“In this age of high tech, we need high TTouch.” Those prophetic words were uttered by Jim Garrision during a trip to Russia when he was the Director of the Esalen Soviet/American Exchange Program many years ago. At the time I was a citizen diplomat opening doors behind the iron curtain working with the Russian equestrian team.
I was reminded of this concept this past week during the 5th annual Virginia Tellington TTouch Training for Horses, organized by Pam Woolley. Pam is a Tellington Practitioner 2 who has frequently escaped the Virginia winters to co-teach with me in Hawaii in the TTouch for You and Your Horse trainings. Pam also collaborates and studies with Wendy Murdock, a brilliant, cutting-edge riding instructor and author whose background includes Tellington TTouch, Feldenkrais and Centered Riding. Wendy specializes in the bio-mechanical interaction of horse and rider.
Pam is combining Tellington TTouch Training with some of Wendy’s High Tech ideas for her riding students, using the EmWave from the Institute of Heart Math, the WiiFit Video Game and an iPhone application called EquiTempo.
The TTouch/high tech combo has priceless benefits for developing trust between horse and rider and reducing stress in the rider. We have been incorporating the FreezeFramer, a form of the EmWave in our TTouch for You Trainings in Germany for several years. The EmWave is a small pocket-size device that is simple and effective and helps the rider to focus, slow down, breath calmly and transition from the daily rat race or a high profile job. It attaches to your ear and emits a clearly audible tone indicating when you’re in heart coherence. It’s silent when the rider is in a state of stress or anxiety.
I suggest you visit the ITunes store online and order the EquiTempo for only $1.99. It’s brilliant! You can set it for any tempo at the walk, trot and canter to accommodate a slow or speedy horse. Both horse and rider respond to the rhythmic beat and horses appear to enjoy the tempo and adjust their stride to the steady tick, tick, tick.
I asked Pam if I could watch her give a lesson using the combination of the EmWave and EquiTempo. It was fascinating to observe the attractive Appaloosa gelding of Kim Ginn adjust his stride to the tick, tock of the EquiTempo on her Iphone. I asked Kim to write me an email about her experience with these high tech aids.
Being in professional services, I am very busy person who is often pulled in many different directions at work depending on the needs of my clients. I love this aspect of my job, however, it brings along stress and distraction which does not carry over well into my equine world.
One of the most amazing talents of a riding instructor is to recognize when his/her students are not breathing….it is so funny to me that so many riders need a reminder from their instructors to breathe…. breathing is such a natural thing for most of us! It is more amazing me to how much this affects the horses….who is to blame them? When riders don’t breathe their bodies get clenched and what horse wants a super clenched human pinching their backs at a trot? I, for one, was not doing a good job of leaving work at work and carry a lot of stress into my riding….and for some reason I could not ask for a trot and breathe all at the same time! Pam has been working with me on breathing and heart coherence (doing heart hugs which I really enjoy) and recently started using the EmWave in our lessons. The EmWave allows me to work on my breathing and get into heart coherence before I ride and monitor my coherence during lessons. My horse, Sunny, really appreciates it too — It is so amazing that once I breathe and my body relaxes that Sunny does as well. How about that? We have been especially successful in using the ear piece and riding with the EmWave in my pocket. I can hear the dings and dongs and know that I am breathing well…..if I don’t hear them then it is a reminder to work on my breathing. Also, this allows me to see how Sunny reacts when we are in and out of coherence. This is a great lesson for all riders to experience.
Visit Pam’s website at FlyAway Stables at Brookhill Farm, a Tellington TTouch Training Certified Equine Center Virginia, to see the exceptionally beautiful, peaceful, historic, Middleburg, Virginia. This is truly horse heaven with many acres of rolling green pastures, one of the prettiest, most elegant, horse-friendly courtyards I have seen anywhere in the world. The lovely wood-lined stalls are 16 by 10 feet, a comfortable size unheard of in this day and age, and, weather permitting, the horses are turned out all day into 5 acre gently rolling grass pastures.
If you happen to live near Middleburg, Virginia check out the facilities for lessons or boarding. Pam has two stalls open for new boarders at this time. And mark your calendar for the 6th annual five-day Virginia Tellington TTouch Training for horses, June 9 to 13, 2010. We are planning a special pre-workshop day June 8th for for a small group of people who have attended three or more week-long trainings. Sign up early at TTouch.com to be sure to reserve a space since the training was full this year.
© 2009 Linda Tellington-Jones