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

Winter Newsletter 2012-13

Winter 2012 & 13
Happy Holidays and All the Best in the New Year

A few points about horses and winter:
• Be sure your horses have unlimited access to good water. Tank heaters are good insurance against colic and dehydration. Ensure that the electric cord is well protected.
• A few dollops of molasses helps entice horses to drink. Old endurance trick.
• If you’re not riding horses during the winter have the shoes removed. The horses’ hooves will benefit from being barefoot and contact with the ground and their feet won’t ball up with snow and ice nearly as much as with shoes.
• Horses need salt and minerals in the winter as well. Free choice loose salt/minerals is best.
• Worming after a couple hard frosts at the onset of winter is ideal to augment your year round schedule. A discussion with your vet on performing a fecal sample analysis to get a baseline on your horse’s intestinal condition may also be of long term benefit to proper health of your partner.
• Dentistry is important especially prior to winter as feed needs to be properly masticated (chewed) to be fully utilized especially relating to older horses. In general, horses should have their teeth checked yearly by a qualified vet or accredited dentist.
• 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 but always ensure it is of the highest quality.
• Stallions and gelding develop ‘beans’ that obstruct urination. Learn how to check for this condition. Your vet is a good source of assistance here as some horses might actually have to be sedated to ensure complete and proper cleaning but it is also a procedure that can be “gently” taught to most horses.
• Tuning up your tack makes for a great winter project. Clean your blankets, pads, girths, and tack. Closely inspect possible weak or stress areas of your critical elements- latigo, girth, etc. Both you and your horses will be real happy about this come spring – Note Leather Therapy in recommended products below.
If you do ride in the winter be absolutely sure to give your horses a good warm-up prior to riding. Horses are almost always quite frisky in the cold. My safety system culminates in two exercises we call ballet, first on the ground, then in the saddle. These exercises connect brains and feet and use energy constructively while promoting horse/rider safety. My safety system when properly executed will get the horse and rider in the right frame of mind, both on the same page. If you need to regroup at any time we have a logical place to wind down and start anew. Remember that the act of bending the horse and disengaging the hind quarters gets the horse out of gear and into thinking mode = left brain, precisely where we want them at all times.
I’ve built a career worldwide with this amazing sequence of exercises as detailed in my landmark DVD entitled “Discover the Horse You Never Knew” – coupled with the companion book “Gentle Solutions” which allows one to view the actual process and then read the accompanying section for greater in-depth detail.

As our journeys unfold with horses each of us have amazing epiphanies and reach new plateaus continually. My mentors spoke of this but it took some time and reflexion to really understand. Just think back on where you started with horses and how much you didn’t know that you didn’t know.
When Jim Rea and I conduct week long clinics at White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, AZ, I talk a lot about the tentacles of horsemanship that seem almost endless. That is the good news as there is always so much to learn. The reality is that it can become overwhelming which brings up the four stages to learning anything:
• We begin with Unconscious Incompetence- we’re really pretty green, bad timing, understanding, focus, etc. and have no idea.
• Then we progress to Conscious Incompetence. At least we’re now working on it because we’re understanding the THEORY, the why? And improving kinetically.
• Conscious Competence follows as we get pretty good and continue to work hard being very proactive- a very key word at this level as we refine our TECHNIQUE
• And finally when we’ve mastered most anything, we have reached Unconscious Competence. We are true masters and our TIMING is precise. Most of us drive at this level, able to talk, listen to music, read a map or gps, enjoy the ride, etc. all the while having mastered the art of driving without even thinking about it.

Such a journey. And I’m certain there are things I’m doing today that I will not be doing in ten years as I evolve. And that is the nature of horsemanship, evolving. More Tentacles you ask? Nutrition, foot care, vaccinations, living conditions, travel, training, dental. . . the list goes on and on, each with its own set of tentacles. Such a journey. I’ll end with some sage wisdom imparted to me by a true master horseman, Ray Hunt. I attended one of Ray’s clinics in Driggs, Idaho not long before his life ended. He signed several books for me, “Think”, Ray Hunt. Enjoy your journey.


Over the years I’ve challenged myself to simplify what others have made vague and complicated into some extremely simple principals.

• The bottom of the V is thought
• The top is extreme pressure
• Always beginning at the bottom makes the horse and the relationship

Three T’s
• Theory-If you don’t know why you’re doing something with a horse, you should not be doing it- period. Understand why
• Technique- Learn and perfect the physical part of it, then
• Timing- Get better at it. And it’s all about the release

Four C’s
• Control- Leads to
• Confidence- Which leads to
• Competence And then we really begin to
• Communicate

Too Many E’s
• Evolve, enlighten, engage, enrich, envision, equine, equestrian, elementary, education, enhance, elevate, emphatic, empathize, . . .


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 and I have conducted clinics at White Stallion Ranch for the past five years in the spring and fall. With 130 horses we’re able to find just the right fit for our students. From experienced horsemen and women to novices seeking to gain confidence and improve their horse handling skills, the results are amazing as our students emerge walking tall and quite pleased with themselves exuding heightened confidence. Our mornings are devoted to hands on with horses in the huge arena. Beginning with my safety system we progress through the week to more advanced maneuvers, games, and horse activities. Afternoons can be hot in that dry desert sun, so after lunch and a siesta we discuss the plethora of subjects that surround the equine. Nutrition, living conditions, saddle fitting, pain assessment and treatment, typical horse problems, etc. keep our gang busy until the afternoon cools. Then we move back outside to discuss and demonstrate such topics as problem foot handling, saddle fitting, barefoot trimming, proper trailer loading, and just how to check your horse’s teeth. About then the dinner bell rings and happy hour commences.
Most participate in team penning several times during the week and our breakfast ride on Saturday is topped off with an interpretive ride as the joys of the Sonoran Desert and interesting relationships of flora and fauna are well explained. The cuisine is fabulous and candlelight dinners on the patio, well downright enchanting. After dinner entertainment ranges from interpretive astronomy/star gazing to cowboy poetry and singing around the campfire to a creatures of the desert demonstration as Phil Gonzales enlightens and entertains with hands on to those so inclined to handle snakes, geckos, and one very perky chinchilla!
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?
Jim and I will be conducting our next week-long clinic at White Stallion April 21-28, 2013.

“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

From the Whole Gang at Dances With Horses- Wishing you and yours wonderful holidays and an exceptional New Year!

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

In Spirit,