The practitioner preferred that I, 1.) Lower the ring to allow the horse's head to come down (they want the head down in the calm, thinking position before starting TTouch), 2.) Switch to a nylon halter (I had to get my box of goodies out to find one), 3.) Use a very light nylon lead, 4.) attach the Zephyr rope (or chain) to the lead and thread it through the halter.
This is such a loaded topic, I'll stop here for today's post and explain.
First, the halter. The user's of TTouch are not big fans of the Natural Horsemanship style of using rope halters. They think they can be misused and lose their effectiveness as "communication" tools. Here is an article that explains it much better than I could. Dangers of Rope Halters.
I have a hard time with this, but I am considering it. Since I switched to all rope halters, about eight years ago, I've had to do much less tugging and pulling around the face. In fact, I don't do any. I always have my horse's behind me on a loose lead, a gentle flip of the rope can move them away if they enter my space. However, for TTouch, I have no problem using the nylon halter and lead, Zephyr style rope threaded through and over the nose. The nylon lead is as a light as a feather, so no weight pulling down on their face, and I agree the nylon halter is gentler when holding or tying a horse.
You have a choice of using a chain or rope threaded through, over the nose, and clipped onto the opposite side of the halter. The practitioner chose the rope (Zephyr style) and, to tell you the truth, it was what I was most comfortable with. I can't see myself using the chain yet even though she assured me, used right, it is a necessary and appropriate communication tool for TTouch. You never tie them in it or yank on it. For now, until I feel comfortable using it, I'm using the rope across the nose. Here is a PDF that explains how to use this system. TTouch Wands and Leads. Note: It's very important the rope or chain come across the nose band, as you see in the picture below, not straight across the nose.
I didn't mention the wand, but they're very useful as extensions of the arm. These are lighter weight than the "carrot stick" types and they say white is easier for horse's to see. They are used during the groundwork and the TTouches. The practitioner used it on the front of Red's legs, chest and neck to help him relax and bring down his head. She said they're especially useful for horse's with high-head carriage to help them relax. As I said above, TTouches are not started until the head comes down below the withers and the horse assumes the "thinking and relaxed" posture.
We didn't tie any of the horses, but we did thread a long lead through the tie-ring so that we could both be behind him to do the tail work and still be holding onto the lead. She mentioned the height of the rings pretty early on, and I defended my choice of heights, but I have been mulling it all over in my head and am open to discussion. It's a lot to digest and only the beginning of the 3.5 hour session.
To be continued....