Aug 16th, 2012 by Carolyn Resnick
A Powerful Ritual -
What I am going to share with you is a story from my book that I decided not to publish. This chapter is on Sharing Territory, the most powerful Ritual of my program because of the magic that has come from it. This is where bonded relationships develop with horses without any effort and people become better leaders. There is a deep awareness that opens the door to leadership behaviors that are more effective and desirable.
I also want to point out something that people are still a bit confused about. Your horse may never come to you while Sharing Territory. However, Sharing Territory still grows the connection no matter what. The shear act of Sharing Territory will create as much magic with your horse whether he is at your side or he never acknowledges you. It is about the evolution of Sharing Territory and becoming connected through sharing vibrations that the moment and territory create in you and your horse. The horse is completely aware that you feel a bond towards him by Sharing Territory. This cases the horse to then bond to you.
I Want to Share a Story with You -
I want to share a story on the power of the first Ritual because this ritual alone can often fix negative behavior in horses. This story took place around 1954 just after the time I identified the purpose of the rituals and how to use the rituals natural to horses as a way to develop a working relationship. At this time in my life I relied heavily on this first ritual to help me in my small time horse training business when I knew nothing in how to train a horse.
I was thirteen and had been training horses with behavior problems for three years from my family’s ranch in Indio Calif. Basically what was working for me was sharing territory with bad behavior horses until they bonded with me and had no more reason to exhibit negative behavior. I found that any training method was easy to apply after I had bonded with a horse from sharing territory. Because the rituals not only build trust, respect and a horses desire to be lead I could train a horse for events in competition that I was unfamiliar with because of the extreme cooperation of my horses to support me though my lack of skill when using a horse training method for the first time.
In 1954 I had been showing and placing well in three-gaited competitions at open class A shows on my American Saddle bred mare, Sweetie Pie, that I had trained myself. (Her registered name was Murrieta Marjoline) She was a horse that by using this ritual alone fixed all of her behavioral problems. When I acquired her she was being used for practice as a bucking horse at the Sheriff posies grounds because she could not be ridden since she had a bad habit of bucking.
Through sharing territory she stopped bucking and even though she was the first horse I had ever trained for a gaited class, it was very easy to train her after she had bonded with me. It was showing her that lead me to the story I am about to share with you.
It was at the shows that I learned the depth of how this first ritual can affect the behavior of a horse. The shows I attended were open to all breeds and classes in Western and English divisions which included hunters and jumpers. Shows lasted about a week to 10 days. There were hundreds of entries and everyone boarded their horses on the fairgrounds. I slept on the grounds with my horse, as many people did, and I got to know most of the trainers and their entries. Because I only had one horse to show and classes started early in the morning and continued through the day and into the night, I had plenty of time to watch the classes and get to know the horses. I became interested in picking out the horse I thought was the ultimate champion at the show. In my search I discovered one of the most consistently winning champion horses was a palomino stallion by the name of Palomino Peavine, an American Saddle bred who competed in the parade class. The class was to depict the qualities you would like a parade horse to have in a real parade. For this class a horse needed to have charisma, a trust worthy charter and an even extravagant parade gate that was not too fast. Palomino Peavine was undefeated, always winning champion and many times high point champion of the show. From all the horses he seemed exemplary and needed to be a true champion. I saw all of his performances that I could. I must have seen at least 50 classes extending over a two-year period at the Indio, Del Mar, Santa Barbara and the Pomona fair grounds.
Not only was Peavine an undefeated champion parade horse. He was an extraordinary color. If you laid a gold coin on his coat it would be a perfect match. His mane was as white as a bed sheet without the need to enhance the color. He was not as tall as most Saddle breds but he was stronger and sturdier of all the horses at the show and he had more charisma and pride, which made him appear much larger than he was. I got to visit him before and after his classes. There I got to see him tacked up, groomed, bathed and hand walked. I was so taken with him that after he was put up at night I would stay with him until he finished his dinner.
What I learned about Palomino Peavine was that he was a difficult stallion. He was as difficult on the ground as he was dependable under saddle. They had to have a special stallion handler to manage him at the barn site. When he was led they had to have a chain over his nose and watch every move he made or else he would turn on his handler. When they walked him at night to cool him down I had to keep least 30 feet away in order to give the handler enough room to handle Peavine’s out bursts of aggression.
The people who were his trainers and handlers were aware of my devotion and were amenable to how much time I was spending with their horse when he was loose in his stall. They had to keep his top stall door closed because he would try to pull people into his stall if they got into grabbing distance to Peavine. Even though his stall door was closed and I could not see him and he could not see me, without looking through the cracks, I still sat out side his stall during his dinner. I would look through the slats on occasion to see if Peavine would look back at me and most often he would come over to the crack and acknowledge me with a look. At first he appeared mad that I was there but after awhile he begin to expect my visits and enjoyed my company, even though we could not see each other. When he was finished with his food many times he would go to sleep with his nose close to the little crack that I watched him through. When I would sit with him at night I asked myself how Peavine could be so perfectly trustworthy during his competition and so dangerous on the ground. The answer originated from a feeling I got from being with him. The answer was that Peavine, though he loved performing and enjoyed being the center of attention, did not like his life at the barn site because he felt captured and isolated in his stall. He was no longer the center of attention. He felt that humans were his biggest problem. Even though every one treated him well he felt deserted and uncared for between his performances. Peavine’s charisma and desire to show off were the reason he was a great competitive horse. It was this same nature that allowed him to be able to express his resentment, more than most horses could express, to being the subject of isolation and lock up.
A Changed Champion Horse -
I changed his attitude towards humans from the companionship he experienced from my visits. I made the barn site pleasurable to him from fulfilling his need for companionship and Peavine settled down at the show. He started enjoying being un-tacked because I was there with him keeping him company. He began to have fewer out brakes of bad behavior. His behavior changed enough that they were able to leave his Dutch door open without the fear that he might injure someone walking by his stall. When I would go to watch him get tacked up he would call to me and exhibit an unusually soft eye that everyone noticed and they figured out that his attitude change was due to the relationship he was sharing with me from this stall at night.
The trainer said that he thought it would be possible for me to hand walk him after the classes. They thought by my walking him he would settle down even more. At first the handler came with us and I had to walk him with the chain, but in very short order is was obvious that Peavine was as solid on the ground as he was in his performances. I was allowed to walk him on my own without the chain. Peavine’s ground manners became as dependable as he was in his classes under saddle. Those walks were as rewarding for me as they were for Peavine.
From the Horse’s Point of View -
`From a horse’s point of view it is all about the bond and need for a dependable partnership. Many times bad behavior is not the horse’s fault but rather that his emotional needs are not being met. Because horses are herd animals, especial for stallions, they never loose sight of their need for community companionship. A stallion is driven to form a community of his own and doesn’t rest until these needs are satisfied. My sharing territory with a horse helps to fill this community connection they so desperately crave. For most horses to be isolated in a stall or any other form of isolation is emotional devastating. Not providing for this need can create negative behaviors.
Many times providing this ritual in a horse’s life will bring surprising results in changing bad behavior to a trusted partnership. A partnership to a horse is developed from companionship interactions and Sharing Territory. From Peavine’s point of view his companionship interaction needs were being met through his performance but he was not getting his territory sharing needs fulfilled.
From Palomino Peavine to today there are hundreds of success stories I have experienced from this ritual alone. This is why I am sharing this ritual with you. It will open many doors to a true heart felt connection with horses.
If you have a story to share about a special horse and an amazing story, please share it with us on the blog.
Have a great weekend and remember to watch out for new horse and human sightings. May the horse be with you.