Why would we desire a Working Bond with our horse.

When I re-homed Chester as a project pony from World Horse Welfare I had no idea how our future together would look. All I knew was that he looked very wonky but seemed to want to be with me.

I spent a long time sharing territory with him this is the first of Carolyn Resnick’s rituals she developed from her study of wild horses. We would spend time in the same area, him with hay and water me with a chair and a book. This grew a bond between us. I needed to have boundaries around him exploring me as he used to be a biter, I let him sniff my boots but I was always ready to move him away before he got tempted to bite.

As he became more settled and we grew more and more bonded I took him through the whole program of The Resnick Liberty Horsemanship method, it was good for me revisiting the things I teach others in clinics with a new horse myself. He became very willing to please and I enjoyed thinking up new ways to work with him at liberty. Trailer loading at liberty.

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He had grown a strong work ethic and enjoyed new challenges we call this a working bond.

I had some help on the ground and started him in riding, this he found a little exciting and he was prone to a spook. I continued to work on his focus ( One of the five strings of connection we grow with our horse) This was always and sometimes still is his ritual that needs returning to.

I helped him become straighter in his body and build up strength using liberty, lunging and in hand work. Had we not grown a working bond through time spent in the Waterhole rituals first I think this would have been much harder I was able to keep my boundaries around nibbles and work with him in a soft way. Force never works with horses we want to have them say yes to our requests so we must develop a working bond together if we wish to train them or ride them. I have had lesson with Joyce Mulder for many years and when I heard she was coming over to teach a clinic I jumped at the chance to take Chester. His least favorite thing is in hand work and I have had to take it very slowly with him I was looking forward to some pointers.

I had not taken him away from home since before Covid struck and never to a big busy yard. We would also be working in an indoor arena something we had never done.

He found it all very exciting but soon settled enough for me to get some nice lateral moves in hand and even some nice ridden work. I think going slightly out of our comfort zone and finding a way to work together in a strange environment has grown our working bond even more.

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If you wish to have a harmonious relationship with your horse and build a strong ‘work ethic’ time spent building that at liberty where your horse has a choice may seem slow to start with but it makes everything take far less effort and becomes far more fun. Chester showing he can stay focused enough to offer some quarters in.

Love Jayne x

A weekend break in Dartmoor.

My Husband and I had a weekend break in Dartmoor recently and on our last day headed further north to stop for lunch on our way home. We drove past a stream surrounded by open moor and thought it looked a good place to stop. We took our dogs with us and they love a paddle. We headed uphill looking behind us for landmarks as it can be easy to get lost on Dartmoor across the road was a large tor with some sparse trees at the top I looked at this Andy looked at farmland beyond the moor.

We crossed over the lane we had driven down at one point and as we headed away we spotted some Dartmoor ponies in the distance, they looked a long way off so we didn’t think we would make it all the way uphill to the high point where they were.

As we got closer we heard a loud whinny and a grey came charging over to the group of bays. He headed straight for a bay on the edge of the group and they both made aggressive noises, turned and kicked, the intruder retreated quickly. Of course this all got my interest and I had to see if the grey was the stallion I suspected he was.

He was and we sat on a rock some distance away letting them get used to us and the dogs, who luckily are very well behaved and will sit and wait when told to. It was so lovely and peaceful so we were in no hurry to leave. The stallion had a look at us and positioned himself between us and his mares moving them to where he wanted them.

Thanks to Carolyn Resnick and all I have learnt from her and indeed the many horses I have been fortunate to meet teaching her method I could easily see how the interactions between these wild ponies relates to her methods on bonding and being accepted by horses.

I wasn’t planning on any more than enjoying watching them, however they seemed relaxed and I slowly moved closer. If the stallion looked at me I stopped, he would then go back to grazing. I didn’t retreat as he seemed happy so long as he could stop me. I knew if I went too close too quickly he would move his mares on. This all took some time with me stopping and pausing a fair bit.

Two mares close to the stallion even started grooming near me. They all looked very well and not thin even in the harsh surroundings and lack of grass.

Eventually I managed to be right in the middle of the herd, there was one mare who was well away from the main group and I wondered if she might let me close but she went to leave so I left and she continued eating. They seemed a very harmonious band and were all relaxed.

I had been in the middle of the herd for some time and the stallion seemed interested so I approached him getting closer he almost looked like he might come over but didn’t seem aggressive or worried. It was a wonderful feeling to be that close to him and his mares. I truly do believe animals are so much more tuned in to our intentions than we are. I knew he was no threat and he knew I wasn’t I think if I spent longer he would have become more interested which could be wonderful but also he was a wild stallion so I would always be prepared. He gave me a great feeling looking right at me and me at him It felt like mutual respect which of course is what we wish to develop with our domestic horses. It is an important part of a relationship. With that in mind it was getting near lunch time and with very patient dogs and a hungry husband I felt very lucky to have spent time here.

As we headed back down hill we came across the other band of ponies that the intruded had been chased back to. They seemed much braver and were closer to the road, although still on open moorland. My husband managed to get really close to them too and he commented ” This stuff you do does seem to work” He has obviously been watching me!

I do hope you enjoy the ponies as much as we did.

Love Jayne x

Connection and Relationship.

I recently received an email from a long time participant of many of my clinics. She was talking about the nuance between the two words Relationship and Connection.

This is some of the email she sent. The lady in question is an artist.

hi again. I’ve been thinking about the nuance between the word ‘relationship’ and the word ‘connection’. You use the word ‘connection’ in your headings and your ‘name’ so to speak.

Well. in Art the concept of ‘relationship’ is central to all art and image-making.

And inside that bigger picture lives a magical special jewel, a priceless and fugitive grace, which we may support but cannot  control. That loves invitation but we cannot ‘make’. That we can dispell in a moment, but cannot pin down, cannot Will into existance and will shy away at the merest wiff of force, co-ercion or hidden agendas, at the slightest hint of deception, betrayal or even mechanical action devoid of presence. If relationshipping happens in a generally sound and trustworthy way, then only a fractional moment of internal shying away, a glazing over or a moment of blankness or dismay or other such may come about. If relationshipping gives signs of unsoundness and unreliability, then this mutual, free, equisite and fugitive visitation may not easily appear no matter how one may yearn unknowingly for it. 

But it starts within. How can a relationship be found with another living being, without a ground of depth in relation with one’s self? 

Horse interests herself in truth, in what she can trust. Not interested in concepts of perfection, or how things look on the surface. She concerns herself with how reliably she can be safe enough to offer more –  so exquisite and fugitive that the word ‘connection’ does it no favours. But the word will have to do despite its failure to even begin to evoke the timelessness and ego-less-ness of the thing.

This honesty may involve declaring to the Horse that, for example, I’m affected by something that happened earlier in the day and making it clear that I don’t want to make this her problem, and that it doesn’t belong to her, these feelings. 

That ‘my’ agitation comes not because of something that I can see outside the arena and she can’t. I feel agitated, I work to regulate myself, I recognise this state in my body, working through (or will deal with later, etc). And I will leave if need be.

In other words, I know she will see and feel my state anyway, and if I’m trustworthy I will inform her of the source of it and not try to ‘leave it outside of the gate’ as so many well meaning folk might advise. (Suppressing something makes me less trustworthy and reliable, not more so, in my opinion). 

So .. this is my musing and wondering, about how ‘relationship’ and ‘connection’ might interact. I think there are many forms of ‘connection’ and some of them are highly toxic and others are exquisite. When the self relates compassionately and with understanding within the self, then a quality of relating can arise toward others, and a horse being the ‘other’ in question, a field starts to form. And arising within that field may form what we cannot ‘make’ but can allow. And we call that ‘connect’. And I may call it Grace should a word be necessary for what has no word, nor shape, but lives between two beings – both of them and more than them. H

I am still reading this and will respond more in time. This is my reply so far.

Just like people some horses want to connect and form a cross species bond others don’t so much. Also just like people we find ourselves more drawn to some animals than others all these very simple things play a part. Knowing how to be transparent to a horse is part of allowing the connection to happen. I use that word because to me I can feel an energetic bond when a horse connects with me. Sometimes it will be fragile, it will ebb and flow I have to bare my soul and be transparent a horse can ‘feel’ who we are. We can use time sharing territory to help reset ourselves if we have worries or feel agitated. It is time well spent, there is never a rush to ‘do’ more. of course when we come transparent and honest we will be more attractive to a horse and if they are looking for a relationship with us it will be more appealing when we have an inner peace and a calm quiet mind. We can share territory and wait for the bond to form until we feel ‘at peace’. Without this I think our communication with our horse will be fuddled and unclear. We will be missing that elusive grace and gratitude.

Words like Relationship and Connection are never enough to describe some of encounters we can share with horses.

We can learn to use interactions that horses understand and we can learn how to use body language that they understand but to truly feel an offered not trained or fake connection with a horse you and the horse have to want it and be open to feeling it and allowing it to flow between you.

Please share your thoughts and comment below.

Love Jayne x


When we come to our horse we normally go to him for a reason, maybe to cater for his daily needs in some way, maybe to work with him in some way.

What ever the reason, I would highly recommend that we check in with ourselves first.

I always get reminded, when I meet people and horses in clinics about the basics of our nature and our horses nature, we are after all very different. It must be very difficult sometimes for our horses to understand how we operate, especially when we can be unsure ourselves sometimes.

I think we can be clearer for our horse if we truly know our intentions, even if it is our intention to share territory with our horse and find a neutral state. We may still have to be clear, if our horse comes to investigate us and gets pushy, if we need a boundary around our personal space, we must know what our intention is and how we will go about communicating this clearly but fairly to our horse , in a way he understands.

Being present and mindful to his needs and communication is key. If our horse can see that we will first listen to his slightest communication to us, he will trust that we may be worth listening to as well. He may feel more secure with us and seek our leadership. Enjoy interactions where we share a language that we both understand. It starts with clear intentions and knowing how to communicate them to our horse, without confusing him.

Maya here in the picture is very clear in her communication and if I respect that. She knows I understand her.

Know what your intentions are, be flexible in your plan but always listen and be clear, we can always walk away at liberty and pause, give ourselves time to sort out our intentions.

Love Jayne x

Trinny and Tonto

My daughter has two ponies. My grandaughters both love them very much, they have done some groundwork and a little liberty with them as well as riding. I see them sometimes when I bring them in on occasion and when they come over here to ride in the arena. They are very different in character and of course Tonto is a gelding and Trinny a mare.

While the girls were away with their Dad my daughter Giulia bought them both over for a little play at liberty. Trinny is very bonded to her, Tonto is too but not so much as 12yr old Maisie is his main human.

We took one each and seeing it would be harder to create connection with Tonto I worked with him a little bit. He is a great first horse for Maisie and they have a good ridden relationship as well as on the ground. He can be lively, but also sceptical and takes his time to trust. He can also makes his opinions very clear and likes people to be clear with him. He takes his time to make his mind up sometimes and you can see him thinking. I worked a little bit on trust and willingness, his focus was good and he is very polite. He started to offer me more companionship and connection. At the end we decided to work them together a little bit. I think they would be great working together at liberty and would enjoy the team work. For a first time I could not have asked more. I will work on Tonto not getting ‘stuck’ and once he understands more I feel this will vanish quickly. Here they are, not my horses and first time at liberty with me and both together. Horses are so generous.

If you never try something new you will never know if you should have tried it! However always bear in mind you ask when your horse is willing and you have a fair chance of them saying YES even if this takes a while.

Good luck experimenting.

Love Jayne x

The Working bond and Posture at Liberty.

Creating a ‘Working bond’

By encouraging a strong work ethic in our horse and a working bond which comes through the relationship we share, we can indeed influence our horses posture at liberty. Our relationship with him needs to be one where we make requests that are fair, clear, and in the moment when he will say yes! With total freedom the horse then has a choice, if we make requests when he is willing and focused he chooses to give us his very best effort. When he trusts his mind, body and spirit to us we form this ‘working bond’. The Waterhole Rituals have lead me to seek this bond with my horses before anything else. When our horse gives this freely there is no tension and we respect his wishes. We listen to how he feels about the training that we are doing. We reward his efforts and thank him for them. Of course building this working bond takes time and every horse is different. I love to see my horses proud and using their bodies in a healthy way with correct posture.

Ask the horse when the horse is willing.

Once we have his trust and willingness then we can  learn how to influence his body without force, either at liberty or with tack. We need to understand why we would want to do this after all we have developed an amazing relationship, what more could we want?

If we desire a ridden partnership which also embraces trust and willingness it is mutually beneficial to help our horses feel good in their posture.  even if we don’t ride, we can still help our horses to experience less strain on their bodies, to feel proud and to enjoy their ‘work/ Play’ time with us.

A ridden partnership which embraces Trust and willingness is mutually beneficial.

When our horse finds physical balance as well as the mental and emotional balance we have built up at liberty , it makes riding easier for us and he carries us more comfortably and with less effort. He trusts us and gives us his focus this makes riding almost telepathic, aids can be  minimal and a true two way conversation emerges.

 If you don’t think Liberty can help improve a horses posture on the ground or in riding, I would love to share this message, it can. As always it depends on us, we need to aquire the knowledge to do these things, we need to know what our intentions are and be clear for our horse. Time spent as the student is time well spent, it is never ending. Ultimately if we start with ourselves and our relationship with our horse, what may have seemed impossible becomes possible.

When we make requests of our horses in the flow of connection we know how and when to request something to which he will say yes. This is the art of dressage, this creates a leader our horse will wish to follow. We do not encounter resistance as we orchestrate the dance to be one he wishes to perform.

Dressage for the horse will always consider his feelings. Will never involve force and requires a calm mind for horse and rider. Often when we are in this state of oneness together, my horses will offer far more than expected.

We can use our horses natural pride in himself when moving to encourage engagement. When it becomes a dance instead of  ‘ training’ the flow of energy between us can truly allow his expression to shine through.

From Reflections on Equestrian Art, by Nuno Oliveira.

“ Never ask more than he is capable of giving. Make him a companion, and not a slave, then you will see what a true friend he is.”

A little bit of bitless, bareback and liberty riding. Mutual Trust and connection. We have a truly 50/50 relationship and a working bond together.

Love Jayne x

Kent clinic.

On the 12th of July I eventually got out of the house, I was waiting for the heat to subside. I packed my reeds and carrots and I set out for Sevenoaks it was a three and half hour drive so I was very pleased I took the advice of the amazing organiser Kas Fitzpatrick and left the night before the clinic.

I had met Kas when she came down to Somerset. Lots of people were asking if I would go to Kent but nobody stepped up with a venue or to help organise. Kas saw this on social media and stepped in having experience in running clinics for other trainers, she did a fabulous and professional job. She filled the clinic with people she was in contact with and what a great group they were!

We started sharing territory with a lovely horse who lived at Great Dunton Green farm Liveries ( the venue) it was the perfect venue and Rachel who runs it as a track livery was great allowing people to camp with their horses! One even had an umbrella for shade as this was one of the hottest weekends of the year.

After sharing territory as a group and a short explanation of the Waterhole Rituals and the method we got started. During the weekend we worked on settling a horse who was not happy in the environment. He was a young horse and not experienced at going out. I did a short session with him and we put him away, bringing him back later at the end of day. This meant he was much more settled.

We worked on reading our horse in the hello ritual these ladies knew what they were doing! I also bought in Focus early on when it was needed as we need this to say hello. We introduced and discussed working with food, how to use the reed, one pile of hay exercise and some leading from behind when appropriate.

It was great to chat over dinner and relax afterwards at the venue in the cooler evening air. Finding lots of common ground and enjoying the conversation.

Day two we introduced some to 5 piles of hay, lots of these horses were very connected to their humans and we had lots of connection when we built it up with the first 5 rituals. Companion walking and even liberty with two horse’s in Leading from behind and companion walking. Even some trot.

I have had some wonderful updates already from some who took part and it sounds like they are really running with it.

Here is a little snippet of our clinic.

Huge thanks to all who took part, and Kas for her organising , gazebos for shade and ice lollies even!!

Love Jayne x

Meet my two friends. Grace and Ease.

I recently had a birthday it was a biggie! I had some fabulous treats, fun times with family and friends and lovely cards and birthday wishes.

One birthday wish reminded me about these two old friends, Grace and Ease. They come together so well, hand in hand even. Keeping them with me, and with my horses, helped enormously but also keeping them close by in life.

When we can walk with Grace, be gracious, often it leads us to negotiate things with Ease. When we find a way into ease with our horses often they share their Grace and Ease with us. If we can pause for a moment and feel how we can bring Grace and Ease into whatever we are doing with our horses ( and humans!) it makes life more harmonious. My horse who has, along with my friend and mentor who sent the birthday wish, taught me to live with these two friends, Grace and Ease has it in bucket loads.

This was not always the case. When I was in a hurry looking for how to get to the goal, instead of enjoying the process of how to get there, we did not enjoy Grace and Ease between us. She lead me to find a true inspiration in her and in my human guide, who sent me the message. We live together enjoying our time with Grace and Ease, enjoying the experience’s we have shared that have bought us to this point in life. We are both older, hopefully wiser and operate with more Grace and Ease.

My great and graceful horse Noonoo finds a way to fit in with the horses and humans she has in her life, I see her leading, following, staying out of the way. Watching the other two, both still learning how to find the Grace and Ease she has.

A tango not the dance you would say has the most Grace and Ease, more dramatic, but it did feel that way with her. It just happened and felt great.

I hope my two friends Grace and Ease become your friends too.

Thank you Carolyn Resnick for my birthday message.

Love Jayne. x

Magical, Mystical,Connection!

Working with horses at liberty why? Well there are many reasons. There are lots of trainers now and lots of approach’s. Some work on tricks, some use clickers, some using halters to teach patterns and then repeat them at liberty once the horse has been drilled. Lots of different approaches of course some allow the horse more freedom of choice than others. A short definition is freedom from control, force and restriction.

Lots of different trainers teaching non liberty based training are incorporating liberty into their programs. It may all work, it certainly does seem to have caught on, which has to be good.

One of the main benefits for us, I believe, is we see the truth. The truth about how our horse feels and some truths about ourselves too. I find myself asking this question to clients ” what are your hopes for learning this way to interact with your horse?” Often people want a better relationship, or a way to communicate with their horse more clearly sometimes they are looking for something else to do with their horse. I don’t often hear they want more connection. This is a grey area. Connection means different things to us all. Why should we want a better connection with our horse? Well here is the big surprise, it causes us to observe, to feel, be mindful and to receive and tap into the connection the horse already knows how to share with us!!!!! Woohoo easy it is already there that mystical thing CONNECTION.

How can we discover how to feel connection? It is an art, like any masterpiece it takes practice but we can all do it. It is so much in our horses nature to seek connection. Horses seek out other horses and they make strong connections, sometimes they are ready to offer the same to us. As Humans we don’t do this as much, we are more self conscious , our minds are always on the past or the future. Our horse is in the now ready to share connection. So what if we find ways to get into the now with our horse. Horses also use certain interactions to get to know one another, to find out how another horse operates, who they are.

This is what we mimic at liberty. We start with an introduction the same as when horses meet, they need to know the other horse can be trusted. The main thing horses do together is spend time,mooching around, sleeping, snoozing, grazing. Often with what looks like nothing going on. This will be broken up by more movement, requests to each other, grooming and grazing rituals. When a horse makes a request there is a code which keeps harmony in a herd. They don’t doubt that their request will be accepted and willingly granted. We however doubt this and then we can become unclear to our horse. Even if there are what looks like disputes between horses they stay connected the next moment they will be grazing together. So it is not personal just horse business. Wouldn’t it help if we could be like that! Don’t take it personally.

I recently taught a lesson with a new horse/human partnership who I had not met, it was a lovely beautiful 3yr old mare, the owner had bred her so knew her well. We were in a paddock of maybe 3 acres with two donkeys as well. The mare was very interested in us and as I walked away she followed me, her human remarked that she will do this. She liked head rubs A LOT! I could feel that while a gentle horse she was checking me out. She was seeing if she could lead me around. It was a surprise to her owner to hear this, then the donkeys demonstrated perfectly how one could move the other around. This one revelation will turn things around for this pair. We ended with the mare offering companionship on a 50/50 basis not one partner leading the another (Which is fine so long as we know who is leading who)

This sequence of pictures shows the moments of…. An invitation to say hello and companionship and connection. With another beautiful big mare some years back in a clinic.

I wish you all lots of connection with your horses, watch out for it! don’t miss it!

LOVE Jayne.

Taking Liberty on the ground to riding.

Our horses are all different and my mentor Carolyn Resnick has a great saying “All methods work and all methods don’t work”

My horse who came to me, to lead me to find another way Xinita (aka Noonoo) Here in canter bareback and at liberty.

I never had a goal to ride at liberty, I didn’t know how to ‘train’ a horse to Liberty riding. I did seek to improve myself and my understanding of my horse and why she displayed certain behaviors I had not come across before. I was seeking for some way of having a safe harmonious relationship with her.

The old ways I did things were not for her, I really wanted a ridden partnership with her, I worked on groundwork, lunging and in hand work to help prepare her body, I did ride her, but this was not enough. We didn’t fully trust each other. Then I found Carolyn Resnick she taught me how to build a bond, trust, mutual respect, willingness and focus. The method she taught me seemed very natural to me I loved working at liberty.

As we grew in our relationship and spent time together in a neutral, calm state. The practice of Carolyn’s method grew. I found a deeper understanding of what my horse needed and how she needed me to be.

I became a certified instructor and every lesson and horse human partnership I worked with grew me as a person too, I always remain the student.

As Noonoo and I became so close through our liberty work our ridden relationship changed too. I would always connect with her at liberty first I would always check ” How are you feeling today?” Before this I would check How am I feeling today? We have to both be in the right state of mind and body to gain harmony and connection together.

So when I think about how do I take the work at liberty to riding it is easy, warm up the relationship first, check I have The bond feeling strong, fully trust each other, both show respect for each other, both be willing and happy in our environment , and be focused on each other. Then we have the connection that we can take to riding. It is a shared energy, two way communication, we both listen and sometimes both make requests.

It doesn’t matter if you wish to ride out in the woods, in the arena or paddock. It matters not what style of riding you choose, what tack you choose when you put your horses welfare first and warm up the relationship and communication that is the path to riding that feels really wonderful. That is how you take the Liberty work to the saddle and by mistake you learn if you have all that you simply ask, wow can you come over and offer to carry me? With no tack even! can we canter in total freedom together. Work as a true partnership. I can say for me it is heaven on earth.

I didn’t expect it and didn’t train it she offered it and that made it even more fantastic.

Love Jayne x