When I first started working with Carolyn Resnick's Waterhole Rituals, I had no idea it would become my favorite Ritual.
As a professional, I am paid to be agenda driven with horses. But I have my own horses and I wanted to improve my already good connection with them by doing this Method.
I listened to Carolyn's instructions and opted not to read but to just sit and "Be" with my horses. My Mare lived with a small herd that consisted of another mare, a mare pony, her filly, and my mini gelding. Mercury, was often by himself as prescribed by Carolyn. So, I got to practice this Ritual two different ways. With a single horse, and with a small herd.
I'd like to share some of my experiences that made this my favorite Ritual. First, let me paint a picture. We feed round bales and the horses LOVE to nap in the round bales as they break down. On a sunny Spring or Winter day, I would often sit with them while they napped in the round bale in the sun in the Mare Paddock. Sometimes I would go in to get Phoenix to work with and I couldn't resist their beckoning me to sit with them. What is more peaceful then sitting with a herd of napping horses!
Other times, I found that Phoenix and her BFF would also sometimes create a triangle with me and stand over me napping. I found this very soothing and and felt their energy washing over me. I often sought out their paddock over the boys because this energy was so soothing. My friend who works with Qigong and horses said they were balancing me with their Yin energy and that I was seeking it out. I thought that was pretty cool.
It's to the point now where I can go into their paddock and sit down in the round bale and they will all slowly lay down around me! What else is there to say about that. It is pure bliss.
As for my favorite boy Mercury, He was the one I started to sit with first and I just observed things with him. I watched him, I paid attention to any things I noticed in myself and just stayed open to whatever may "Be". Mercury and I have been together since he was a yearling so we had a bond before I started the Waterhole Rituals but how much deeper it got and continues to get is hard for me to put into words. You can only know if you experience Carolyn's Method. Mercury is now 7 and I have been practicing Waterhole Rituals with him in addition to his regular performance training and Liberty work for a few years now. It has taken me places I never thought we could go and beyond.
The first few times I sat with him, I just enjoyed the time and relaxing. At the time I wasn't getting enough of that, so it was a welcome rest period in my day! After some time I became aware that Mercury was showing me the awareness level that a horse has. I began to experience his connection to all things in his environment. Everything that had a life force within his area right down to a butterfly. A Presentness and Awareness that was so much more "Awake" then we humans walk around in everyday. I now can shift in and out of that space when I want to and use it in my Yoga teaching and practice.
When I realized how much it impacted my horses connection to me, I started to learn the importance Sharing Territory with yourself, with other people you sought strong connections with and other animals was. I saw my Connection to myself and other people weaken and or strengthen at different times depending on how much or how little I did. I now use the term "Sharing Territory" with people, friends, and family. The balance of together doing nothing or together doing something is always in my mind.
When I got my new Puppy recently, The first thing I did was set up my office in the kitchen so he and my other dog and I could Share our space together while I worked. He would sometimes sleep on my lap while I worked or near my feet. At night I would let him sleep with me in my bed until he was old enough to sleep downstairs. We have a very strong Connection now from my awareness of our time together.
In these days of over stimulation, rushing around, over filling our time and so on. Sharing Territory has become for me, a soothing balm. A place I can go to calm and prepare myself to "Be" and work with the horses. If I am stressed out or upset when I get to the barn. I can sit with them and work out of it. If I have not been able to see my animals for some time due to travel or other reasons, It is a way to get Connected to them that I did not have before I learned the Waterhole Rituals. It should be mandatory for all horse owners!
Even though, I am often on a tight schedule, I found creative ways to weave it into my work with clients horses to build rapport with them before we have to do our Technical work. But mostly, I have found, it is for me as much as it is for my horses well being. It is one of my favorite things to do with my horses...
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