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The Controversy Over the Lessons We Give Our Horses

 "The blog this week is on a subject that I think will interest everyone. 

Nan Zintsmaster is my business partner and a master trainer in The Resnick Method. Recently we discussed the value of shaping a horse's behavior to work in harmony with us. We discovered that this would create an optimistic horse excited for his lesson, much like the excitement a dog feels when learning to play fetch. A lot of people are concerned that any form of shaping behavior is not good for a horse. In the following article, Nan describes the detail of her experience with her horses in the Waterhole Rituals and the value this brings to the horse's well-being. I hope you enjoy it!" Carolyn

 THE CONTROVERSY OVER LESSONS WE GIVE OUR HORSES

Lately, I have noticed that there has been a lot of controversy in social media feeds about whether it is right or wrong, good or bad, to influence or shape a horse's behavior in any way. I avoid getting involved in political type viewpoints on social...

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The Difference Between Natural Horsemanship and the Resnick Method of Liberty Training®

The other day I was asked, “What is the difference between The Resnick Method and Natural Horsemanship?” Natural Horsemanship uses pressure and release in the performance training of a horse. This training approach is based on making the thing you want your horse to do easy and the thing you do not want him to do more difficult. You persist in asking for what you want the horse to do until it is accomplished. Natural Horsemanship is focused on performance training as well as problem-solving through practical leadership principles.  

The Resnick Method is about relationship building. It develops a partnership and bond at Liberty. It is not focused on performance training your horse. It starts with Liberty training in a free open space rather than a round pen. The surprising result is that by focusing on relationship rather than performance, you wind up with a horse that behaves like a well-trained horse. 

 

 

Another difference between Natural...

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How to Make the Transition from the Ground at Liberty™ to the Saddle, for a Seasoned Rider

This blog is a continuation of last week's blog. I discussed the Waterhole Rituals™ warm-up program's value to enhance the riding and training of your horse under saddle.

The Waterhole Rituals has always been my go-to warm-up program for all forms of riding, whether you are into pleasure, showing, or dressage. It bridges the gap from the ground to the saddle by preparing the horse to be completely focused on wanting to perform. 

The Waterhole Ritual program is my secret to having a horse ready to follow my lead from the saddle. When I first get on, I can feel the horse and I are united. I can feel an energy exchange in my seat, reins, and legs. At that moment, my horse is waiting and anticipating my direction. I then know the connection I had on the ground has transferred to the saddle.

I far prefer the Waterhole Rituals over lunging a horse as a warm-up. Lunging doesn't build the relationship you need to share with a horse under saddle. The Waterhole Rituals focus on...

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Improving Performance Under Saddle Using the Waterhole Rituals™ as a Warm-Up Program

The Waterhole Rituals is a method of Liberty Training™ that I developed many years ago. They became an essential part of my dressage and bridle-less riding program in Sonoma, California.

By practicing The Waterhole Rituals as a warm-up exercise, before getting in the saddle,  you will have a connected horse that sees you as his leader, feels safe in your company, and is willing to do anything you ask!

The purpose of The Waterhole Rituals is often misunderstood. Although it is perfect for those who only want to interact with their horse on the ground, it shouldn't be overlooked that its value goes far beyond that. 

Horses can be inconsistent in their behavior when not fully connected to their rider. They can be connected with you one day and disconnected another, safe to ride one day and the next day not, sometimes too slow and other times too active. They may, at times, be unwilling, or can be unfocused. Warming up your horse with the Waterhole Rituals...

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Using Body Language to Communicate with your Horse at Liberty

I was watching the speaker, Ken Robinson, on Ted Talks, and he made a joke about college professors saying that they feel that the only reason they have bodies is to transport their heads around to wherever their head needs to go and that in no way can they dance. 

From this image, you can imagine that a college professor would not connect with a horse either. By being only in your head, your body language would lack energy. From that image, you can also imagine that a college professor would not know how to vary their body's energy by bringing energy up and down to communicate with a horse. 

Imagine shaking hands with a pilot who would give you a limp handshake. How confident would you feel flying on his or her plane? You would not. 

If you do not bring the right amount of energy to your horse, your horse will not have confidence in you or understand your body language. Like in the limp handshake, greeting your horse by feeding treats, with a lack of energy, will...

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TRICK OR TREAT!

 

Pros and cons of using treats for training your horse

To treat or not to treat, that is the question. Some people love using treats, and others believe it can create horses that are more focused on the reward than on the performance. I am going to shed some light on the pros and cons of using treats. Pros and cons do exist. In short, some horses are better when you don't use treats, but the majority of horses do well with them. Your approach often creates the horse's positive or negative response.

More and more equestrians are using treats in performance training. I use treats for performance training here at Dances with Horses following the Resnick Method. I like to joke that our horses believe that dressage is something to eat rather than a training method. Of course, that is silly. Our horses would quit performing if that were true. The message I want to impart is that a horse can be motivated through treats. So far, it would appear that all in all, treats are a good...

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How to find “The Entry Point of Connection” with your Horse!

 

It is vital to know the right questions to ask yourself how to approach training and communicate with your horse. 

This story offers a formula for getting a favorable response from a horse when you have no idea where to begin. I now call this the Entry Point of Connection.

This formula works in any situation. Whether you want to bond with a horse, to be able to put a halter on a horse, or maybe you want a larger goal like winning the Olympics on a horse, you have trained yourself. Perhaps you want to take the buck out of your horse, take the anger out of him, teach her not to be afraid of a trailer, or teach him not to bite you!

Maybe you wonder how to succeed with the Waterhole Rituals to solve these issues or successfully use any method that has stumped you. Perhaps you want to apply horse training techniques from a book you have read, and you want to make practical use of this evident wisdom, but you do not know where to begin.

The secret to your success with any of...

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How to Eliminate the Danger in Taking Off a Horse's Halter!

I see so many posts on Facebook that are misleading. One time I saw a video of an infant placed into a stall with a stallion and people commented on what a great babysitter he was. Nothing happened, but how many people think that they could trust stallions to take care of an infant after seeing this video? 

My advice is to never take a horse for granted and stay on the lookout for anything that would create a dangerous situation for you or your horse. I remember one time, a stallion was in a cross-tie, and a groom brushed his hind leg. A mare was led past the stallion. To get the mare’s attention, he kicked out, squealed, and accidentally kicked the groom, sending her to the hospital. She was warned that a mare would be passing by, but she continued brushing the back leg of the horse because she trusted the stallion would not hurt her. Any horse can be dangerous in certain situations if we do not follow precautionary practices.

Here's the lesson…

It’s so...

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Liberty Training- What is it, and why does your horse need it?

LIBERTY TRAINING®-What is it, and why does your horse need it? 

Liberty Training ® - A Definition:

Liberty training is designed to bring a horse a sense of freedom and safety without using any tack, including halters or ropes. Working with a horse in this way will increase the horse's desire to interact and will create a deeper bond and a dependable performance under saddle. Liberty Training is designed to develop optimum horsemanship skills and is the foundation for any and all equestrian pursuits. "

It all began at a successful clinic in Palm Springs, for the Palm Springs Arabian Association, where I worked with 20 horses to demonstrate the value of training horses at Liberty. My audience was around 150 people, and each day, it grew larger and larger as people liked what they saw and heard. Word got around!

I first came up with and coined the term 'Liberty Training' © in 1976 *, when I began teaching the method at the training and breeding center I had at the...

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Your Vibration is your Tack!


Instead of using a halter and rope, the tack you use for Liberty Training is vibrational.

 


Let's look at the Waterhole Rituals from the perspective of the leadership we bring to a horse as it relates to the vibrations we are feeling in the moment.

To be a leader that a horse could trust, one needs to feel a sense of well being. This helps with the vibrations you share with a horse. Having the right vibrations changes the result of whether a horse would follow your lead or not. Horses are a good judge of who to follow and who not to. This is why I emphasize vibrational development before focusing on leadership. For a horse to trust in your leadership, a strong bond needs to be present at the moment with plenty of Sharing Territory regularly to keep the bond growing.

When you are nourished from the companionship of Sharing Territory with your horse, they see that you care for their wellbeing, and in those moments, you have an opportunity to lead once the...

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