This month has given me marvelous reconnection with two amazing people who played a big influence in the evolution and super changes of my own life.
From November 1 through November 9 this year, I got to spend a week in Portland, Oregon, with marvelous Linda Tellington-Jones. She has been a mentor of mine for nearly 30 years. The long history of injuries my body sustained over many years left me in a difficult life path by the time I was in my mid-30s. I was afraid that the limitations in this body were going to force me to sell all 5 of my horses and leave horse competition world forever.
Around 1984, I had audited a fascinating 5 day Colt Starting clinic taught by famous cowboy teacher, Ray Hunt, that had been posted by a younger cowboy trainer whose name was Pat Parelli. A few weeks after that, I attended a simple one day ground training session with Pat Parelli. He came to me and my young horse with kind words and complements about our progress with his style of work. However, I could not continue his work because the nerve damage in my upper body caused severe problems as I tried to shake the rope when teaching those types of cues to the horse.
In 1985, I got to read 3 different articles in the famous Equus magazine that were written by Linda herself. This was my exposure to
the TTE AM method, known at that time as ‘Tellington Touch Equine Awareness Method’. As I read those articles, it seemed that her technique did not require any major body movement by the human. I was curious to witness more of this work and joyfully attended a two demo clinic in California that combined two top horse professionals Linda Tellington-Jones and Ray Hunt. I was deeply impressed by this style and kindness and thought -provoking ways that both of these trainers, each in their own ways, had helped horses with various issues come to a different level of understanding and mutual cooperation. Before I would make a commitment to attend TTOUCH workshops, I needed to witness one more weekend demonstration of this unique style of work.
The next known demo weekend with Linda was scheduled several hours from where I lived at that time. My fabulous mother, Bettylou Hutton, solved my travel troubles and drove 2 hours up to my home, laid me on padding in the back of her station wagon, and drove another 3 hours to arrive at the fairgrounds in Ukiah, CA. I knew Linda would do a human bodywork demo before working on the horses in the arena, so when she gave that offer, I stumbled down the steps of the grandstands and somehow ended up under her hands. She found my pain level was so high that she could not touch my body anywhere, only doing TTouch with my hair!! Her most life changing words to me right then were “Until you help yourself, you cannot help your horses”. Linda recommended a Feldenkrais Method professional that she had known when she went through the 4 year education with the creator of Feldenkrais Method himself…Moshe Feldenkrais. I began sessions with Diane Fontaine in Sacramento, CA and a series of little changes and miracles began to happen ! I’ll one day publish a book about my wild wonderful life, but for now, just know this gave me back a life path far greater, physically, mentally and more, just from this single advice from Linda Tellington-Jones.
And if this re connection was not enough, yesterday on Nov. 18, I got to stop by the home of nationally known book author and Centered Riding Instructor, Donna Snyder-Smith, and have a delightful cup of tea while we had a long discussion on many topics. Donna was one of my early certified Centered Riding Instructors back in the beginning of the 1990’s. After I got certified as a CR instructor and worked my way up the levels in both CR and TTouch, by the mid 1990’s, Donna and I began to often teach combined TTouch and Centered Riding clinics for riders in Northern California.
One of her most influential moments in my early CR clinics with her gave me the ability to sit and rise from a toilet safely!! My hip and low back injuries had gotten so bad that sometimes that necessary task would cause enough pain to result in passing out ! When Donna had us all learn new ways to organize our bodies, how to integrate more equally many parts of the body to do the movements, and how to really understand bio mechanics of these bodies that we live in, she asked all of us students (sitting and rising from chairs in the barn area) what effects/results did we notice? My answer to her, in front of all the other folks, was a tear filled smiling sentence…”You’ve just taught me how to sit down and get up off a toilet again, without passing out from pain!” She was a bit surprised at that answer, but I continued my learning from her for years. We became good friends, and now she is on the path of retirement and living a short 30 minutes away from my new location in Southern Oregon!
So November 2013 has me smiling already…even before Thankful Thanksgiving has arrived!!
Wishing you all the very best in everything, this November of 2013…