The “Waterhole Rituals” are the tea ceremony to develop a harmonious relationship with a horse and with life. It is a continual practice in awareness and being present to the moment.

Photo by Sharolyn Wandzura Horse Portrait

The Waterhole Rituals create a deep friendship with a horse and a working bond that is the foundation for all equestrian pursuits. The Waterhole Rituals develop a horse that wants to learn and perform the task at hand while creating a feeling of well-being in a horse along with an optimistic attitude for what he does – the opposite of a trained bear.

What I find is that horses in general receive their well-being from sharing companionship with one another and enjoy this kind of relationship with humans too. However we do a lot to spoil this by not fulfilling their companionship need by the way we house them and the way we go about training them.

All the Waterhole Rituals are focused on developing a certain quality of connection that is present in a relationship where the bond is deep. I call these separate qualities of connection that each Ritual develops in a horse “the heart felt strings of connection” because they are the vibrations that exist when hearts are open and when there is a willingness to connect with one another.

Heart Felt Strings of Connection

These heart felt strings of connection are present in all relationships in all living things. Relationships grow when focus and attention has been given to developing the strings of connection. The ability to live and dance in harmony is increased when communication occurs in the moment that the relationship is strongly felt. If any of the strings of connection are broken from your leadership communication the bond will return stronger than ever, if at the time of the disconnect all the strings of connection were originally present.

Photo by Sharolyn Wandzura Horse Portrait

The continued practice of “Sharing Territory Ritual” grows the bond. The continued practice of the “Hello Ritual” grows the trust. The “Taking Territory Ritual” (when needed) builds the respect and order. With continued practice the “Leading From Behind Ritual” builds willingness. With continued practice the “Eye Contact Ritual” builds interest and attention. The “Companion Walking Ritual” is dancing in unity and the last “Liberty Dancing Ritual” is a gift of spontaneous expression you share together in harmony. These last two Waterhole Rituals are the gifts of dancing in unity and harmony with your horse from the result of your continued practice of the Waterhole Rituals.

All the Waterhole Rituals have all of the heart felt stings of connection in them in some form. When all these strings are shared both parties are aware of the needs of the other before their own needs and the relationship is at its best. Each “Waterhole Ritual” develops each string. For example, The “Sharing Territory Ritual” is about growing the bond but at the same time the other strings of connection (trust, respect, willingness, attention) are there and being practiced.


For my students to get the most benefit from each Ritual it is important to see all the strings of connection that are being developed within each Ritual’s practice. For example the “Hello Ritual” is about building the trust, but while it is building the trust it is also growing the bond as the trust is grown. Respect is growing from the fact that when your horse does not want you to approach him, you leave him alone by walking away from him when he walks away from you. The willingness is grown from the respect you offer to your horse. The focus is growing because of the attention you expect your horse to give you when you are walking up to your horse and want to be acknowledged. In the moment of the hello’s touch, all the strings are vibrating and we are only focused on developing the trust that the “Hello Ritual” is meant to provide.

Upcoming Clinics

From the practice of the Rituals and working on relationships with horses your horsemanship can’t help but to grow. You are employing the language of horsemanship and the language of the bond at the same time, creating the ultimate dance of harmony through relationship. If you would like to take your understanding of the Waterhole Rituals to the next level join us in California at the end of May 2013 for a 5 day clinic! Learn more and signup here >

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Have a great weekend!
Be on the lookout for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.



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