Linda Tellington Jones, the founder of Tellington TTouch, has a long history of involvement in Dressage. She studied Classical Dressage, was a founding member of the California Dressage Society, she has had the honor of riding Grand Prix horses throughout the world, has worked with numerous world class riders and their horses, including Ingrid Klimke, and has offered seminars at the Spanish Riding School at the private stable of Arthur Kottas. She also worked for years with Reiner Klimke and was featured in a Dressage Today article entitled “Reiner Klimke and Linda Tellington-Jones: Working Magic with Dressage Horses” which you can read in full by clicking on the link.
In her book Dressage with Mind, Body & Soul, she talks about how her TTouch massage techniques help horses to relax and supple their bodies, which causes them to be more comfortable when they are working thereby improving the quality of their performance and lengthening their careers. The Tellington Method also includes groundwork techniques with obstacles that help horses learn hoof-eye coordination, balance, confidence and patience, which carries over to work under saddle, in hand or in the trailer. Finally her system includes a series of “wraps” which calm horses and helps them to gain more awareness of their bodies so that they can move with more engagement from front to back. The following video shows a mare relaxing and improving in her connection from front to back almost immediately with the application of some of the TTouch techniques:
To help people who are schooling their horses in Dressage, Linda outlines in her book TTouches, ground work exercises and wraps that help horses with each step of the Classical Training Scale. She talks in her book about how many horses and riders are currently suffering because they ignore the Classical Training Scale. In her opinion, it is partially because they do not always understand how to apply it in their training, which is why she offers other techniques to help horses gain proficiency in each level before they progress to the next. Finally Linda has added another layer to the foundation of the Training Scale that she calls “Balance”. She defines Balance in her book as “mental, physical, and emotional well being”. She specifically references the quote from Klaus Balkenhol where he says “caring for horses appropriately, providing good training, plenty of love and knowing and understanding the Training Scale… are of utmost importance to your success as a dressage rider.”
My horse Midnight and I have already benefited from the few TTouches and wraps that we learned when Julie Jene’ came from Spokane for a seminar back in July. Since then I have purchased Linda’s book on Dressage and have been going through it in detail to try to find ways to help my horse develop in his skills as well as being a happy and more comfortable partner in our work together. Julie Jene’ will be returning to Selah on October 10th for another workshop that I will definitely be attending. I would like to encourage everyone who is interested in helping their equine partners to perform at their best, while being comfortable and happy in their work, also to attend. Information about the seminar can be found on the calendar page of our website. I hope to see you there!