Liberty trainer Frederic Pignon and his wife, dressage rider Magali Delgado, authors of the bestselling book GALLOP TO FREEDOM, are sparkling examples of how, as human beings, we can still come to know and understand our horses in a way that allows us to “dance” together without one dance partner becoming diminished in any way. Frederic and Magali are naturally gifted horsemen who have honed their abilities to keenly read their horses and so train them to accomplish great things and perform wondrous acts—all through the act of “play” rather than through the use of pressure.
One technique that Frederic and Magali have come to use in all their dressage and liberty work is the Tellington TTouch—the form of bodywork developed by word-renowned animal behaviorist and horse trainer Linda Tellington-Jones.
“Linda is one of the finest horsewomen we’ve ever met,” say Frederic and Magali. “It’s not often you meet someone like her. A lot of people want to help horses, but Linda has an ability to instinctively read horses, understand them, and determine what they want and need, and teach others to do what she does. Using her TTouches for a few minutes before you begin work with your horse establishes a fundamental connection at the start of your training session. It’s not only spending time, it’s spending good time.
“Most everything we do with our dressage and liberty horses now includes TTouch. We use it every time we have a little problem, if our horses are tense or seem tired. And even when there isn’t a problem, it helps us establish a deep connection with our horses. It is a part of all our work.”
Frederic and Magali are featured in Linda’s new book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL—due out February 1, 2013. Alongside Linda they explore how the idea of “play” can be used in formal dressage training and be an integral part of the development of top performance horses who are sound of mind, healthy in body, and enjoying the sport you pursue together, every step of the way.