In last week's blog, Carolyn shared how to stay out of trouble with our horses and gain a strong leadership position. I want to expand on this subject based on an observation I have had of students when I am teaching clinics.
It is so important that we are consistent in our leadership with horses. It is much like raising a child. The horse needs to know that he can depend on us no matter what the circumstances. Often, I see students at my clinics do amazing things with their horses at liberty once they have an understanding of how to interact with their horse in The Resnick Method, but I see them enter and leave the arena leading their horses with zero leadership or awareness of the horse because they have a rope in their hands. The horse's mind shifts into fear and uncertainty because of the shift in the student's energy. I have noticed that people take their horses for granted because they feel that they already have a great relationship with the horse. They do not pay...
To be a student of the horse, ask yourself, ‘does your horse feel safe with your leadership?’ and do you have the full attention of your horse when you make a request?’ These questions will help you improve your leadership and gain the trust and cooperation of your horse.
If you are a horse lover and have a strong bond with your horse but are only interested in providing your horse a nurturing environment, leadership may seem unnecessary. This can put you and your horse in jeopardy in many situations such as emergency conditions, natural disasters, and vet and Ferrier care. By being a leader, your horse will seek out your leadership, feel safe in your charge, and connect with you more deeply. When this happens, your horse will give you a high grade on your report card!
Avoid focusing on trying to 'fix' behavioral problems. Focus on getting the horse's full attention in the moment so that you can redirect unwanted behavior. This is a significant point that is...
To Move or Not to Move a Horses Feet- That is the Question!
What knowledgeable equestrians, trainers, and happy horse owners have in common is that they know how to move around a horse to build trust and when to ask a horse to move around them to develop and keep a leadership position. Horses inherently look to follow a leader. We need to know how to get a horse to choose our leadership.
We see many people who are letting horses move their feet, causing the horses to lose respect. This blog addresses this matter.
Word of warning: letting a horse move your feet or habitually moving around your horse rather than putting your horse where you need the horse to be can cause a horse to become dominant and unwilling to be directed. It is essential to know when to surrender by giving room to a horse and when to create respect by moving a horse's feet. This will bring a horse to a willing connection with you.
The benefit of knowing when to ask your horse to...
"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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...