May 29, 2012

The Fig Tree Speaks

The horse world sometimes has a lemming like quality. Every couple of years a new Horsie Guru comes on the scene with a ‘new’ way to do ‘whatever’, and since many people have horses, and many people have problems with their horses, the Gurus can quickly get a bunch of press, which leads to clinics, which leads to followers, which leads to sycophants who may or may not have any idea what the Guru is really talking about and whether the information will help their respective problems, or not.

Sad to say, this lemming like response to the various HGs doesn’t always reflect the actual quality or even sense of whatever each HG is espousing at the time. And I have to admit that the (may I call it?) religious fervor of some of the devotees is so off-putting to me that I am wont to dismiss the work of the HG in question.

Linda Tellington-Jones is an HG that comes to mind.

My first exposure to the Team work was at Smith. There was a woman at the barn, about my age, that had never had horses before. She had (of *course* she had!) bought a virtually unbroke three yr old stallion, some stout fugly cross of some kind or another, that periodically dumped her, squished her, stomped her, and bit her. I’d see her in its stall, very serious, doing weird stuff with her hands as the horse stood there looking bored. She was full of explanations about why he was always trying to kill her.  Uh-huh.

She loaned me Linda’s first book. The photos were goofy, with Linda in bell bottoms and the horses all dorky looking. But I read it, and studied it, and it was very interesting. This was after I had been around Tony Gonzalez and the Proper Balance Movement research, and about when I was hearing about and able to see horses responding to Jack Meagher’s work. It all seemed connected. And the idea that horse’s bodies, their tack, and their ‘training’ were reflected in their personalities and training problems was so obvious, but it was a pretty new concept to a lot of people at the time.

So I started learning about Linda. I bought her videos and watched the ground work. I did not, however, buy a ‘wand’. I used my ‘whip’. Apparantly Tucker did not understand the vast difference in symbolic nomenclature and he was perfectly happy to respond to the ‘whip’ as if it were a ‘wand’. Which it was. Except in Linda Land.

Many of the Centered Riding people I had met at the clinic were also Linda people. I had heard them talking about the Touches and the Playground Learning Centers and the Wand. With most of them there was a direct inverse relationship between their level of experience, the manners of their horses, and their devotion to TTouch and CR principles. But I knew the work was more than they represented, so I went to watch LTJ herself.

I went to Linda Land, and I lived to tell the tale.

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