Have you ever gone out to train your horse something new, and nothing seemed to go right? One of the things that can go wrong when training a horse is that once you have gained a horse’s trust, the trust is taken for granted. When you start focusing on performance training, you can lose harmony and trust by focusing on the horse’s performance. “Trainer’s mind” takes over by pushing for results. When this happens, the “equis-tact” is lost.
Chuck Grant (Author of American Dressage) had six grand Prix dressage horses he had trained. I admired his approach in training them. I had a chance to ride several of his horses over a two-day period. He offered me a coaching position for an exhibition dressage drill team. I didn’t take the job because I had a training center of my own, but it let me know he liked my approach. We connected deeply. I had gone to his ranch to meet him to see if I could get him to endorse my ability as a trainer. I was...
A few months ago I was teaching a Resnick Method Liberty Training® clinic (The Waterhole Rituals™) and at the end of the clinic the students were sharing their “aha” moments and one student shared with the group that the reason that she resonated with our training method, and how we communicate with horses, was because we step INTO their world, not ON their world. This is a very important concept and why I am so passionate about sharing this way of “being” with horses.
One of the most important skills for sharing the horses’ world is listening to their language. I believe that most horse owners want to build a connection and trust with their horse, but often they do not know how to communicate with a horse in a language he understands.
If you want to begin to build a deeper bond and develop a more trusting relationship with a horse you need to understand the language of horses. As Ray Hunt says, “horses know what you know and they...
A Trilogy: Morning Star, Chip, and Palomino Pevine
What causes horses to be aggressive? It can be complicated. The answer to aggressive behavior is best handled by understanding the individual horse and the cause that brought out the aggression. Ordinarily, if you don't push a horse, a horse is naturally passive and will stay to himself or choose to bond.
In a natural herd, you will see aggression from a lack of space, food, and the initial adjustment period of horses coming into an established band.
Once harmony is established, aggression does not exist among horses and humans. The stories I will share are meant to help you better understand how to help a horse let go of aggression. What is interesting is that it doesn't take much to fix aggressive behavior because the nature of horses is to be harmonious.
Morning Star ...
The term ‘horse whisperer’ is well known. My definition of a horse whisper is a person that knows how to connect with a horse effortlessly and easily. A horse will naturally follow their lead with no explanation of why they would. It comes from shared vibrations of trust that can not be seen. The training of the horse is accomplished in moments of harmony and wellbeing.
To gain the trust of a horse, one must focus on the changes of attitude a horse has toward your influence or your lack of influence. The changing attitudes give information about how to read the vibes of a horse to better know how to communicate leadership.
Some people think that horse whispering is not natural for most people, I think it is natural. By staying a student of the horse you become a horse magnet. Over the years, I have seen that anyone who remains a student of the horse and wants to connect in this deeper way is successful.
Horse whispering (at least...
Horses need your authentic self as it is, whatever it is. What they need is your full attention. When you are nourished simply from their company, they see you care and in those moments a horse begins to trust you, which gives you an opportunity to grow the bond.
In this caring you are more aware of the leadership choices you make. A horse recognizes your care, and develops a habit to naturally follow your lead. In the initial phase, whether it be starting with a new relationship or in each leadership request you make, it is important to approach the horse in this caring way.
When a horse does not feel trapped or pushed, communicating at liberty (without tack), it is easier to read both a horse's reaction to your influence and the vibrations that you bring out in the horse. If the vibrations are not right and you are not aligned with your horse, the exercises in the Waterhole Rituals® will bring back the willingness of the horse to follow your lead.
You may take a...
“The old Lakota was wise.
he knew that man’s heart
away from nature,
he knew that lack of respect
for all living things
soon led to lack of respect
for humans too.”
-Luther Standing Bear
To find the magic we need to get into the zone of awareness like a child in a state of well-being. This is your true nature.
When you let go of what you know and let go of what you are searching for, you will then be in a state of neutral. You step away from ordinary feelings and understandings, and from the want of things that are out of your reach.
To achieve a state of neutrality and to experience a higher state of consciousness, step away from familiarity no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable it feels. Step away from concerns and emotions of the past that you would like to capture again or run from. Step away from anger and even happiness. Forget about all of those things to hear the ‘Call of the...
Reflections in Gratitude
“Trust, respect, loyalty, love, dedication, and a need to stay together, we naturally know when to slow down and when to speed up; we know when to pause when to act, when to lead, and when to follow. In this rhythm, great peace is born greater than any peace we find alone.” -Carolyn Resnick
By honoring the process of connection, I found the untapped magic of horses. I also discovered the true nature of the horse, not the horse that has “checked out” by the influence of humans, but rather the horse that is “checked-in” with everything that surrounds him in the present moment, in a calm state of peace. A state that we humans have possibly lost or are hoping to enhance.
From exercising and growing leadership, trust, respect, loyalty, love, and dedication, we find the true nature of horses. In the process, we find our own true nature. From this deeper connection and understanding of horses, our care for all living things...
Getting in touch with your true nature by journal writing meditation with horses can create heart and mind coherence for self-realization. You get to know yourself and horses from a deeper level.
Through the years, I have admired people who carry journals with them wherever they go. Journal writers, from friends to famous scientists, artists, and writers, seem to be people that are looking for a deeper meaning to their existence.
I enjoy reading my student’s journals; their journals are a helpful guide for me to know how to support them on their own journey for self-transformation. Journal writing with horses in a meditative state is an excellent way to get to know your true nature to understand the true nature of a horse.
The way I guide others in journal writing is to have them begin with a short meditation. It is important to be in the right state of mind so you can be fully present in the moment to be on the same wavelength with your...
The easiest way to develop your horsemanship is to take the time to learn how to get a horse to follow your lead at liberty. That way, you become the true student of the horse. Connecting with a horse at liberty gives the horse a sense of freedom to respond naturally. At liberty, you can more easily see how to grow a deeper connection with a horse. The other aspect of communicating with a horse at liberty is that the horse will trust you more. This brings out the side of the horse that wants to follow your lead.
Horses can do anything we want them to do; in fact, they really do not need to be trained to perform. The trick is learning how to ask a horse to do what he will naturally do independently. It is just a matter of communicating in a way that would invite a horse to respond.
Forcing a horse when he does not want to be controlled will develop a horse that needs to be forcibly controlled to perform. Horses can hide their true feelings when forced, and it can set them...
What all conscientious trainers have in common is their ability to bring out the best response in each horse in any given moment. This takes knowing the nature of horses and how to keep a good horse growing, starting with a good warm-up program. The primary purpose of your warm-up program is to warm up the partnership and dance that you share with your horse.
To help students with their horses I developed some principles and guidelines that are helpful to follow.