Learn How to Lead a Horse from the Waterhole Rituals at Liberty

To My Class and Loyal Readers: [youtube]auSo1MyWf8g[/youtube]

Learn how to lead a horse from the Waterhole rituals at Liberty with the Carolyn Resnick method. The fist step, mediation, practice with your horse to build your leadership instincts.


Spending time in nature, meditating with your horse, has a profound positive affect by giving you more ability in knowing how to lead and how to connect with a horse. You will gain instincts you thought you never had. I see it happen all the time. Gratitude with horses increases your understanding of them.

I have noticed that nature lovers have a natural way with animals. They know how to be with animals and how to lead them without disturbing the life flow of the animal.

Your Natural Instincts:

My first step in my horsemanship classes is to help the student to develop their insight into the mind and nature of a horse. In this process the student is able to connect back to their original, intuitive instincts.

As you become acquainted with nature, by Sharing Territory with your horse, you can start to depend on your intuition to know how to connect with your horse. From acting on your instincts, you learn very quickly what to do and how to experiment with trial and error in order to grow your leadership ability and intuition with horses.

From learning how to work with nature, being in partnership with nature and not fighting with nature, brings valuable lessons that will translate to the training and communication through a leadership a horse resonates with.

Leadership: What a leader needs to know is how to keep a horse wanting their leadership. Leading a horse you need to know when to lead, when to follow, when to pause, when to act, when to support and when to direct. You also need to know how to create short term goals you can accomplish easily. Nature is our best teacher in our pursuit of the dance we wish to experience whether it be our horse or anything else we are relating to and evolving with.

The beautiful journey between horses and humans comes when the horse and human are matched and bonded and have developed a habit to stay in an active role as a leader with a horse.

So what do I mean when I say use active leadership?

Active leadership exists when both you and your horse stay connected in your awareness toward one another. Staying active with your leadership does not mean strong or aggressive or even keeping your horse in a performance mode. It means that you stay focused on your job allowing, shaping, directing and drawing your horse to dance with you. From your leadership your horse knows, with the connection he has with you, that in choosing to follow your lead his right to freedom will never be in question. The five heart felt strings of connection must be maintained: bond, trust, respect, focus and the desire to dance. When these stings are being felt in the horse, he can not help but to follow your lead and have a great desire to learn what you have to teach him.

We must adjust our leadership to fit the horse, the level of training and the attitude in the moment. Your leadership dances around the horse as the horse engages with you. Leaders should know how to keep their horses engaged.

Responsibility: A horse will fluctuate in his attitude towards you more often if you are not making these adjustments in your leadership in order to keep the resonance in the relationship. You can be active with your leadership by choosing to pause in the training in order to allow the horse to process and learn what it is you are teaching him, as well as directing him. But in the pause you give your horse, you are not in the pause yourself. You are maintaining the connection through keeping your horse focused on you. This would mean if he was at a great distance away, not paying any attention to you, and you called him he would hear you and return immediately. This also means that at any moment if you communicated with your horse that he would respond. As leaders you should be able to feel when this ability is lost and be able to restore it with an activity that brings back the alertness.

When I was a kid growing up and our family would go to a new place on vacation, usually in the mountains, before my mother let me go out and play by myself, she took me out to practice listening for her call. Once she felt comfortable, she would let me play on my own. She wanted me to learn it was my job that wherever I went I needed to be in earshot of her. This vigilance is what we want to have with our horses at Liberty.

Handy Tips: The first reason a horse will not let you lead him is that you do not have a bond. If you have a bond and he will not let you lead him, then you do not have either the respect, his attention, or your horse does not like what you are asking him to do. Also, maybe he doesn’t understand what you are asking him to do. Another thing that can cause a horse to lose his performance is that your leadership may not have been active enough. Meaning keeping your horse focused on his task. If any of these things come up, then it is our job to fix the disconnect rather than seeing the error in the horses’ performance and attitude. The error comes from our leadership. There has got to be focus, connection and magic between you and your horse in order to dance in harmony, unity and spirit.

Handling a horse is much like how you would operate a sewing machine, a potter’s wheel or a schoolroom of kindergarteners. It takes all your focus in these activities. You could not be on a cell phone and do any of these activities well. All of your attention needs to be on leadership and keeping the bond, respect and interest of your horse moment by moment in the right program.

This next video is a horse that was not feeling a bond, he did not trust his handler in the moment, or he didn’t want the program he was being asked to participate in. He was only buffaloed into standing in one spot.

Watch Video Part One - Milo Groundwork

See how quick things can go wrong when the things I mentioned above are not being developed and dealt with.

If the Waterhole Rituals had been developed, the horse would be not be in the state he was that caused him to freak out and his handler would have known not to put on the saddle. His handler would also not have been surprised by his reaction to the synching either.

If this horse and human had taken the time to know each other, enjoyed being in each others company and had taken some time to build an unconditional bond and unconditional leadership, than this man’s training would have gone without incident or drama.

The reason I ask my students to keep up with their regular programs is so they can see how taking time to build the relationship helps create the right attitude in their horse for other performances and training. As you move forward with your regular programs you will notice that from the practice of the rituals you will watch yourself make better choices and use more effective aids in lightness. Both my student and their horse will work more as a team. They will know how to keep the connection and bond better through active leadership and when to stop a program before it heads into a disaster like this one.

The Eighty Dollar Champion: The last video I want to share is a horse that got a new life from performing and receiving great leadership and lots of love by a whole family of his human herd. He was the full definition of what we would like a champion to experience. Beyond his performance was the unbridled spirit of this horse, Snowman. Thank you to Harry DeLeyer for giving Snowman a new life and purpose.


Enjoy and have a great weekend. Watch out for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.

For fun, send me a video of you reading a book out loud to your horse or having a picnic with your horse in a beautiful spot in nature. We will award a group conference call on the gas pedal lesson to the best ones.

Have fun – Sun, Sun and more Sun. Carolyn