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Feature Story

Recently I was honored to be contacted to work with Jeannie and Lincoln. Here is a little bit about their story and Transformation Through Trust journey.

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Lincoln lived on reserve land in Prince George the first four years of his life. He was rounded up with three others to be sold. Lincoln was the one that was the hardest to halter. He went through 30 days training before he came to his forever home. With her 20 plus years of experience with horses, Jeannie knew they were going to have to sort some things out, as she could see red flags in the videos of the training that were sent. However they followed through with the understanding that he was started and ready to ride.


What followed was some big blow ups that seemed to come out of nowhere. A slight touch of a stirrup or movement of a hand to move away another horse, and he would blow up. Jeannie was injured and it was obvious that they couldn’t ride as it just wasn’t safe.

They did lots of groundwork, worked through a lot of issues and came a long way. But then they ran out of ideas. What to do next? They sensed sending him away for more typical training might in fact undo all of the work and time they had already put in.

Jeannie saw my post and started finding out more about the Trust Technique which is the mindful approach that I use as a certified Trust Technique practitioner. She signed up for my program and could instantly see how this had been the piece she was looking for.

Jeannie already in a place of not wanting to force or bribe. She was following some great trainers, learning how to let her horse regulate more at his own pace. I started to teach her how she could positively influence Lincoln’s thinking levels to a more relaxed state of being. Not just waiting for him to self regulate, but how to create a deep bond and trust by learning to lower her thinking levels and share that feeling of peace of mind with him. When he started to realize that she could help him find peace of mind, the connection and communication developed quickly.

An example of the difference was when she tried to walk him down the driveway. He would see the cows next door, his thinking levels would come up and she would wait until he got through his anxiety. It took her over half an hour to get down the driveway. A couple of weeks later, after practicing the first stages of Trust Technique she was down the driveway with only slight pauses. The difference was that she didn’t have to wait on him to feel less anxious, because she now had a tool to help him lower his anxiety and come back to a more peaceful place. He trusted her that it was OK to feel peaceful.

Jeannie is realizing that by slowing everything down and using focused presence, that it was much easier to see what he was trying to communicate. At one point I banged on a plastic barrel and it didn’t seem to bother him at all. And then he lifted up his back left leg and stomped it down abruptly. Showing his unpeaceful feelings.

She had seen that before, and realized that was a big clue. No sign of being bothered and then big foot stomp. Similar to not being bothered, and then exploding while being ridden. Now noticing the signs of how he was feeling in a situation that was not a big deal from a human’s perspective, but a big deal to Lincoln.

When force is used for training, animals can learn to not show their opinions, or act out more. They don’t react in order to avoid the consequences, or strongly resist.

Then, similar to humans, they stack their feelings one on top of another, until suddenly there is an explosion that seemingly came from out of the blue. When you slow things down and go at the animal’s pace; when you listen and regard, it is easier to see the indications that were previously missed or dismissed.

Imagine how Lincoln must have felt. Four years running free with a herd and in an instant, his whole life changes. Not a few details. Every single thing he knows, understands, is familiar with gone in the blink of an eye. Where he lives, what he eats, who he is with. And suddenly in the human world. Transported, trailered, halters, ropes and saddles… Commands and demands to become a completely different being in a matter of 30 days.

Humans and horses can have a beautiful connection… as a horse and a human. We don’t need to act like a horse or train like a human. There is this language you can create that is somewhere in between. You can create connection, communication, confidence and cooperation. If a being trusts you, they will happily be your partner in a wonderful relationship that benefits both of you.

Within a few weeks the changes in behavior started to add up. Lincoln showed that he felt more relaxed and not reacting to things like he normally would have. Here are some examples of what his progression to a more peaceful feeling state is looking like.

  • He was able to feel peaceful enough to get sleepy and close his eyes while Jeannie had his lead rope on

  • The cat swatted him

  • The dogs are barking and running around his paddock

  • Humans making big movements next to him

  • Humans moving to his off side (He used to move and block)

  • Leading from the off side

  • Lifting his feet

  • Walking over tarp and it being moved about

  • Human tossing gloves in the air next to him

  • Liberty work started and following without pressure or drive

  • First time at an indoor arena and had to go by cows:)

  • Herd of Elk right by paddock

  • Learning to be calm when receiving treat reward

  • Walked down the driveway to the road with ease Stood calmly on grass without lunging for it to try and eat

  • Work going on in the barn and hard rain on tin roof

  • Calmer with mounting block and able to stand still

  • Banging on barrels, tossing things in the air, running around waving arms and yelling

  • Able to be rewarded with treats, without getting pushy 

  • Laying down with humans close by

  • His energy influencing the other horses and they are all joining in being calm as a herd

  • Leaving the herd to come back and find Jeannie after we had done a session together  

When we look back at how many seemingly little things he was reacting to, it became clear that his explosions were not out of the blue.

It has been such a wonderful experience to witness the deep relationship that is developing between Jeannie and Lincoln. The bond is becoming stronger everyday, being developed with kindness and compassion. Trust Technique may not change what you do, but it will change how you are doing it.

Below are examples of how when you slow down you can get results quicker.


When you slow down you are able to notice what your animal is communicating.

We combined being present, action and reward to help Lincoln change his mind about what the mounting block means.

As Jeannie continues, he won't even lift his head. This is a few moments of a session, taking small steps using distance, pace and timing to help support Lincoln to stay in a low thinking place. Putting the Trust Technique foundation into practice to now help shift behaviors.

Jeannie got quite a workout today! Step class and horse training all in one. Pausing to help him lower his thinking rather than not noticing, ignoring or making him just do it anyway. And giving him time to process and release. Letting him assimilate what we have just done and release the stress of previous situations in his old life where his opinion didn't matter.

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