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 these situations and concerns might come from simply asking yourself one question. From the answer you give to this question, a path will unfold, showing you how to approach your next step. It leads you to what you should be doing with your horse rather than what you want to do with your horse. It will also point out if you are on the right track.
What I am about to share with you catapulted me into an ability with horses far beyond what I had experienced. My response to this question led me to my success as a coach, trainer, and partnership with horses!!
When I was in grade school, I wanted to start a business training horses. I went to my dad and asked him how to get started, and he simply said you need to put a sign on the edge of the road that says ‘HORSE TRAINING’ with our telephone number.
In those years, there were many horses in our town with very few trainers in the valley, so this kind of service could get a lot of business.
I put out the sign and waited. After a month, no one had responded. I then went to my dad and told him that no one had called about putting a horse in training with me. My dad said, “Did you advertise the price?” and I said, “No.” He said, “Well, there is your problem.” I asked him what I should charge; he said to pick a price that a person could not refuse. He suggested my training fee and the board included should be lower than the cheapest board in town. He told me that he would pay for the hay since we grew hay, it would not be too costly, and I could keep the money I made.
I was thrilled. I opened a bank account, and from the new sign, the calls started coming in.
My first customer had a horse that bucked; the client wanted the buck taken out. My dad went and picked the horse up. When he arrived, we could see that this horse was tough just from a feeling you got around him. He was a big chestnut running quarter horse type.
We put him in a paddock, and there he sat. I surely would try not to make the same mistake with him as I did with Pepper, the pony that I wrote about in my book “Naked Liberty.” I went to my dad and asked him what I should do with him. I had never ridden a horse that bucked other than Pepper, and I had no skills in fixing this kind of problem.
My dad asked me the ‘QUESTION’ that empowered me for the rest of my life with horses. I hope it works for you as well. He asked, “Well, Carolyn, what is the easiest thing you can do with that horse?” At first, I did not know what to say. The only thing I came up with was that I was not afraid to lead him. That is a far cry from solving the bucking problem. I had no idea how leading him was going to help. My dad said, “There is where you need to start. You can lead him out into the desert for 30 minutes and back. You will have put in a good hour with him. You can call that time his training program.”
Wow! I could do that, I did not know how that was going to change this horse from not bucking, but I could do that, and I trusted my dad to get me through to the other side, so I led this big red quarter horse into the desert and back and called it training. I felt pleased I could call myself a trainer. I was self-employed, realizing my dream to make this horse a safe riding horse.
My dad told me one day after a month of walking him into the desert, “By the countenance of that horse, he looks like he is much happier and has settled down. I do not think he will buck anymore, why don’t you try to ride him?”. I did, and my father was right; I had trained my first horse.
The next horse that came in for training was not halter broke and would chase me out of her pen. I was concerned about this problem. I thought I was not going to be able to fix this. I was afraid of this mare. Again, my dad asked me what you can do with her that you are not scared to do? I told him that I was not afraid to sit in her manger. He said, “Great, sit in her manger for an hour a day and call that training.” So I did.
She got used to me, and I got used to her. I would collect alfalfa leaves in a little pile that I had picked out the stems from when I sat in her manger, and then I would feed them to her. She got to liking my company and understood how I was helping her find the best hay. Sometimes she would try to push me away when I wasn’t quite finished with my selection, so I would then drive her out of the manger altogether; she listened to me from the bond we had developed. When she would return and respect my space, I would give her what she wanted. We developed such a rapport that I slipped a halter on her head one day and used the rope to lead her to the piles I had placed in her paddock. By that time, she knew not to go ahead of me knowing I might drive her from the piles as she had experienced from our manger episodes. In no time, I had her halter broke.
Horse after horse, the answers were found in asking myself, ‘what the easiest and safest thing I could do with a horse was, that I am not afraid to do, and will give me a YES from the horse?’. This question opened the door to finding The Entry Point of Connection I needed to progress with the horse.
That is how my business began, and this is now a core principle in the Resnick Method.
Today I am here with my blogs and services that I have created meant to help you in the same way my dad helped me, with stories, support, and programs that are easy to follow.
May the spirit of the horse be with you. Enjoy!
This formula works in any situation, for example: