The Definition of Reciprocal Movements while Working with Horses at Liberty

Carolyn, Honey, TrinityReciprocal movements that are shared between a horse and a trainer are what cause the training of the horse to be easy or difficult. Reciprocal movements are what make any and all relationships work, or not work. Reciprocal movements can be abusive, or they can be the graceful art of horsemanship. When a trainer puts his attention on choosing his approach from each response of the horse, I call  Reciprocal Movement Training. I saw a man training his horse by responding in just the right way. His name was Ray Hackworth.  He was working with a quarter horse stallion to develop trust, respect, and friendship so he would have a working bond with his horse. I did this training myself, but I learned a lot from watching his approach and the pauses he offered to his stallion.  The Reciprocal movements he chose to share with the stallion bit by bit, brought the connection, willingness, and trust he set out to gain.  Watching him made me a better trainer.

Linda, Honey, TrinityFive piles of hay is a training exercise to learn how to train a horse through reciprocal movements.  The job of the trainer sharing five piles of hay is to interact with their horse like horses do while grazing. Horses in nature use reciprocal movements as a way to create respect and trust.  The interactions that horses share while grazing, tighten their ability to communicate with one another. The interactions they share also create a unified herd. The interactions that take place are scattered between their grazing. Sometimes long periods of time pass with no communication, very much like how Ray chose to interact with his stallion he was training.

Ray chose to hang out with his horse in harmony and then occasionally he would influence his horse to respond to him. Sometimes when his stallion walked toward him on his way to the watering trough he would step out of his way, allowing the horse to move him, and other times he would make the stallion move around him. I could see he chose his approach, by how his stallion was feeling about him in the moment. If the stallion was intimidating Ray, He would then let his stallion know, that he would be walking around Ray. If his horse was polite and willing, he would then move out of his horse’s path. In this approach he could shape the horse to know how to behave in his company.  The stallion soon learned that Ray was in charge from the flexible boundaries, through the reciprocal movements he chose, and a working bond was formed.  This is the purpose of the Five Plies of Hay Exercise.

Honey, TrinityFrom the training of the Five Piles of Hay Exercise, you will be able to direct your horse at Liberty effortlessly, easily, and naturally just like horses do that live in harmony with one another.

Before you do the Five Piles of Hay exercise, it is of great value that you have a horse that has a good gas pedal response to your driving aids. This way your horse will accept your direction easily. You want your horse to be relaxed when he responds to you. If he responds to your driving aids by getting excited, this is a time to take a long pause and wait for him to become relaxed once again before connecting with him, or requesting any more response from him.

Here are all the ways you can interact with your horse to shape your horses behavior with the Five Piles of Hay Exercise.

  • You can stand close to your horse while he is eating, Sharing Territory with him.
  • You can walk away from him.
  • You can move him to a new pile of hay.
  • You call follow him around.
  • You can ask him to leave his pile.
  • You can move out of his way.
  • You can ask him to move around you, and out of your way.
  • You can ask your horse to stop.

Photo by Teddie ZieglerFrom all of these choices, you can create a brilliant liberty horse that will be connected to you like the boy in the movie, the Black Stallion. Bit by bit this exercise can help you to prepare your horse to work with you in a partnership. Taking the time to build respect, trust, leadership, and a consistent connection, will enhance the performance of a horse  for any and all equestrian pursuits.

For those of you who are interested in direct guidance in my Method at this time, on the subject of Reciprocal Movements and my whole program, Linda Salinas is offering a clinic at her beautiful farm in North Carolina. The date of the clinic is May 2nd- May 4th.

For a special treat, you can bring your horse to learn with you, or work with her beautiful horses in the clinic. It is a three-day clinic on self-realization, through the training of horses using the Waterhole Rituals.

Carolyn and LindaLinda has a new website – She has written her second blog.  I have not read it yet but I am really looking forward to reading it. It is a subject that Linda and I have often talked about. It is a look at how sharing time with animals brings about a natural ability for telepathic communication with them and how it relates to knowing how to connect with your horse in the moment. The article is titled Animal communicators and “Kissing a Rino”, which is a phrase I have always used to explain the fullest ability of communication with an animal, that combines knowing an animal's behavior and intuition.  Here is the link to the blog…

Linda incorporates telepathic communication with my Method to guide equestrians in the training of horses at Liberty.  The program is for all trainers and horse owners.  Training through communication with a horse at Liberty, is a new experience for most equestrians, when the horse is allowed to have a voice and where politeness and fair play guides the way for both the horse and the human. At Liberty  using the Waterhole Rituals social behavior directs the training of the horse. Don’t miss out while Spring is in the air at the Salinas farm with Linda Salinas. For information about the clinic go to her website or click the link below for her flyer.

Have a great weekend!  Be on the lookout for new horse and human sightings, and may the horse be with you.

Warmly, Carolyn