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Starting a Young Horse
just the training for you in wonderful Wyoming!

2009 marks the 20th year the beautiful Arabian horses born on the mountain ranges of the Bitterroot Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming, will spend a week being gentled and TTEAMed. Enthusiastic horse owners come from many parts of the world to learn the steps of the Tellington Method that makes it possible to "educate" rather than "break" young horses under saddle. There is never any bucking or fear or stress in this process.

Starting a Young HorseYou could be one of the hundreds who have assisted with this annual event, some with many years of equestrian experience and others who love horses but have limited hands-on experience.   No matter what your experience, you will have much support and fun of working horses together in groups, teaching them to enjoy Tellington TTouch over every inch of their body, ground drive step-by-step without trauma, and negotiate all the steps of the "Playground for higher learning". For several years now, the mounting and first steps under the rider have been accomplished by Bitterroot wranglers.

Starting a Young HorseInternational Tellington Instructor, Robyn Hood, the sister of Linda Tellington-Jones, will be teaching at Bitterroot again this year. Robyn is the most experienced Tellington TTouch Instructor. She and her husband, Phil Pretty, have over 100 horses on the Canadian Icelandic Horse Farm and Robyn brings to this training decades of teaching people how to start young horses so that the horse enjoys the process as much as the person does. [Read more about Starting Young Horses with Robyn Hood.]

Each year at the ranch she is assisted by her daughter, Mandy Pretty, who attended her first week-long Tellington training when she was four years old, and is featured in Linda's book, Let's Ride. [Read Mandy's article, TTouch on the Range, about Starting a Young Horse at Bitterroot Ranch using the Tellington Method.]

Starting a Young HorseSpending a week on the Bitterroot Ranch is a little like stepping back into the pages of the book, My Friend Flicka. The Wind River rushes past cozy cabins nestled in groves of aspen trees. Hearing horses quietly munching grass outside your window, partaking of delicious meals in the main lodge, sharing horse stories around an evening fire, watching 80 horses come thundering down the mountain each morning into the log corrals will foster memories that will keep you inspired long after your experience.

We hope you'll join the group at Bitterroot Ranch this June 15-20.  

Aloha, Linda

For more information: or call 866-488-6824 or register online
  See a photo gallery from a past training at Bitterroot
  Read more about 20th Annual Starting a Young Horse Training

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TTouch on the Range

by Mandy Pretty
(from October-December 2006 TTEAM Connections)

Starting a Young HorseThe Bitterroot Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming has hosted Linda's Starting a Young Horse clinic for the past 17 years. Over the course of one week participants take several ranch bred Arabians through the steps of quietly and effectively preparing the youngsters to be ridden. The process is safe and uneventful, a stark contrast to Wyoming's traditional technique of "colt breaking".

Spending an entire summer at the Bitterroot, I soon realized that the Tellington Method was easily integrated into everyday horsemanship, even in cowboy country. One of the most practical applications of the work was in teaching horses how to neck rein.

Wranglers often lead rides on less experienced horses that would eventually join the guest string. These horses are ridden in a western training bit with a lariat neck ring while moving from direct to neck reining. Having the flexibility to use the lariat whenever possible on the ride made the transition from direct reining to neck reining very easy for the horses to learn, and practical for the riders.

In addition to its use as a training tool, the Bitterroot uses the work on a more fundamental level, saving a horse's life. The relative isolation of the ranch means that a vet cannot be called out in an immediate emergency, and trailer trips to the vet are almost an hour in length. Whenever a colic case arises, the immediate response is ear work and belly lifts. This has proven extremely effective when catching the early signs of colic, and usually preventing more serious symptoms from developing, and alleviating discomfort.

Mel Fox, ranch owner, described a case of colic while leading a riding tour in Kenya. The horse started to become colicky in the middle of the day out on the ride. With no other options in the middle of the African bush, the group of riders did ear strokes and used a shirt to do belly lifts on the horse for a short period of time. The horse's symptoms stopped and the ride continued.

Starting a Young HorseIn the weeks after the clinic, the 3 and 4 year olds continue their education. It was encouraging to see that the Bitterroot Ranch practiced what it preached. While some of the horses were mounted in the final days of the clinic, most were not, respecting classical principles that does not view horse training as a timed event.

Taking what they had learned in the clinic, wranglers took extra time to get the horses ground driving without a leader at the walk and trot, ensuring that steering and most importantly brakes were in fine working order. Once the horses had mastered ground driving they moved onto carrying weight, learning to quietly stand between bales while a person stood above, leaning over the saddle. This process continued from either side until the horses were comfortable enough to be mounted.

Wearing their bodywraps and Lindells, the horses were mounted with one person leading, with soft lead and wand of course, one person holding the off stirrup, and one brave soul mounting up. Luckily for the wranglers, the use of the Tellington Method ensured that getting on a young horse for the first time at the Bitterroot did not mean rodeo.

Starting a Young HorseThe Bitterroot is a great example of how easily the work can fit into an existing operation, with any discipline. Whether using the bodywork, ground exercises, or tools under saddle, each component can be used successfully and effectively by itself or together as an integrated method. Once the young horses could be safely mounted and ridden at the walk and trot in the arena, they venture to the open spaces of Wyoming. For the first year of training horses are ridden with a snaffle and Lindell combination. This provides an easy transition to the snaffle, as the horses are initially ground driven and lead from the halter.

While riding with two reins can be challenging enough for people, wranglers are also asked to incorporate the Balance Rein or the Lariat neck-ring on the young horses. Using a signal at the base of the neck can help unbalanced young horses learn to shift their weight without pulling on their mouth. This is especially helpful when riding at 7600 feet, in terrain as variable as the horses. Add a Wand to all this and you have some extremely coordinated riding.

Besides starting young ones under saddle, the ranch readily used the Tellington Above: Some 3 and 4 year olds being ridden without a leader for the first time.

For more information:

• or call 866-488-6824 or register online
•  See a photo gallery from a past training at Bitterroot
•  Read more about 20th Annual Starting a Young Horse Training

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Every horse person should know the Tellington Touch!

Dr. Reiner Klimke
Olympic Gold Medal Winner

Linda works with horses through cooperation, not confrontation.

Anne Kursinski
US Olympic Jumping Team

The Tellington Method:
Changing the world
one TTouch at a time.

For Reservations:
Call the TTEAM Office
(866-488-6824) or
Email us or
Register online


Learn more about Starting a Young Horse:
Photo Gallery
20th Annual Training
Article by Robyn Hood
Article by Mandy Pretty


Learn more about Bitterroot Ranch:
Bitterroot website
Training at Bitterroot


For more information about TTEAM and
Tellington TTouch:

If this event is not timely for you or too far away, please visit our Calendar arranged by geographic location.

We hope there is an event that will be just right for you!