Free Lesson - The Third Ritual of the Waterhole

Here is what several students have asked me to write a blog about:

Taking Territory – the 3rd Ritual of the Waterhole Rituals:


I no longer teach this Ritual in my online courses for a couple of reasons. One thing is that I have developed many games that will get the same result and require less skill. I still use this Ritual myself, but seldom.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Third Ritual, Taking Territory, its purpose is to create respect and it raises your position in the pecking order. You can gain the right of passage to be accepted in the horse world as a leader.  Taking Territory is not about chasing a horse around; it is about Taking Territory away from your horse when he is not paying attention to you.

All animals in nature experience the loss of territory in social interactions and it is what builds their character and social behavior to fit in and be responsible in the community.  You can Take Territory easily with a horse by surprising him in order to initiate his flight response.

The Proper Guidance:

Carolyns rosesThis ritual is a ritual which is seldom used without my guidance and that is a good thing.  In most cases it would not be applied in the way it needs to be without proper coaching. You do not need it at all in order to train a horse because of the new games I have developed while Sharing Territory.  In Taking Territory the horse is never touched, but only encouraged to move forward by being surprised.  This causes the horse to take off by responding to his flight instincts. The horse is only scared for a second and when he finds out it is you and your purpose was to Take Territory, he is instantly relieved and wants to join you, showing no fear at all!

Why you would not want to use this Ritual without guidance from a certified clinician of my Method. My Dad told me that whenever force comes into the picture with a horse you better know what you are doing. My father left me alone with horses as a small child and the rules he laid down were for my safety.  The main rule was to only work with a willing horse and never try to force him to do anything. My Dad felt that as long as there was no tack involved and that I never asked a horse to do something he wasn’t willing to do, chances are that I would be safe. He was right and I did stay safe my whole childhood because I lived in harmony with horses. Wouldn’t it be nice if more horsemen took this approach?

Taking Territory is one of those times when you need to know exactly what you are doing. A person must be guided with their individual horse and be advanced enough in their understanding of horses in order to see if this Ritual is needed on their horse.  However, I will explain it and you can write me in the comments section of this blog.

Taking TerritoryTaking Territory by surprise activates the flight instinct of the horse!  A lot of my students/fans would object to this ritual and the good news is that this ritual in no way needs to be used to get a perfect relationship going with most horses using the Waterhole Rituals. There is, however, a true magic in this Ritual. This Ritual, if done properly, will return the free spirit of the horse. It will also bring out his herding instincts to want to connect with you. Many people have brought horses to me just so that I could use this Ritual on their horse in order to bring about a willing horse and bring back the horses’ spirit and personality.

I have had many students who did not approve of this Ritual because they thought it was too forceful.  However, as they moved forward using my Method and they formed a deeper understanding of horses, once they were open to using it, they found that this Ritual took them to another level of connection that they had no idea existed.  So the choice is up to you whether or not you feel this Ritual would have a place in your life, but you still need proper guidance. I am warning you like my Dad did me to keep you and your horse safe by following his main rule.

 Timing in the key!

When the bond is in place, it is natural that a horse will become pushy or no longer give you his attention.  This pushiness is a state that is brought about in a horse from the horse perceiving you as a family member. This is when the true work begins and, step by step, you develop a horse to his greatest ability to fit in harmony and unity with you as his leader.

carolyn and trinityIf we can bring out the pushiness in a horse we have also developed the horses’ bond and trust with you, which is a good thing.  Then when you initiate the Taking Territory Ritual you bring out the right response in your horse and you gain his respect.  In Taking Territory the horse gets back his natural instinct to be watchful and he learns to have a care taking nature rather than a self serving bullying nature with you. A bullying nature is a natural behavior to most all creatures on earth, including humans.  This is the case until they learn social adjustments and learn to consider the feelings of another living being. When this happens, their care taking behavior and character is developed.  Most children are bully’s by nature until they are properly guided in social awareness and activities which in turn will bring about proper conduct without having to manage it.

A surprising thing, to most horsemen, is that a sweet horse can also be a bully, but we overlook this. The way this happens is that a good natured horse becomes the center of attention and learns how to take control, not paying any attention in how to fit in with others.  It isn’t the sweet horse’s fault. What happens is that the sweet horse didn’t have to make any social adjustments because of his nature.  However, these adjustments still need to be made in order for the horse to learn how to fit in properly.

Each horse is different in when to use Taking Territory in order to gain the respect that would help grow the bond. Some horses you can not use this Ritual with because they are aware of where you are at all times. So these horses need to be handled differently.

PIC_1494In my online course, which is going on right now, I guide each person in when and how to apply this Ritual with their horse. Many times we pass this ritual by depending upon my judgment of each horse and their individual program.  Once you have built a horse using my Rituals and you see the choices that I have made on this subject, you will know how to use this Ritual and when it’s needed.  When the timing and approach is done appropriately, what happens is that your horse will respect you and then want to follow your lead with a shocking positive result. If the respect does not happen right away then something is wrong and you should stop this Ritual and email me for guidance. The “quick” results take about two or three attempts of your horse moving away very quickly and then your horse will want to be completely in your pocket and will appear to try to win your favor. He will be all about you! Though there might be times that you would need to re-establish your position with this Ritual. The reason for this is that leadership in animals fluctuates and so does the pecking order. Your position in the herd is not set in stone.

Here are a few reasons why Not to do this Ritual without proper guidance:

  1. It could break the bond you already have for good.
  2. Your horse might become too upset from not being approached in a timely manner and this would cause you to receive no benefit.
  3. Your horse would take offence to this action and become aggressive.
  4. You might not be ready and/or capable of carrying out this Ritual in the proper manner.
  5. You could run up to your horse too close and your horse could charge backwards and kick you.


While working horses at Liberty, a horse has a sense of his own personal power and sometimes he can be much harder to deal with because of the freedom you have given him. Being at Liberty, he learns right away that he is in charge of whether or not he will listen to your direction. Working with a horse at Liberty, in a free playing field, a person must use prudence to develop the relationship rather than keeping a horse on a rope.

When the horse is on a rope, he has the mind set that he can not get away and that he must tolerate his handler. Working and connecting with a horse using tack, a person does not get to know who their horse really is, until he has been given his freedom to speak the truth.  Without a rope, you know exactly what your horse his thinking because the horse knows that he is in charge of your leadership.

Spritied horseIn this freedom you connect with a horse by being in control of your personal space, by not letting your horse come close to you if he is not willing to listen to you or if he is aggressive.  You also are in charge of his “extra” food sources. In no way should you ever keep him from his regular daily rations. My Method shapes a horse to be a caretaker as your horse shapes you to be a caretaking leader.  From the freedom you experience with your horse true harmony is born.When horses are raised and trained by humans what usually happens is that a horse becomes dull. The horse learns to stay close to their handler from the use of tack that holds them to their handler.  They then loose their natural instincts and will. The horses’ spirit generally drops away as well.  You can recognize this in a horse’s performance under saddle in his spirit and when enthusiasm is not seen; when the sparkle in the eye is gone.spirited horse 2Many times I hear people say “my horse loves me because he doesn’t want to leave me”.  However, I suggest something else is array.  If you think you have a great bond with your horse ask yourself these questions. How much time do you spend with your horse?  Does your horse prefer other horses company over yours? Is your horse hanging around you because of the cookies you have in your pocket? We want those cookies to be added bonuses and not the whole reason your horse wants to be with you. If your horse will perform with complete enthusiasm without cooks or tack… this is a bond I want you to have.From your interactions of Sharing Territory, Taking Territory, using the pause, and from using flexible boundaries that you share together in freedom, you will become more giving (or more assertive) and your horse will bloom into his true nature and spirit. Then a partnership will form and a true loyalty arises. You and your horse will look at life optimistically because of the magical connection you have with one another.StoneyI am so proud of the fact that I have affected people all over the world to get interested in giving freedom to horses and to take the time to make a real connection with their horse. You know you have that “real” connection when you discover in no way could you ever sell your horse.  If you are planning in the future of selling your horse, your approach to your horse is different than that of someone this is going to keep their horse forever. The plan that you are going to sell your horse puts a wedge in the relationship just because of your vibrations.What I’ve shared with you, I hope causes you to take the next step to join my Winter online course this November. Our classes fill up quickly, so early registration is important.  Keep reading my blogs so you can see when the Winter registry is open to ensure a spot.I hope you enjoy my free lessons and let them inspire you to the possibilities of what a true magical connection with your horse can be!Have a great weekend!  Be on the lookout for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.Warmly, Carolyn


You and Your Horse: Connecting Through Freedom

with Linda Salinas ~ Carolyn Resnick Suggested Trainer June 8-9, 2013 - Gastonia, NC, USA


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