TTouch in the Dressage Realm: Twenty Years of success with Klaus Balkenhol

 

Linda and Klaus help Gracioso relax at a competition in Stugaart.

Linda and Klaus help Gracioso relax at a competition.


Equitana is very successful once again. Klaus Balkenhol had a marvelous seminar with more than 5000 people Monday evening. His voice and his connection to the horse and rider and to all of us watching with fascination was both inspiring and educational. He mentioned that he is always learning and that he has worked with Jane Savoie and Peter Kreinberg- and with me for many years. I heard much positive feedback about the evening.

Its interesting to consider I have been working with Klaus Balkenhol for more than 20 years, with much success. I really should make a small photo book of Grasioso at the Steinhagen show where he won for the first time.  Gracioso had never been shown because of his tendency to scoot and bolt without seeming cause. Of course Klaus could stop him immediately, but that would blow a test.

LTJGraciosoThe first time I worked with Klaus was for the Kosmos video “TTouch for Dressage Horses”. Klaus Balkenhol was open to seeing if the Tellington Method could overcome the deep fear locked in the body of Gracioso. Klaus said he had spent months quietly in the stall with the horse because he had a phenomenal piaffe and passage and would be an outstanding competitor if the  bolting could be overcome. However, apparently the habit of bolting had not improved enough to trust the horse in a competition.

TTouch

I worked Gracioso first at home and he was so fearful when I lead him out of the stable and into the arena that his head shot up to the height of a giraffe.  I managed to get him into the labyrinth that we had set up in the arena  by luring him with a tub of grain. Once he was in the labyrinth he began to focus on the poles and I could get his attention. I TTouched him in the labyrinth and stroked him all  over with the Wand. Once he was quiet I lead him around the arena taking a little grain from spectators who had gathered  to watch me work. This was preparing him to have an interest in spectators at the show. And of course the chewing overrides the flight reflex.

The first day at the show Gracioso was so panicked when I lead him out of the stable thinking I would TTouch him on the side of the warm up ring, that once again his nose shot straight in the air when he was just 10 feet out of the stable.  I managed to get him back in the barn with a feed tub of grain to get his head down where he could think again. I TTouched him in the stall for two sessions that day. By the morning of the third day the focusing effect of TTouch was apparent. I was able to lead him out of the barn and keep his focus and with what see ed like a miraculous turn-around, he stood quietly on the edge of the warm up ring while two of us TTouched him all over.

Klaus riding Gracioso.

Klaus riding Gracioso.

That afternoon,after just three days and five sessions of TTouch, Klaus rode him and won his class with a very high score and not one moment of panic.  I later went with him to The very important Stuttgart show which was his first indoor with a huge stadium that holds 10,000 people which is very scary. He had a few moments of near panic in the warm-up arena when several teams of ponies pulling buggies entered the area. I was able to bring his head down and work his mouth with his rider, Nadine Cappelman, in the saddle. In less than a minute his eyes softened, his respiration was normal, and the tension left his body.  At one point in the test, during the free walk, a  loud food cart was pushed across the top of the grandstand and we held our breath praying Gracioso would not react. He did not flick an ear and placed fourth in a class of very experienced horses.

Another time when I accompanied Judith and Klaus to Stuttgart, I worked twice daily with Garcon and Klaus won the Grand Prix, The Grand Prix Special and the Kur.  When a company rep tried to interest Klaus in magnetic blankets for his horses he commented, ” I don’t need magnets. I have Linda”.

Enjoying a wonderful session riding at Klaus' beautiful farm.

Enjoying a wonderful session riding at Klaus’ beautiful farm.

 

© 2013, Linda Tellington-Jones. All rights reserved.

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