Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hairy Socks, My TTouch Lesson, & Neuroplasticity

I plopped my feet up onto the ottoman and this is what I saw.  It's that time of year--the animals we love and share our lives with are shedding....and we're wearing it!  

I ordered my funky, dunky sun-blocking mask for Cowboy on Friday.  I think he's going to look like an alien wearing this.  What do you think?  Sure hope it helps him.  

On Friday my TTouch practitioner also came over.  She was very, very happy with the progress I'd made on Cowboy's shoulder doing the circles along that line with my knuckles.  She could only get her finger tips behind it two weeks ago, but Friday she could fit in about half her hand.  

However, he was extremely sensitive around his poll and face, an area where I hadn't worked.  As soon as she started the work there he began the yawning and stretching of his mouth and tongue.  Since his face was so sensitive, she used a make-shift lambskin glove to do the circles.  He liked it so much I went to my local saddle shop, Indiana Harness (a wonderful shop) and salvaged a piece of his scrap to make my own.  

We also did tail work, which Cowboy loves--tail slides, pulls, and pearling--he loves it all.  He backs into me and makes it known, loud and clear, he doesn't want me to stop.

I learned a couple new moves this session--the python lifts over the legs and belly lifts with two fuzzy cinches sewn together, handler on both sides.  The amount of lift for the belly lift is quite small.  In fact, the amount of pressure for almost everything is quite small.  It takes only a little bit to go a lonnnnggg way, especially in sensitive areas.  Your horse will tell  you how much.

I had an eye-opening moment during the belly lifts.  Cowboy had always been unhappy during the cinching process and I'd learned to tune it out.  He'd cast me an evil eye and sometimes, in the early months of owning him eight or nine years ago, acted like he was going to bite me.  I'd chalked that up to bad manners and bad habits and never thought about it much.  It was clear he had a lot of baggage about being cinched even when we were there to do it with the fuzzy cinch and gentle lifts.  It took him a little bit to trust us, but I could really see where he'll benefit from these both mentally and physically.  She showed me a way to do these by myself, too, since I'm usually alone.

We did the python lifts on each other first and, I think, that's the only real good way to learn them. I found a video on you tube with a practitioner teaching this move--you might want to check it out.  It's the very last video at the bottom of this page.  The movement is squeezing your hands together--whole hand, equal pressure--push up, HOLD, let gravity bring it down (still holding same amount of pressure), and release slowly as the skin pushes back out.  Slide hands down, start again.  Slowly.  As you go down the canon, there's less muscle, so use less pressure.  Continue all the way down to the ground.  We sat on a stool for this because it's tough to do it right standing or squatting.

I love learning TTouch because it's something any owner can do themselves.  If you have a desire to learn it, you will.  The live practitioner has been a big, big help, especially since I want to learn it fast.  I feel like I should have been doing this years and years ago and wasted a lot of time.

I scoured You Tube the other night to find videos of TTouch.  I'm starting to feel more confident in myself, too, so I'll show you some of the sessions on my own horses in the coming weeks if my husband will volunteer to video tape.  There are a few tricks I've learned that may make things easier when you do this, and some of the tricks are not being used by the people on the internet I saw in videos.  I didn't include those videos in the list below.

Here's my list and my thoughts on some of it, especially the first interview by Rick Lamb.   Speaking of brain activity, mine was firing away during this interview and I would like to hear your thoughts, too.  There's a lot here.  

What is TTouch?: Interview with Linda Tellington-Jones by Rick Lamb

Comments, ideas and people I found interesting in this interview: [ "Non-habitual movement," stimulating unused neural pathways of the brain, Trusting your intuition, Sir Charles Sherrington, Mirror Neurons, Feldenkrais Method, "Just remember your perfection," The labyrinth for horses, activation of Beta-brainwaves, Ungrounded.]

I'm reading two books right now: The Brain that Changes Itself, and, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain. Last year I read a book called, The Healing Code.  All three have many of Tellington-Jones' concepts.  My husband and I are big, big fans of neuroplasticity, and science is coming around to our side.  I believe TTouch is the equine equivalent of this thinking.  It's very exciting and means so much in EVERY area of our lives--learning languages, music, health, happiness, the ability to change and grow--even into old age.  The body and mind are powerful.

Exploration: A video showing how Tellington-Jones explores to see where a horse's pain lies--mentally and physically.

Basic Circles

Python Lifts: What I learned Friday.  If you want your legs and back to feel better than ever, do these on your husband and teach him to do them on you.  They're as good for humans as horses. My husband loves them.


  1. What I take away from this TTouch process is, ultimately, the absolute power of touch itself. And how when it's done with thought and care, it communicates so much.

  2. I would agree--touch is powerful. Ultimately, I'd like to discover how much touch and movement (another component of the program) have to do with learning when you use that power to calm them.

    A horse is such a reactive animal and can so quickly switch sides of the brain--from thinking and relaxed to panicked and flight--what they learn during the panic/flight moments could be very little compared to what they learn when relaxed.

    It's like a student who comes to school after his parents have fought all night. He's worried about them and unable to concentrate on his work. His stress level is so high, the body begins to shut down what it considers unessential function--memory, immune system...and you see him get sick a lot with colds and apparently unable to learn the simplest tasks.

    A horse can get stressed about lots of things, too--pain, separation from the herd, new locations and anything out of the ordinary.

    Yet, when a horse is calm, there's almost nothing you can't teach him and you get a horse that's very, very happy to partner with you.

  3. Thanks so much for posting these videos. From the first video, what really hit me was the mental connection necessary to do this work and how it also applies to daily life.
    I think when I start working with Rio this year on his ground work, I will apply a lot of the Ttouch and ground exercises Linda teaches- the labyrinth would be great for him. Guess I'll have to get my book back, and maybe another one, but I like that a lot of this is available on You Tube.

  4. How on earth did your socks get so hairy! Mine are shedding buckets of hair too and I'm covered from head to toe but luckily my paddock boots kept the hair off my socks.

    I hope the mask helps even if it looks a little different.

    Watched the videos and found them interesting. I think it's great that you have a practitioner who comes to show you how to do it right. I find that's what works best for me, having someone show me instead of learning from books or videos, although they are helpful too. When we hosted the Reiki clinic I know I couldn't have learned it without seeing it in person. By the way Reiki really helps them relax too, mine love their sessions (when I get around to it, that is).

  5. Shirley--there is a lot available on the web...and if you get a clinic together it's even better. I bet she'd come up your way if you had a group wanting it.

    GHM--I think that's dog hair. The dogs were shedding all over our house and I walked in it. I vacuumed the whole house today--what a mess!

  6. I use the labyrinth regularly, but it was really interesting to hear Linda talk about the beta brain waves, I had no idea and fascinating to hear the use of non habitual movement explained.

  7. Sandra, that's very interesting you use the labyrinth. The bed and breakfast I stay at each week has its own, and I'm going to ask her a little more about it and walk it myself this week. I'm starting to understand the concept now...but need a little more information.

  8. Whew- there's a lot of information in this post. Thank you, I'll be checking in with these videos when I have some more time.

  9. Smaz--there's a lot here to read and watch, but I do think you'll enjoy the videos...especially the first one.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.