Have you ever walked your colicky horse, waiting for the vet to arrive, and wished there was something you could do to alleviate his pain and calm him down?
Have you ever been at a horseshow and watched your horse nervously pacing up and down in his new stall, barley eating and drinking and wondered what on earth you could do to help him settle down and relax?
Have you ever wanted to be able to do something to help your horse recover faster after a hard ride or strenuous competition?
Have you ever looked for a way to connect to your horse on a deeper level and gain his trust?
Linda Tellington Jones has developed Tellington TTouch, a wonderful method of communication through touch. The Ear TTouches I describe in this article help in the above mentioned situations and more.
Linda Tellington Jones has worked extensively with thousands of horses around the world. High level sport horses benefit from the TTouches as well as treasured broodmares, endurance and race horses and beloved family horses.
Linda has taught her methods in 30 countries, for example at the Olympic Equestrian Center in Moscow and worked with riders such as Klaus Balkenhol and Nicole Uphoff, greatly improving their horse’s performance.
Many trainers have made Tellington Training part of their daily routine knowing that a relaxed and pain free horse will not only be more happy and willing to work, but also perform better. Tellington TTouch along with the ground exercises we call "Playground for Higher Learning” can help you to make permanent positive changes in your horse’s health and their ability and willingness to learn and work with you.
One of the most useful and effective TTouches you can do for your horse is the “Ear TTouch”.
Knowing how to do Ear TTouches may literally save you horse’s life. It has helped many colicking horses by relieving their pain and activating their digestive system while you are waiting for the vet. Ear TTouches improve circulation, help your horse to relax and are most useful when your horse is in shock or under stress.
Ear TTouches can be beneficial in many other situations as well:
Endurance riders use Ear TTouches to lower their horses pulse and respiration during races.
They can normalize a horse’s temperature, both subnormal and fever.
Breeders have found it very helpful for foaling mares, easing their pain and helping them have smoother deliveries and recover faster. One of our Arabian mares would always come to us and lower her head while she was in labor, offering her ears for us to TTouch, easing her labor pains.
You can use slow ear TTouches to calm you horse down, for example if your horse is nervous before a ride in windy weather.
You can relax a horse with slow ear TTouches when you arrive at a competition or new stable so he will eat and sleep better.
If you do the Ear TTouches faster you can activate a tired horse after a long trail ride or a strenuous day of competition.
Stroking your horse’s ears can also focus a horse so he is willing to listen without dominance; and establish a trusting relationship and bond so the horse enjoys and wants to work with the rider. It is also really helpful for horses who are difficult to bridle and will prepare them for having their ears examined by the vet.
Many veterinarians use and recommend TTouch for emergencies.
Linda Tellington Jones received the following email from Dr. Janet Varhus about the use of Ear TTouch in her veterinary practice. She has attended many TTouch trainings with her horse over the past 20 years and has great expertise using a variety of TTouches.
Janet wrote: “We were able to save colic last night using the ear work, belly lifts, acupuncture and laser! Surgery wasn't an option even though a valuable horse. He was in so much pain when I arrived, despite already having given Banamine. I immediately started ear TTouches. That calmed him enough to get him to stand. I was able to sedate him and examine him. He had no gut sounds and a large distended pelvic flexure. Most horses I see like that don't survive. So I taught the owner and stable help to do the ear work and belly lifts while I did acupuncture and laser. It was about an hour or so and he started passing some gas. By 2 hours he was passing a lot of gas with huge gut sounds!!!
I really feel he would not have survived if it had not been all the hand- on work!!!"
It is such a relief to see them improve that way!!! Janet Varhus DVM, Animal Care Center, Poncha Springs, Colorado.
How can stroking your horse’s ears be so effective?
The ears and the base around them have many acupressure points. The triple heater meridian is located around the base of the ear. By working this acupressure meridian you affect the digestive, pulmonary and reproductive systems. At the tip of the ear is a shock point. Making small circles with your thumb and forefinger will greatly help your horse recover from shock and help him stabilize. It is important to not only work on the shock point! Stroking the ear from the base out and activating the triple heater meridian is crucial for the ear TTouches to be effective.
Here is how you get started:
Stand in front of your horse and stabilize one side of the halter with one hand. Your horse’s head should be lowered. With the other hand gently explore the area around the ear on the opposite side. Move your fingers in tiny one and a quarter circles with light pressure, but enough contact to move the skin. You can practice this on your own arm first. Make a tiny circle and a quarter, taking care to not just slide your finger over the skin, but actually pushing the skin in a circle.
Now slide your hand with the thumb pointing towards the poll from the middle of the poll over the base of the ear all the way to the tip. Bring the ears straight out to the side, or possibly a little forward, while your other hand on the halter stabilizes your horses head and keeps it straight.
Make sure you have good contact over the shock point at the very tip of the ear.
Gently but firmly stroke the ear away from the base to the tip several times.
You can also make tiny connected circles in lines from the base to the tip of the ear. If your horse is comfortable with it, it can be very beneficial to work the inside of the ears. You can start by gently sliding your thumb on the inside during a slide, then taking the edges gently between your thumb and forefinger and making circles all over them.
As you do this make sure you stand comfortably, breathe easily and keep your fingers soft.
Pay close attention to your horse. He will let you know when you are pressing too hard by raising his head and not holding still.
Licking, chewing, and closing his eyes are signs of the horse enjoying the ear work.
Alternate Hands and ears as you are working.
Most horses love ear slides, but there are horses who don’t like their ears touched and are afraid. If that is the case first teach your horse to lower his head and then work towards the ears slowly, making the circles through a washcloth or using the back of your hand to touch. We call using the back of the hand the "Llama TTouch" because it originated from working with Llamas who felt threatened when an open hand reached for their face or ears. They were much more accepting when touched with the back of the hand. This really builds confidence in timid, head or ear shy horses.
It is well worth the effort to get your horse used to having his ears touched, also for vet exams or to bridle and unbridle with ease.
I love to combine the Ear TTouch with Doterra Essential oils!
TTouch affects all beings on a cellular level and so do Essential oils! I have found in my practice that they really complement each other. Essential oils quickly reach the limbic system of the brain, the center for emotions and learning, and facilitate new learning together with TTouch.
For calming I use Lavender,
For any digestive upset a blend called Digest Zen, containing Star Anise, Peppermint, Ginger, Caraway, Coriander,Tarragon and Fennel.
For more energy Peppermint and/or citrus oils like Wild Orange or Lemon
For shock Helichrysum ( may also stop bleeding) or Roman Chamomile
For grounding I use the Doterra balance blend, containing Spruce, Ho Wood, Frankincense, Blue Tansy, Blue Chamomile, and Osmanthus.
Just because horses are big animals doesn't mean they needs more oils...a drop or two is usually enough.
If you want to cover a larger area, or have a small or extra sensitive animal I recommend diluting the oils. All hot oils like oregano need to be heavily diluted for topical use. TTouching the ears and the shock point on the tip of the ear with oils on your hands is very beneficial, but oils are never to be put directly into the ear itself!
Many veterinarians recommend using Aloe Vera gel to dilute Essential oils and you can order the Pharm Aloe I use right on my website and take advantage of my 15% discount.
Not just for horses
Ear TTouch is very beneficial for all animals, like dogs, cats, pigs, sheep and also humans!
With Ear TTouch you can keep a person from passing out and going into shock! This works best when you stand behind the person who is sitting in a chair.
You can also do the Ear TTouch to yourself, stroking the ear in an upward motion between thumb and forefinger and doing small circles with the forefinger and light pressure. Remember to breathe! There are a number of ways of working with a human ear, this is just one of them and its really important that the TTouch feels is comfortable.
This can also help with nausea and motion sickness! I have taught Ear TTouch to students who are using it and several other TTouches before tests to be able to focus better, breathe and feel calm.
Let me know if you have used this TTouch with your horse or another animal and as always feel free to ask questions!