Communication, not control. It’s a horse-gentling method that’s been working for Anna Twinney for 25 years, and she’s bringing it to Redmond this week.
This week, Twinney, founder of organization Reach Out to Horses, is running a horse gentling clinic at Safe Acres Ranch.
Over the course of seven days, the 10 students will work with young, wild mustang foals only a few months old who were rescued off of the Warm Springs Reservation by the Warm Springs Horse Network.
“A good way to think of it would be that they’ve lost their home,” Twinney said. “They’ve lost their family, their future, perhaps their identity. So here’s a chance for a kind hand to come in, instead of being forceful…we’re bringing in the language of the horse.”
Twinney’s methods are based on mutual trust and communication between a person and a horse, and using body language and emotion as a mode of connection.
“All of our movements say something to these little beings, and through that we’re building the trust, we’re building the respect, but also we’re building that relationship and that connection so they have a smooth start into domestication,” she said.
At the end of the week, the young foals will have learned enough skills to be ready for adoption through the Warm Springs Horse Network.
Vicki Bennett, co-owner of Safe Acres Ranch, has been passionate about Twinney’s methods for the past couple of years. They inspired her to open the rescue ranch in the first place.
“They allow the horse to have a voice,” she said. “It’s teaching me to recognize their behavior. So many behaviors are thought of as ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’, as opposed to they’re scared or confused. If you don’t understand the difference perhaps you’re short-changing them, you’re not giving them the best version of yourself.”
“Anna teaches you to understand an ear movement, a shift in the weight, and it’s wonderful to have the confidence to communicate and understand with just my body, no talking no noises, and they understand it,” Bennett added.
She said Safe Acres definitely wants to host future clinics like this in the future.
Reach Out to Horses has assisted 10,000 horses around the world through their gentling methods.
“I want to get as gentle as I can get,” Twinney said. “I don’t believe we have to be firm, I don’t believe we have to do force, and I don’t think you need to get a result in a way of putting individuals in chutes or roping them, there’s another way. It’s gentle and kind and compassionate, and it’s through a dialogue and a communication. We as human beings can get what we need without forcing it.”
You can find more information on www.reachouttohorses.com.