Sep 26th, 2013 by Carolyn Resnick
The Waterhole Rituals follow a universal code of conduct that is not only a sacred journey, but a practical one as well. In this approach your horse helps you to develop your leadership by the way you choose to communicate and your horse’s response to it. Your leadership, along with your relationship, is built on trial and error as your horse guides you in your approach. Give and take / take and give, creates the path you will take to be able to dance with your horse at liberty.
There is a natural code of conduct for building social behaviour that is natural to horses. It is used to develop unity and harmony with in the herd.
Here is how the code works – when a horse approaches another horse, the approaching horse needs to fit in and follow the horse whose territory he is entering. This understanding is natural to herd animals and is a universal way most animals respond to one another. When a herd is moving together as one this understanding is what keeps the order and unity flowing. This simple code of conduct is how to go about developing the foundation training of a horse. Tack, sacking a horse out, “making a horse feel trapped until he performs”, and the “old western traditions” are all unnecessary and unneeded. The horse choosing to be a willing partner or not, is his right and privilege.
An example of this code of conduct that is natural to us in our world, is when we go to someone’s house for dinner. We are in their world and we follow the customs of the home we are visiting and vice versa.
A horse will seek leadership when trust is developed in the moments of well being from the natural process of a bond through Sharing Territory. It is important that the horse comes to you rather than you seeking the horse, or trying to draw him to you, or wish that he would seek you out. Vibrations at this time are fragile. While waiting for the bond to deepen take this time to become completely calm and relaxed and want nothing. This will help to evolve the bond more quickly. Go back to the time when being with a horse that has no interest in you was enough for you to feel a deep bond. Sharing Territory is where you find the magic. In this state a horse has more trust in you. In this state, the door of connection is opened. Empathy between you and your horse, begins to influence your leadership behavior.
So how and where does the leadership begin and why?
Horses are herd animals and follow pecking order. I prefer to call it “picking order” because it has a purpose to create unity and harmony, friendships, and family rather than a “dog eat dog” reason for being. They are social animals and need companionship for their well being. No matter where a horse is in the pecking order he desires to be lead to feel secure. Wait for a horse to seek you out. Then wait tell he becomes rude. Horses bond and then move into rudeness. It is the evolution of the bonding practices of horses. This rude behaviour is an invitation from your horse that he wants you to respond as his leader. When he chooses to enter your territory, he understands he needs to listen to you and respect your feelings. As the evolution of the bond continues to grow the horse then expects you to focus on how close or how far he can be in relationship to you through your guidance. Timing and development is the key. How you go about managing your personal space is crucial to developing your relationship with your horse. At this point you need to take an active role and test his ability to fit in with you by using flexible boundaries to let him know how you want to be treated.
When you Share Territory be sure that you pick a spot that the horse must come to you, so it is clear that he is entering your Territory and the code of conduct comes into play that puts you as his leader.
Where to put your focus in the leadership role
By using flexible boundaries you can show your horse how he needs to be with you just like dating in our own culture. Shaping the horses social behaviour, your leadership becomes more respected. It is a courtship where the horse will try to step over the boundaries, putting you in a position to take on a leadership role. This is simple. This code of conduct when followed, creates a harmonious relationship born between you.
Taking the time to develop a bond, the bond spontaneously takes place. Once the bond is established, a common understanding is born that brings well being, harmony, and order to the relationship. Compassion for one another’s view point begins to develop and the relationship takes a life on its own.
We need to take the leadership role with the horse for several reasons. Most importantly, in the world of horses, the horse that creates politeness and order is seen as the leader without question, and horses are naturally looking for leadership. When a horse seeks your company, the horse will push you to lead him or her so the horse can get to know you better and to entice you to take leadership. From the rudeness the horse offers, you need to direct the horse for your comfort and safety, it is just a natural process that the horse will lead you to.
This Relationship you share with your horse is a dance in harmony and disharmony. These ups and downs are caused by upholding the code of conduct with one another. Through this process of training a horse from working with this code of conduct, one learns how not to nurture unwanted behavior that would cause a horse to lose social responsibility and forget to follow the natural code of conduct that is natural to him.
With you as your horses’ leader, when the bond is mutual and in the moment, the relationship is dynamic, alive and growing. Be kind ,be strong, be not afraid to be real. Remember in this program both you and your horse have no fault insurance.
Whoopi whang joy!!