I was recently very lucky to host a Carolyn Resnick, The Waterhole Rituals™ and beyond, Advanced Clinic here at my home for some incredibly talented women. Two days went by far too fast, we explored together as a group and the horses left me breathless and I know them !!!! It showed me how they felt about the people who came, they were generous beyond my imagination. I loved having a small group and being able to allow the horses to show us so much. As ever I am grateful to Carolyn Resnick for changing my life. I am a very lucky person to be doing what I love so much.
I have really been enjoying the wonderful warm spring weather and as I look forward to visiting Witney Pony Partners in Oxfordshire next week, for a Waterhole Rituals ™ clinic, I am always reminded by my horses how important The Carolyn Resnick method, The Waterhole Rituals ™ are to everything we do together.
Through the relationship we have built my horses are happy to share a ‘Working Bond’ with me. I will always consider them and how they feel about something. In return they offer their best efforts.
Noonoo has shown me she prefers to be ridden bitless, I am not an accomplished rider by any means so the challenge of bitless dressage is one I continue to work at, on myself of course more than Noons.
Through the practice of The Waterhole Rituals ™ Noonoo and I share a bond that goes beyond anything I could have imagined she knows what I am asking and I know how she feels and what she enjoys.
This week she had a stone in her foot, it made a dent, after having an abscess earlier in the year I was horrified, to think she could have bruising and go through that pain again! I started tubbing her foot, just in case. Today she stood for 10 mins with her foot in the bucket with me her no 1 fan telling her how amazing she is, when I picked up a towel to dry it she lifted her foot from the bucket, held it up and looked at me as if to say this is what you wanted right? Horses never cease to surprise, amaze and fill me with joy.
My horses have been the best teachers in helping me to slow down. Recently while working with Chester, he started his old habit of rushing he was trying to get me to walk faster. This also ties in with us staying focused I had to notice, he was rushing.
Today we hung out at the trailer together, he came for his first outing in it this week, a trip along the lane to see a friend. Where we went slowly around the arena, slowly into a pen and then slowly back into the trailer where I slowly drove home. We are going away together for the weekend and I am very much looking forward to not rushing with him!
Taking our time gives us the chance to be present, appreciate the moment and stay more focused. We may also experience something we might miss if we rush. Today I enjoyed the sunshine between the showers, after leading Chester into the trailer, I sat on the ramp and took his halter off, he wandered off for a bit then came back to sniff my feet and explore me a bit. When he returned again he walked straight into the trailer as if he thought I had been sitting there waiting for him to do that. He waited on the ramp coming out. I greeted him as he came down the ramp, slowly and we walked together around the car and trailer, I told him he was very clever and we stood by the fence watching the cows together, it was all very relaxing and SLOW.
Taking moments like this to slow up feel good, I try to remember how it feels and keep it with me when I am in a situation where I am tempted to rush. For going slowly, I think Chester enjoyed showing me he could work out how to do something that would please me, he makes me smile so much.
I recently had the pleasure of taking this portable and adaptable training aid to Wales. We found it could be used anywhere, with or without tack.
It had beneficial effects on all breeds and sizes of horse. We humans seemed to benefit too. Some left it behind them after leaving the arena, only to realise that it is very portable and can be taken EVERYWHERE!
It can become part of our everyday life with our horse. It is not visible to the naked eye but our horses know if we have lost it somewhere – they will normally let us know and help us retrieve it. This amazing aid is not available in shops.
The Waterhole Rituals ™ are a way to assist us in developing this aid to training our horses. It is sometimes called awareness but it is far more than one ingredient. It contains presence, focus, trust, respect, intention, timing, feel, consideration for others, willingness to bond, learn, lead and follow, and a large dose of love and kindness. Things best left out are judgment and ego. When we play with our mix and stay flexible, remembering to keep it with us, we will discover our horse didn’t really need training at all. All these things make for a harmonious relationship and connection. So it is US – WHO WE ARE, when our horse offers relationship and connection, that we need to keep everywhere. That can be very portable.
Chester has been learning so much and our relationship grows stronger every day. I was reminded of a quote from Charles de kunffy in his book The ethics and passions of dressage. He says ” There is no neutrality in riding you are either actively improving your horse, or actively breaking him down.” I was shocked when I read this and it did make me stop and think. I am pleased to say that we can find neutrality at liberty and transfer this to work with tack.
The Waterhole Rituals ™ allow our horse the freedom to be neutral and for us to be neutral with him. Of course even at Liberty we can actively be improving ourselves, our relationship with our horse and indeed our horse himself. Most horses are perfect at being a horse and need no improving however sometimes horses will shape the character of other horses and this is what we aim to do, like our children we wish our horses to be polite members of society. Chester has been learning this. He is very cheeky and I have to set boundaries sometimes like the older horses of a herd would. I also love taking a pause and finding a neutral moment with him as he is a fast pony in every way and is learning he can slow up.
I am at an age where I no longer wish to race around jumping cross country fences, I am happy to go slow and taking time and baby steps has proven to be the right approach for this ‘fast’ pony. The video is only our second ride on our own, we have come to a point where we trust each other enough now and feel comfortable together. Chester has so much to learn about being in our human world he has never had very much learning and on the positive side although he is a rescue and was neglected he has never learnt that learning isn’t fun.
He has also learnt that going through trailers is simply another game we play together, staying calm when I shut him in too, next step will be a short trip which we will also make fun and enjoy the adventure together.
I love my logo, my friend Polly and I designed it together. Why did I choose this? I feel that it is important to consider all aspects of our horse and indeed ourselves.
If we don’t have a happy relaxed horse in his mind it will show in his body, the same is true for us, when we are not happy and balanced it can show as Dis-ease, so when our horse is not at ease it is not beneficial to his overall well being. What do we address first? well all things are connected so really we need to address the whole horse. The whole relationship with our horse and ourselves.
We all interpret Mind, Body, Spirit, in slightly different ways as well depending on our own perspective and evolution. It is not static every second there are changes going on in us and in our horse, we need to bring awareness to these changes and shifts, therefore we also need to remain focused. How often do you find your mind has wandered when you are with your horse. Sometimes this happens and we wonder why our horse is not paying attention!!! So a balanced mind, and overall awareness are very beneficial.
We can also hold tension in our bodies, our horse will often reflect this, do you find you are clenching your jaw? stiff in your neck? or have a knot in your stomach? very often our horses will mirror this, if we do a scan of our body and find tension be aware it is there and let it go, watch your horse let go and show signs of relaxation. So a relaxed body is a start, we can also find ways to stay in tune with our own body and stay fit and healthy for our horses. Particularly if we wish to ride, it is much easier for our horse if we are balanced and easier to be a balanced rider if our horse is in balance. Mind and body are connected, what goes on in our mind can affect the body, they can work together in harmony. Our mind can listen to sensations in the body and we can feel sensations in our body due to what is going on in our mind.
Sharing Territory and the daily practice of The Waterhole Rituals ™ The Carolyn Resnick method gives me the time to address how our relationship will feel today and do we have balance in Mind, Body, and Spirit.
Spirit………. this can mean different things to different people, we know about our mind it asks questions for us , takes in knowledge and sometimes plays tricks! we feel and see our bodies. Our horses feel our energy. They can connect with our energy , they also react to our body language, emotions and intentions. Have you ever thought about the spiritual connection? The part of us that is also part of everything else, we can loose the connection to this, I believe when we rediscover it our horse will connect with it, why wouldn’t they we are all connected already. Spirit is harder to check in with, it is not part of the physical world, we can’t see it. It is the unseen non physical part that is in everything so why would we not be able to connect with other life forms in this way. Some call it the soul, source or consciousness, if we open our hearts and learn from our horses, they are still in touch with their spirit and always ready to help us rediscover ours.
So here we are in a new year! Some of us make new years resolutions. Some set goals for ourselves. Some hope we will reach our full potential this year and find the purpose we have dreamt of. Achieve something with our horses maybe?
What if we don’t need any of that? Can we truly be happy exactly where we are right now? Can we know we are where we are meant to be and be content with that? I believe it is only a matter of perspective.
If we can feel grateful for every thing life brings us good and bad and know it is part of our unique path in life we are more at peace. Knowing we are enough and sticking to our own truth , looking within and knowing what gives our life meaning. This gives us freedom from the pressure to perform, we can keep to our inner sense of purpose.
We are all connected and therefore being conscious of the impact we have on others human, animal, the planet and beyond is important. It matters, how we impact one person as it may lead on to how they impact another! Food for thought. Lets hope we can all strive for the most beneficial ways to impact one another next year and beyond.
I have been fortunate to be able to share what I love The Waterhole Rituals ™ I hope the people and horses I meet feel it has had a beneficial impact. I know many do. My wish for this year is to connect in person with as many of you as possible, to continue to share what has bought so much meaning and joy to me and to keep being part of the wonderful kindness I feel within the clinics we experience together. When we meet I know we will be exactly where we are meant to be. For me I am always ready for the next gift from my horses as well as yours. Often they are more than any goal I would have set out to achieve it is so exciting when the unexpected happens.
Wishing everyone Health, Happiness and Horses! not only for the new year but for life.
We are growing what Carolyn Resnick calls the 5 heartfelt strings of connection, most days they are feeling pretty good now and he seeks my company, I know from my experience with the girls that you can always work on them and deepen the bond you share, the trust between you, the mutual respect for each other, the willingness and focus. I know he is feeling keen to share time with me doing nothing as well as doing something together, he loves new requests and is very happy when he understands the request! Then he will willingly oblige. He is so clever and loves to be told so!