Training Horses at Liberty - Taking Territory to gain Respect

Here is what several students have asked me to write a blog about: Taking Territory – the 3rd Ritual of the Waterhole Rituals:Taking Territory creates respect and 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 a horse.

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:

Taking Territory 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 applied without proper coaching. You do not need it at all in order to train a horse with my method, though it does have a strong purpose. 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 so he had to feel comfortable about my safety. The rules he laid down in order for me to stay safe with my horses 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 were that I would be safe. He was right and I did stay safe my whole childhood because I lived in harmony with the horses. Wouldn’t it be nice if more horsemen took this approach?

Taking Territory is one of those things that you need to know what you are doing. On my blog I cannot show you how is ritual because a person must be personally guided with an individual horse and also be advanced enough in their understanding of horses that they can be guided.

Something to consider. Taking Territory by surprise activates the flight instinct of the horse! Allot of my students/fans may object to this ritual, but the good news is that this ritual in no way needs to be used to get a perfect relationship going with most horses when using the Waterhole Rituals. However, there is true magic in this ritual as well. If done properly, this Ritual will return the free spirit of the horse. It also will bring out his herding instincts to want to connect with you. Many people have brought horses to me so that I could use this Ritual on their horse in order to bring back the horse's spirit, willingness and personality.

I have had many students who did not approve of this ritual thinking it was too forceful, but as they moved forward using my method and formed a deeper understanding of horses, when they were open to using it, they found this Ritual took them to another level of connection 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 the proper guidance. I am warning you like my Dad did with me in order to keep you and your horse safe.

Timing is the key: When the bond is in place, it is natural for a horse to 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 will develop a horse to be a true dance partner in order to fit in with you in unity as his leader.

Self-Serving Bully Nature vs. Care Taking Nature:

 If we can bring out the pushiness in a horse, we  developed a bond and trust with him, which is a good thing. Then when you initiate the Ritual of Taking Territory, you will bring out the right response in your horse and gain his respect. Taking Territory from the horse brings back his instincts and he learns to have a care taking nature rather than a self serving bully nature, in regards to you. A bully nature is a natural behavior to most all creatures on earth including humans, until they learn social adjustments considering the feelings of another living being. When this happens their behavior and character are developed. Most children are bully’s by nature until they are properly guided in social awareness and sensitivity, which in turn will bring out proper conduct without having to manage it.

A surprising thing is that a sweet horse can also be a bully. Sometimes we overlook this. The way this happens is that the good natured horse becomes the center of attention and he learns how to take control, not paying any attention in how he needs 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, so therefore he is socially inept and will push people around until he is developed socially.  This can be done through the Waterhole Rituals.

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

In my on line course I guide each person in when and how to apply this Ritual with their horse or horses. Many times in class we will skip this ritual, depending on my judgment of how a student’s lessons are going with their horse. Once you have built a horse with my rituals and see the choices I make on this subject, then you will know how to use this Ritual next time by what you have learned this time in my classroom.

The Appropriate Approach: When the timing and approach are done appropriately your horse will respect you and want to follow your lead with a shocking positive result. If this does not happen right away, you are making a big mistake and should stop this pursuit. Taking Territory isn't something that you drill.  The result of a deeper connection and willingness are fast and immediate from experiencing Taking Territory using my method. The quick results take about two or three attempts than your horse will move away very quickly and he will want to be completely in your pocket and he will begin to try to win your favor. He will be all about you, though there might be times that you will need to reestablish your position with this Ritual. The reason for this is that leadership in animals fluctuates and the pecking order does too. Your position is not set in stone.

There are some reasons why you do not want 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 that would cause you to receive no benefit. 3. Your horse might take offense and become aggressive. 4. You might not be ready for or capable of carrying out the Ritual in the proper manner. 5. You could run up to your horse too close and your horse could charge backwards and kick you.

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

Having a rope on a horse, the horse has the mind set that he cannot get away and that he must tolerate his handler. While working and connecting with a horse using tack, a person doesn’t know who their horse really is until you give him his freedom to speak the truth. Without a rope you know exactly what your horse is thinking. The horse knows that he is in charge of your leadership.

In the Freedom: In this freedom you connect with a horse by being in control of your personal space by not letting your horse close to you if he will not listen to you or he is aggressive. You also are in charge of the extra food sources. In no way do you keep him from his daily rations. My method is to shape a horse to be a care taker as your horse shapes you to be a care taking leader. From the freedom you experience with your horse true harmony is born.

Without the Freedom: When horses are raised and trained by man what happens is that horse becomes dull. The horse learns to stay close to their handler from the tack that holds them to their handler. They then lose their natural instinct and will. The horse’s spirit generally drops away. You can recognize this in a horse’s performance under saddle if the spirit and enthusiasm is not seen; when the sparkle in the eye is gone.

Many times I hear people say “my horse loves me because he doesn’t want to leave me”, I suggest something else is array. If you think you have a bond ask yourself, how much time do you spend with your horse? Does your horse prefer other horses company over yours? Maybe your horse is hanging around you because of the cookies you have in your pocket? We want those cookies to be added bonuses not to become the whole reason. If your horse will perform with complete enthusiasm without cookies or tack… this is the bond I want you to have.

The True Nature: From your interaction of Sharing Territory, Taking Territory, the pause, and from the flexible boundaries you share together in freedom, you become more giving or more assertive and your horse blooms into his true nature and spirit. Then a partnership forms and a loyalty arises. You and your horse look at life optimistically because of the connection you have with one another.

I am so proud that I have affected people all over the world to get interested in giving freedom to horses and take the time to make a real connection. You know you have that real connection when you discover that in no way could you ever sell your horse. If you are planning on selling your horse in the future, you approach your horse differently than someone who is going to keep their horse forever. The plan that you are going to sell your horse puts a wedge in the relationship because of your vibrations.

My Online Classes: What I’ve shared with you I hope causes you to take the next step to join my online course this spring. Our classes fill up quickly. So early registration is important. Keep reading my blogs so you can see when registry is open to ensure a spot.

Enjoy these videos and let them inspire you to the possibility’s of what a true connection with your horse can be!


From - Sibylle Stopka I would like to share this videos with you, because this site and the blog of Carolina Resnick gave me the strength to do, what I was always dreaming of. Keep my horse as free and naked as possible. In your ideas I found myself at home and started to realize my dream. I have never forced my horse to anything, the bound grew so much, that we can walk freely and play together. I just enjoy watching is happiness and joyfulness while playing together.

Thank You very much for giving access to your work through your wonderful blog and facebook page. I hope you don't mind, that I post this videos inspired in most part by your work. Thank You again, what You do is just wonderful!

Thank you Sibylle for sharing these YouTube's with me.  Your relationship in a free open environment is inspirational.

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Have a great weekend and remember to watch out for new horse and human sightings.  May the horse be with you.

Warmly, Carolyn