thinking outside the box

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.

This entry was posted in Learning w/ Play & Curiosity, Linda Tellington-Jones TTEAM, Riding, Training and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to thinking outside the box

  1. This is very interesting. I am keen to try working without a bit, once I identify the best equipment to use.

    I did find that even using a more appropriate bit made a change to Doru’s behaviour. A french link snaffle that won’t poke the bars of the mouth when brought into play is a big step forward over a plain snaffle that will.

    But he goes forward on a loose rein mostly – the big exception being when his head is being pulled away from vegetation that he wants to eat – so bitness ought to be feasible (except maybe in a field of long grass!)

    • There’s a lot of different actions on how these bitless bridles work. A friend at the barn has the Dr. Cook and the rein action is opposite then the traditional bridle. I think this would be too hard for me to mentally get around… so I’m trying to buy a sidepull but finances are not cooperating.

      I know at the TTeam clinic that I rode at, you start a horse unfamiliar with the bitless with both the snaffle and the bitless. Once he is responding to the bitless, remove the bitted bridle.

      I’m really hoping this will make a difference for Big Guy because he pulls and leans heavily on a bridle/bit combo due to years of how he was ridden before me.

    • ahahahahHA! Doru! on the buckle except when snacking! That’s classic. That’s a head and neck you don’t want to wrestle with, either.

  2. This is BRILLIANT~!
    You are becoming my teacher.
    Thank you.

    • Now that I am no longer teaching – naturally – I am having these breakthroughs on how I SHOULD have been teaching….

      I am going to translate these ideas though to my own coaching/riding lessons when I go back to Molly in September. I discussed with her once a week a structured lesson, and the second would be a “play” lesson – I don’t think she quite realizes what I have in mind but it is time to Be Ridiculous.

      On the TTeam equipment I quickly saw why it would work for the horse – the freedom from the rider’s restraining and fear/tension held hands gives the horse what it is seeking. But what I have not seen until recently is the potential this has to break through the riders’ defenses EMOTIONALLY and thus cause a successful change in the habitual methodology of the rider…. hmmmmm

      gives pause for think does it not?

      Definitely check out the connected Being Ridiculous and Two States post. The last I think you will really enjoy.

  3. I would say you have definitely “got it” more than the average Joe when it comes to Linda’s intention with the the tools of TTouch. Freedom is not just for the horse.
    Keep writing about this. I want to learn.

  4. Hang on–here I come! I’m faster at the keyboard than I am with the horse(ideology)!

  5. Pingback: Mental Benefits of Hooping for the Horseperson « Common Sense Rider

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