This is the first video in a series I wanted to do on the link between Liberty work, riding issues and how you can overcome them. I am sharing my journey with my mare Phoenix who has been a challenge from the get go. I feel like it is important to share the links I am finding with my horse to our riding issues. My hope is for people to understand the deep importance and role of Carolyn Resnick and the Waterhole Rituals to your mounted work.
If you are unfamiliar with the Waterhole Rituals, They are 7 exercises which progressively build Bond, Trust, Willingness, Focus, Respect, Connection, and Desire in the Horse and Person Simultaneously. And yes, I said it builds these qualities in the person as well.
Through the exercises, you learn how to emulate and step into the role of a "Lead" horse versus a Dominant horse and the difference. A lead horse makes requests of other horses. A Dominant horse seeks to Dominate other horses. You become a Leader you horse WANTS to follow because he chooses to.
The exercises teach you to slow down, and be present when working or riding your horse and eventually be more present in general. They are not meant to be something you do and then once you learn them you stop. They are meant to be a permanent addition to your practice and a continual method to build better and better communication, feel, and connection. The Connection will literally keep getting better and stronger. This work has brought an aspect to my Training that has increased my fun, joy and understanding of horses as well as creative problem solving to common "issues".
If you love your horse but you are not sure your horse feels the same towards you, Carolyn Resnick's Waterhole Rituals will help your horse feel toward you as he does toward his favorite pasture/herd mates (if he has them). If he doesn't have "horse" friends. He will learn to relate to you as a likeable "Lead" Horse.
The applications of The Waterhole Rituals are literally endless and are only limited by your imagination. You can "Technically" Train a horse all you want, but if he doesn't WANT to work for you, he's not going to. These exercises help your horse want to work with you because he chooses to. Not because his choices are do it or else. In the world of competition, I would feel much more trust in a team mate who wanted to give me everything he had then one who was afraid of the consequences of not doing so.
If you would like to know more about this Method and the extraordinary woman who founded it go to Carolyn Resnick's Blog to find out more.