Frank Bell's Gentle Solutions Revolution | Discover the Horse You Never Knew

Spring Newsletter 2012

I hope this finds you thawing out from winter and enjoying longer and greener days. Horses will begin shedding and not have the best appearance during this transitional time. . . so it goes.

A few points about horses and springtime:

• Be sure your horses continue to have unlimited access to ample water. Tank heaters are good insurance against colic and dehydration
• Remember that one day can be warm, even balmy. . . the next full blown winter yet again. Continue to provide shelter from the elements
• Do your horse’s feet need attention?
• Spring worming and vaccinations are a good idea. This is also a good time to have a thorough dental exam performed on your horse and take corrective action as necessary. Deterioration in health and body condition of older horses can often be traced to improper dental care so they should receive particular attention.
• Horses can handle cold and they can handle wet, but not both at the same time. If you live in such conditions, shelter is important. When it is cold horses need to eat hay to stay warm. Unlimited grass hay is optimum
• Stallions and geldings develop beans that obstruct urination. Learn how to check for this condition
• Tuning up your tack makes for a great winter/spring project. Clean your blankets, pads, girths, and tack. Do a close inspection of worn leather parts and replace if in question. Both you and your horses will be real happy about this come spring

Warm-up in the spring is of utmost importance as horses can be quite frisky especially if not ridden for an extended period. Saddling up and climbing right on is not recommended. My safety system is the focus of my Discover the Horse You Never Knew DVD and Gentle Solutions Book. This logical sequence of exercises puts you in charge and that leadership follows into the saddle as the horse’s energy is used constructively and brains and feet connect. Feel what the horse is telling you on the ground and in the saddle. Are you on the same page? Is your horse well? Are you in a good place to ride and what is your plan? The more time we spend THINKING ahead of riding, the greater our accomplishments.
I had the great fortune of attending one of Ray Hunt’s last clinics in Driggs, Idaho. I asked him to sign several books. He simply wrote- THINK. . . Ray Hunt.


Just back from a couple weeks in New Zealand visiting some horse friends. Bob Gilkinson organized a demonstration for me several years ago that an interesting couple attended. Via email we’ve had almost constant communication about gentling their Trakehner cross herd of now fifteen horses. Cor paid close attention to the techniques used in my Pole Gentling the Wild horse DVD and had made amazing success in bringing along these lovely, though quite sensitive horses along with Gentle Solutions techniques. Touching difficult and unhandled horses from afar with a twelve foot pole is much less threatening than actual hand contact. Using the withers as the settling place, the pole is introduced firmly onto the withers. Most horses need to move around a bit so being in a twenty-four foot square pen allows the handler to not lose contact. The horse usually finds a comfortable corner and stops. . . Then the fiddling begins as my friend John Sharp instructed me many years ago. Working/fiddling the pole gently back and forth and exploring the horse’s body all the while searching for the pleasure spots is the technique. Most horses settle in a few minutes and begin to really enjoy the pole work. Over time and as the trust develops the handler creeps closer up the pole until the hand replaces the pole. If the horse becomes bothered at any time, back to the pole firmly on the withers, allow the horse to settle, and begin anew.
Cor’s calm nature had a strong settling influence and before long some of the quick learners were accepting the halter and enjoying the learning process of yielding to pressure, the basis for all future communication.
Another visit was to Newton Livery and the home of Stephen McGrath and his gang of Clydesdales. After a thrilling wagon ride down the highway along the Buller Gorge, Stephen was eager to get in his second ride on one of his three year olds that he’d sat on the previous day. Available to lend a hand, I helped get the movement started by leading the filly as Stephen applied leg. Before long the two were gliding around the yard completely relaxed, a strong testament to trust and preparation. When the horse is well prepared and understands the basics of yielding from the ground, into the saddle can be a logical progression.


Over the last fifteen years I’ve assembled a team of accredited instructors worldwide. One of the services we provide is remote coaching via email or phone. With a plethora of interesting emails constantly coming my way, I often defer to the team and encourage them to respond to the client as well as all of us so we can learn from each other. With so much talent and experience within the group, it is truly amazing how thorough and enlightening these responses can be.
Recently one of our team was attacked by a horse, though thankfully not too seriously. As a group we supported and encouraged our instructor and also came to some sobering conclusions about some of our client’s memories about their horses. Far too often the whole story isn’t told to the trainer so the aggressive horse’s antics are not expected.
As trainers we are severely handicapped if we don’t know the whole story. We can be vastly more effective when we have the facts, all of them!
We invite your challenges and questions at:


Our video of the month club is a logical introduction to Frank’s Gentle Solutions approach. Beginning with the award winning DVD- Discover the Horse You Never Knew, Frank’s 7 Step Safety System is the logical first step and establishes a solid foundation for the remaining DVD/Book library that arrives conveniently each month for a full year. Absorb and apply the information of each instalment during the month at your own speed. By year’s end you won’t believe your relationship with your horses!


Jim Rea will be conducting a week long clinic at White Stallion Ranch April 15-22. I will miss this week due to an upcoming medical procedure.
These weeks are special as Jim’s knowledge is shared on so many levels of the equine. With 130 horses you will find your soul-mate and progress beyond your expectations.
There does not exist a more well-run family dude ranch. White Stallion Ranch is truly a class act!
Don’t you deserve a week of pure indulgence delving into your passion?

“I brought more back from Jim & Frank’s March clinic than I even realized. It was a life-changing experience in so many ways.” Paula Howe- New Mexico

Remember- The Long Way is the Short Way AND Your Success is our Success,

Safe Riding Always,
From the whole gang at Dances With Horses,

Frank Bell