge. There is a difference. I learned that Bobbie was usually taught one-on-one (that is, by himself with no other children present) and that it was only on the occasion of my visit that it was thought he might join the others. I wanted to say, "thanks a lot."

Usually with a week-long program I try to bring the horse on the first or second day. But a snowstorm delayed the live animal presentation until Thursday. By Wednesday, Bobbie was intolerable. I went to bed that night having visions of him jumping on Starlite's back, hurtling the corral and riding off into the sunset.

Actually, the next day he was pretty good. He hung on the corral with the other kids (they were allowed to stand on the first rail), raising his hand and shouting "Me" whenever someone was chosen to enter the corral. I had not worked the inside of a horse's mouth in demonstrations before, partly because Starlite doesn't like it that much, but today I did. I played the piano on her tongue. I could bear the deafening silence behind me, no "Me! Me! Me!" for this one. I did hear Bobbie say, "I'm not gonna do that!" I drew the suspense out as long as I dared and then called, "Bobbie!"

To his credit, he walked into the corral without a word. I let him suffer a moment longer and then asked him if he would like to do "Tarantula Pulling A Plow" on Starlite's back. He never said a word, and I have never seen a more focused kid. And boy, did that tarantula pull that plow! Starlite's neck sank happily into the crook of my arm.

The next day the teacher's aide who had been working with Bobbie popped out of the room, eyes wide. "He sat still for an hour! He even did his work!

Of course this was just one day in the life of this child. And we don't know quite why he was affected in this way. For some thing permanent to happen, a much more imaginative, ongoing program would have to be tried. Actually, Marie Luise van der Sode has done a six-month residential program in Europe at a Youth Farm for troubled teenage girls. She reported that some of the girls who were unpopular on account of being aggressive became easier to get along with (and more popular) after learning TTEAM. The work with the animals had taught them an alternative way of being.

Very few children have been too frightened to touch the horse and the dog. Of more than 200 children, I think only four or perhaps five hung back. One boy, Cody (the only boy who showed apprehension), conquered his fear and did very nice circles on both Starlite and Lad.

At the end of the week, the children spoke of their chosen animals in front of their classmates and other classes, and were awarded with Animal Ambassador certificates. Cody decided he couldn't do this. Cody was part of a group of mixed Special Ed and Gifted-and-Talented. The purpose of putting these two groups together was to raise the prestige and self-esteem of the slower group, to make it easier for them to leave their classrooms each day for Special Ed. Another purpose was to teach the advanced kids to share and care.

Cody agreed to let one of the advanced children read his speech for him while he stood next to the other child, holding a picture of his animal. So the advanced child practiced two speeches. Just as everyone got up to leave the room, Cody said, "I think I can do my own."

The teacher asked, "What do the rest of you kids think? Do you think Cody can do it?"

One of the advanced children started a cheer, and every child in the room took it up: "Go, Cody, Go!

Cody did give his speech, and he didn't do it too badly. As we left the other classroom, I told him, "You were brave."

He grinned one of those tooth-gaped eight-year-old grins. "Yeah, but I liked it a whole lot better being brave with the horse."

These speeches that the kids gave when they received their AAI Certificates were an exciting part of the program. One parent made the trip down to the school twice for her son's five-minute program. It was great that she was a devoted mother to do that for her son, and it also gives an indication of how much this program meant to the children. Non-readers started asking for more animal books to read. One gifted boy elected to memorize his speech, when he could have read it. Then others wanted to memorize. Another child (in Special Ed) elected to redo her project the week after I left. So there were just lots of indications that we were motivating these children.

I've found that dogs have different reasons to teach than horses. For example, Lad, Starlite's ambassador, treats each child as an individual. He'll offer a paw to one, try to lick another's face (just one lick per child), touch another's hand with his nose (one touch). Eddie, a smart, aggressive boy, was determined to make Lad shake hands with him. Before I could stop him he reached out and pumped Lad's paw. Immediately the magic left. Lad didn't exactly turn into a pumpkin, but he lost confidence for a little bit. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn myself and to explain to the children that one big part of communicating with animals is to watch and listen for the signals they give you. Of course this can be a step toward learning how to communicate more sensitively with people.

Incidentally, when I began these programs, I felt that learning care and consideration for animals could be a step toward learning care and consideration for other people. A psychologist pointed out that such was not always the case. Some people who relate well to animals do not always relate well to human beings. The animal in this type of situation are a social crutch.

Frank was a child like that. He had a brilliant mind, four pets at home, and he knew more about some kinds of wild animals than I did. He did a super job with the horse. He was wonderful with Lad. But his teacher said that be was verbally abusive to other children, with sexual connotations.

We tried to provide Frank with an alternative way of being by encouraging him to share his tremendous fund of knowledge of animals in the classroom. Understandably, the other children weren't really crazy about Frank, but by the end of the week he was providing other children with information about the animals they had chosen, and starting some interesting discussions. So in this way the animals he loves could be a bridge rather than a crutch.

When you do TTEAM it is like dropping a pebble in a pond. There is a saying that the ripples will eventually be felt on the farthest star. Lad was a dog I borrowed from a mountain man who was not known for his kindness to dogs. Since I have been using Lad for TTEAM work this man's natural kindness has surfaced. He just had never seen dogs as feeling, hurting beings before. They were curs to be yelled at and cowed into submissive obedience. Now he talks to them.

TTEAM is fascinating because you don't know what the results will be or how far they will carry. Its therapeutic value would be somewhat different that the proven stress-reduction that comes from petting an animal. My personal feeling is that TTEAM provides an ideal whole-brain learning situation. You have much more active, focused communication than when patting an animal because you are asking a great deal more of the animal. The animal is more focused because it doesn't know exactly what will come next. Some horses in particular become quite fascinated. They are so involved and politely interested in what you are doing sometimes it is almost comical.

But while you and the animal are focused, you are also very much aware of your surroundings. You have to be aware when working with a horse. An element of personal safety in involved and a sense of where you are in space is a necessity. Thoughts and movements become more precise and clear with experience.

Experiments have suggested that babies learn beat when they are relaxed, happy and alert. I see no reason to believe that animals don't learn the same way, and human beings of whatever age. TTEAM helps to promote this state where learning can happen.

New Program

This spring I am offering a follow-up program directed toward the intentional aspect of Animal Ambassadors International®. This program takes 1-2 hours. Children are introduced to the culture of a foreign country. They write letters about themselves and their pets, or stories about a favorite any species, to be shared with children in the other country.

Regards, Ann Finley

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.

1987 The Value of TTouching Stuffed Animals

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

The following article appeared in Bear Tracks - The Journal of the Good Bears of the World. The article is charmingly written and presents a side of Animal Ambassadors International® which recognized animals as our friends and teachers. However the reporter failed to state why the children brought their stuffed animals to class to learn the TTouch on them. Including stuffed animals as a part of teaching the TTouch in the schools recognizes the importance of stuffed-animal-friends for children who don't have animals at home. Just because stuffed animals don't need to be fed doesn't mean they don't have individual personalities.

The idea of having a stuffed animal to demonstrate the TTouch came to me several years ago in Los Angeles when I was asked, at a social gathering, how the TTouch worked. There was no cat or dog in residence, but a lovely soft stuffed polar bear was lying on the couch. I demonstrated a few minutes of circles on him and someone said delightedly, and maybe kiddingly, "look his eyes are softening." Since that day we have had many stuffed animal volunteers. How many of you have teddies and other stuffed animals in your house?

ANIMAL AMBASSADORS
by John Watson

In our last edition, Teddies to the Rescue by Alexandra Kurland was reviewed in the "Bears and Books" section. While it's a charming and beautiful book in and of itself, there is much more than meets the eye here! Author Alexandra Kurland has been using this book, along with her real life teddy Kenyon Bear, in a wonderful program that encourages understanding between people and animals around the world, the Animal Ambassadors International® Program.

Teddies to the Rescue tells the story of Kenyon Bear and his bear friends who live at the Shuttle Hill Herb Shop, (Alexandra notes that the bears and the herb shop are indeed, quite real.) The book, beautifully illustrated by Mark Kenyon, finds the teddies rescuing a fellow bear from a home where he is unloved. During the rescue mission real animals assist the bears in their efforts and friendships are formed.

We all know the importance of animals in our lives. Many of us find friends and teachers in our pets. From our childhood pets, we learn love, loyalty and responsibility. The Animal Ambassadors International Program is an international cultural exchange organization whose primary goal is to celebrate the importance of animals in our lives while encouraging intercultural understanding.

Here's how it works: school children bring their own stuffed toys to meet Kenyon Bear when he and Alexandra Kurland visit classrooms. Alexandra uses the book and the bears to guide the children through the story telling process. Kenyon takes the children to many lands where different animals are met through the children's own imaginations. The children ask each animal if they have any stories, words or songs for them. By the end of the session each child has his/her own special animal friend.

"I end by telling them that their animals would always be with them to tell them stories," says Alexandra. "All they had to do was listen." She adds that there is something the children can then do for their animal friends. "Many of the animals who come to us need our protection. They're having a tough time surviving, and one way we can help them is by learning more about them." She then asks each child to read a book about the animal who came to them.

Kenyon Bear acts as a story collector for the Animal Ambassadors International Program. There are story collectors in other parts of the world. The all collect animal stories. So, Alexandra asks the children to send in the stories that their animal friends have shared with them to Kenyon at the herb shop. Kenyon then sends each child an Animal Ambassadors International® Certificate.

The stories are then sent on to Animal Ambassadors International® headquarters in San Francisco where they are compiled into newsletter form and sent to children participating in similar programs as far away as Australia and the Soviet Union! Stories from the children overseas are sent back to San Francisco to be shared with the American students. Thus, not only are stories and information exchanged, but an international goodwill link is made between children of many countries.

Alexandra adds that the program is not limited to school groups. "Anyone who loves animals can join in the sharing," she says. In fact, wouldn't our own Good Bear Dens be just the perfect type of folks to join in? "Bear Dens could spend a wonderful evening telling animal stories which could then be compiled and sent on the Animal Ambassadors International®," says Alexandra. We couldn't agree more, Alexandra and we'd love to hear from any of our dens or bears-at-large who decide to participate. We would love to have our Good Bear Dens associated with such a worthwhile project.

Reprinted with permission.