Carolyn Resnick Horsemanship: Liberty Horse Training

The Foundation for All Equestrian Pursuits Through the Horse-Human Connection.

MaryGaye and Cowboy

Carolyn encourages her students to have a child-like imagination when working with their horses. So, when Easter rolled around this year, I tried to imagine how that most child-like activity, Easter egg hunting, might improve my relationship and leadership with my big, lead horse, Cowboy. Here’s what happened…

Cowboy and MaryGayeOver the past two years, the Waterhole Rituals have helped me bring out Cowboy’s best qualities. Cowboy went from being dominant and stubborn to being cooperative and compliant. With the Waterhole Rituals, Cowboy and I have had many beautiful dances together at Liberty. However, there are times when I ask Cowboy to come with me and he says “no”. It may be because he is busy with something else (like waiting to be fed, grazing or napping), or it may be that I have asked him to go to a place he’s not sure he wants to go (like on trails through the woods). When this happens, it’s my job to figure out how to get him to pay attention to me and willingly go where I ask.

This is what I imagined Easter egg hunting could do to help me with this dilemma:

1) Easter egg hunting will persuade Cowboy to … Read more

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.  However, you can only do this if the horse is not looking at you and not paying any attention to you.

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 properly, 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 … Read more

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 … Read more

Sharing territory by Sally Adam

Sally horses lyingIf you’ve followed Carolyn’s blog for any length of time, you’ll know she’s big on “sharing territory”. And if you’re anything like me, you think to yourself: “What a waste of time. I wanna train my horse, not sit around gazing at my navel. Anyway, I’m far too busy for such foolishness.”

Carolyn makes all sorts of claims about the benefits of sharing territory. It’ll deepen your relationship with your horse. Problems you are having with your horse will just magically vanish. And so on. All pretty flakey, really.

When I started playing with the Waterhole Rituals, just a few months after getting my first horse (my girlish pony phase only started in my late 40’s), I swished a reed around and Lead from Behind and was impressed with the results, enough to make me want to understand the rituals better. I signed up for the Insider’s Circle program in 2011.

To start with, Carolyn announced, we would be spending two weeks sharing territory with our horse. I was appalled. I was resistant. For heaven’s sake – I’m spending money to be told to sit in a chair and ignore my horse? It turns out, … Read more

_DSC0783While we are growing as a business and a family, I have realized that I need to have a systematic, standard way of teaching that is consistent with how I want my Method taught to the public.  This is to make sure that anything that is stated as “The Carolyn Resnick Method” is truly taught with my blessing, my knowledge and is taught the way I want it to be, with as much safety and integrity as possible.

My Method has grown organically over the years and many of my old trainers did not keep up with their training or take continued education classes with me, as required to keep their certification current. Continued education classes included learning new techniques, new exercises, new lessons and updated programs for the way I want my Method to be taught.  Continued education is needed to keep the trainers up to date in the same way teachers, insurance agents, real estate brokers or psychologists need to keep their licenses current.

Photo by Linda Salinas

So that meant there were allot of different versions of information being taught under the guise of “The Carolyn Resnick Method” that were different than what I was teaching myself.  There was also old, … Read more

Photo by Teddie ZieglerPausing before giving your horse a request gives you enough time to gain the full attention of your horse. Pausing between each request will bring excellent timing to your communication aids.  It will also give you enough time to read your horse properly.

Using the pause as a training aid will give your horse time to process and respond, or not, and this will create an indelible desire in your horse to follow your lead.  Using the pause rather than a push with correction, and asking in a relaxed manner, will help to keep you in the flow of the moment and the dance alive and connected.  It will develop a proactive behavior as a leader; pausing instead of pushing and correcting, bringing you a better approach to horse training in general.  Focusing on asking in the right way, rather than expecting a certain response, brings training to an art and opens the door to the magic. What we are looking for is dependability and a forever growing deeper relationship.

Photo by Teddie Ziegler

There is a magnetic connection that horses share and when this is gained in a way that the horse is not forced, in a proactive style, this gives the horse … Read more

Photo by Teddie ZieglerA good thing to know about training horses is that when you introduce something new to a horse for the first time it is natural for him to not know what you are asking.  Saying that, it is still our responsibility to set him up to be prepared and willing to figure out what we are asking him to do.  That means giving requests in smaller or easier segments in order to prepare your horse for the next part of his training.  You would not start training your horse to jump a 6 foot fence if he had never jumped before.

Someone said on my last blog that she felt the horse I had talked about in that blog was frustrated because he didn’t understand what was being asked of him.   She may have been correct in her assumption, but it brought up a subject that I would like to discuss with everyone today.

It is natural in nature that everything is learned from not knowing. 

Photo by Teddie ZieglerAnd this is what makes horses easier to train than people.  So if you run into this problem with your horse and you feel he is frustrated choose an exercise that you have confidence … Read more

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