Note: The information about Linda Tellington Jones methods (TTouch and TTeam) is my opinion and interpretation of materials – numerous books, DVD’s, online YouTube videos, public blog etc…
This post is in no way implies an endorsement by Linda Tellington-Jones of myself, my blog, or videos. I have taken a week-long TTeam training but at this time I am not certified by Linda Tellington-Jones.
Okay, I had an Eureka! moment the other day when I was thinking upon some TTeam experiences I had and some of the TTeam exercises that are part of the method developed over decades by Linda Tellington-Jones…
In some of the TTeam work you have the option to use a Balance Rein (sometimes called a Cordeo), the Liberty Neckring, and/or the Lindell (an adapted sidepull). All of these, in one application or together, removes the hard pulling of the riders’ hands on the reins. It gives the horse a freedom of movement in the head and neck, and aids the horse who is behind the bit, above the bit, or has (not related to health issues) head and neck issues.
I’ve already gone into detail about why riders pull – and why this prevents the horse from going forward properly but let me clarify further: riders pull or tighten due to fear, tension, frustration or other negative, strong emotions or panicked, unconscious reactions – linked to the fear of falling and lack of control.
It can also be a sign too of a poor seat that relies upon the hands for balance (ask a rider to post without reins and you will quickly see if they have been pulling themselves up with their reins – common mistake).
From my experience of teaching riding lessons, these types of riders are firmly entrenched in their physiological need to hold onto the reins. They will also deny quite strongly that they are doing it – and why videotaping is only the first step in these riders learning exactly what they are honestly doing.
When using the TTeam equipment, from the outsiders point of view that has never heard of brideless riding (although now it is so common I am not sure you would get this reaction), this may look ridiculous! You might think – is this a Circus Act? And that is the point! That was my revelation!
Trotting around with only a Liberty Ring can surely put any conventional rider thinking outisde the box. They are no longer in their comfort zone. They are given two states of mind that are opposing:
I cannot do this – I am doing this.
My horses needs a bit – I am riding without a bit.
My horse needs me to pull so I can steer – My horse is moving and changing directions with only my intention.
Now, the horse generally doesn’t need these two states to know it’s possible. Horses live in today (unless they have been traumatized – whole ‘nother story). It’s the RIDER WHO NEEDS TO BREAK FREE of their CONVENTIONS. And this is done by turning their world upside down.
If this truly becomes a change in the fundamental way the rider thinks, in my experience as a rider and instructor, the rider will then start crying or laughing. This change of state triggers a gut emotional reaction that cannot be stopped or suppressed but only realized.