Demystifying the Waterhole Rituals

From this point, forward I am focusing on helping people to understand my Method of training through the Waterhole Rituals at liberty. I have trained at liberty for over 40 years and in the mid 70’s I coined the phrase 'Liberty Training'. In those days I had to explain what Liberty Training a horse was. Now 40 years later, people frequently use this phrase and in some cases not as it was intended or defined by me. For those of you who do not know yet what Liberty Training is, my definition is that Liberty Training is a method of training a horse in a free environment without tack from the ground in a wide open space large enough for a horse to avoid his training if he wants to.

This is the secret of how to bring about a horse’s interest in wanting to bond and seek out your company. In 'Liberty Training', you want the horse to feel free so he can begin to act and react from his instincts and to show the handler his true feelings and so that the handler can respond more proficiently and fairly. The Method causes a horse to exercise his instincts and at the same time, developing and increasing a horse’s spirit and ego. Once the horse exercises his instincts, it brings about his herding instinct preferences to follow a leader rather than to be a leader. With the right approach and when a horse feels free without tack or pressure, he will put forth his best effort into a partnership and develop an optimistic attitude with excellent team working skills that are instinctual to horses. Liberty training opens the door to interactive relationships. Most importantly, it will create a spiritual connection that brings about a true cross species bond like the boy and his Stallion in the movie the “Black Stallion”.

I will continue to help everyone with the UE when I receive a YouTube of your work. The reason I am not continuing with them at this time is the class needs to catch up and be able to perform all of them properly before I move into the next set. This way you truly earn your free lessons. But more than that, the secret to teaching anything is the timing of the information given to the student, so we need to pause so you can work and process this information, gain proficiency and be capable of understanding the advanced set. I am pleased to work with those of you that progress on the UE for the next two years because I know how valuable these exercises are. I will continue giving the class to the people who can do the first set of exercises well and who are receiving great benefits from them when they ride.

I am still looking for a working student to work with me on my many projects from my ranch. I need someone who is a great rider in dressage or bridleless riding or someone who can organize and create programs with my Method. I have a real good horse at this time that you will love to work with. He has two National Championships under his belt, he is an optimistic horse, and he sees work as play and loves people.

I will further explain the Waterhole Rituals but in a fun way. I wrote a book for adults using a children’s book approach. This is the first book in a series. I remember when I was growing up I loved books that were written as a series. There was something magical about them especially when they were fiction. This story is fiction, based on a horse that inspires me to write what I am about to share with you today. His name is Marchador. He likes his name because he told me that it caused people to respect him because of the sound of the name. M-a-r-c-h-a-d-o-r. It generally has no real meaning to English speaking people but does denote respect and causes a person to feel they might know the meaning of the name and would like to know more about him before getting too involved. His name gives him something in common with the people who come into his life because he doesn’t know what the name means either but the sound is softly haunting and has a strange effect on people by getting rid of any agenda they might have for him to fulfill.

Here are the first few pages from my story…

In his own words and thoughts Marchador tells a story about his unique purpose in life.

Marchador, Human educator

The first thing people ask when they see me is what kind of horse is that? Then someone says he is a Mangalarga Marchador horse. I have no idea what that that means. Then there's a lot of discussion of what that means and each time I listen, it means nothing to me.

When I was born, I was a free spirit, I grew into a king of kings, a warrior and leader of leaders, a spiritual adviser, a judge and seeker, a diplomat, a caretaker and friend.

Then I became a traveler.

I arrived in the U.S.A. eager to educate humans in the way of horses.

I wasn’t very good at it in the beginning but at least I got my points across. We had a small language barrier.

I found the best way to address my students after winning a few battles was with kindness and body language.

I started teaching leadership workshops at “Dances With Horses.”

My students began learning once they gave up the idea that I was a Mangalara Marchado horse and now I am in my hay day having the full attention of my classes.

I am teaching how to speak to the spirit of all horses.

The lessons begin with the student addressing me personally.

They ask me what kind of a horse are you?

I answer I am your guide and I am the horse that I am right now and please speak to me not from my title but who I am right now. I must warn you horses are ever-changing and prefer to follow a leader that allows freedom of expression and can keep the order without control. I will be every horse you might run across giving you plenty of practice to handle these different kind of individuals and temperaments.

I choose this lesson because all horses have the potential to express all these character traits and moods. You have to be on the “ready” for them.

Then I ask my student what kind of a person are you right now? Right now, is all that is real and all that we have. The feelings we share right now are the real connection. Not what you expected or who we were yesterday but who we are right now right here.

I open the door for you to a kind of connection that all horses understand.

I lead and the dance begins.

So the first Ritual is “Sharing Territory” and starts a true bond in the most natural way the way horses do. This way the horse can come to you to start the bond and when you interact with him, you will have his full attention and his full focus. The first part of developing a bond, is to allow the horse to start it and to come into your space. The next phase occurs around sharing territory and grazing games.

The focus of the training is on social behavior and cannot start until the horse becomes so comfortable with you that he becomes rude. (In my next blog I will write on how a horse is rude socially) This is how the herd starts socializing the foals. If you do not have my DVD Introduction to the Waterhole Rituals, at this point I would advise you to order it so you can understand better the material I will be sharing with you.

In the first Ritual I advise people to read a book. I have found that it creates curiosity and begins the relationship and allows time to pass helping progress the relationship, and my book Naked Liberty would be a great choice.

Speaking of books, what did you think of the book I suggested “Songs of Horses” by Paul Belasik?

Hope you liked the story and I look forward to speaking with you again next week.