Carolyn Resnick Horsemanship: Liberty Horse Training

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

If you thought the legend of the horse whisperer was impressive, here’s an animal tale with even more bite.

Rather than trying to tame wild stallions, fearless Costa Rican fisherman Chito prefers a playful wrestle in the water with his best pal Pocho – a deadly 17ft crocodile.

The 52-year-old daredevil draws gasps of amazement from onlookers by wading chest-deep into the water, then whistling for his 980lb buddy – and giving him an affectionate hug.

Crazy Chito says: “Pocho is my best friend. This is a very dangerous routine but we have a good relationship. He will look me in the eye and not attack me. “It is too dangerous for anyone else to come in the water. It is only ever the two of us.”

Chito made friends with the croc after finding him with a gunshot wound on the banks of the Central American state’s Parismina river 20 years ago.

He had been shot in the left eye by a cattle farmer and was close to death. But Chito enlisted the help of several pals to load the massive reptile into his boat. He says: “When I found Pocho in the river he was dying, so I brought him into my house.

“He was very skinny, weighing only around 150lb I gave him chicken and fish and medicine for six months to help him recover.

“I stayed by Pocho’s side while he was ill, sleeping next to him at night. I just wanted him to feel that somebody loved him, that not all humans are bad.

“It meant a lot of sacrifice. I had to be there every day. I love all animals – especially ones that have suffered.”

It took years before Chito felt that Pocho had bonded with him enough to get closer to the animal. He says: “After a decade I started to work with him. At first it was slow, slow. I played with him a bit, slowly doing more.

“Then I found out that when I called his name he would come over to me.”

At one point during his recovery, Chito left the croc in a lake near his house. But as he turned to walk away, to his amazement Pocho got out of the water and began to follow him home.

Chito recalls: “That convinced me the crocodile could be tame.” But when he first fearlessly waded into the water with the giant reptile his family was so horrified they couldn’t bear to watch. So instead, he took to splashing around with Pocho when they were asleep.

Four years ago Chito showed some of his tricks to friends, including getting the animal to close his eyes on command, and they convinced him to go public with a show.

Now he swims and plays with Pocho as well as feeding him at the lake near his home in the lowland tropical town of Sarapiqui .

The odd couple have now become a major tourist attraction, with several tour operators, including Crocodile Adventures, taking visitors on touring cruises to see the pair.

On the Crocodile Adventures website it describes the spectacle as: “One of the most amazing things that no cruise ship passenger will want to miss, the adventure show between the man and the crocodile.”

American crocodiles, which inhabit North, Central and South America, can live to around 70 years old. It is estimated that Pocho is around 50 – almost the same age as his owner.

They are also said to be less aggressive than their Nile or Australian counterparts. Chito, whose real name is Gilberto Shedden, was given his nickname by friends, who also call him “Tarzan Tico” – Tico being a familiar word for a Costa Rican.

And he certainly plays up to the name, wearing a tattered pair of leopard-print shorts for his half-hour performances with Pocho.

A keen conservationist, he also offers boat tours, where he eagerly points out a variety of wildlife. But he only charges a few dollars to watch the breathtaking crocodile show, claiming he does not want to cash in on Pocho.

He says: “He’s my friend, I don’t want to treat him like a slave or exploit him. I am happy because I rescued him and he is happy with me because he has everything he needs.”

14 Responses to “Love Conquers ALL!”

  1. 12
    Marie Josée Marcoux says:

    Wonderful, what the power of love can do!

  2. 11
    gino says:

    hello all

    this is sooo cool, and heart touching. strange feeling of warmth coming from the alligator.

  3. 10
    gino says:

    brings a strange warmness to my eyes and then through my body. so heart touching.

  4. 9
    Tammy says:

    This was a wonderful story for me to read, especially because I sometimes wonder if I will ever want to get myself to do or ask more of my horses than the right to share space and time with them and have them choose to share space and time with me. I see here that the time it takes is fabulously individual, and while I look around at what others ask of their horses and are given by their horses, I enjoy so much seeing and feeling what is achievable. Still for now the desire hasn’t risen in me yet enough to want more than what I have in sharing space and time, and offering a return to well being for those who have need. And yet writting this I’m realising that the progress towards elements is actually occurring without the direct asking of it… mmm a great story to have shared Carolyn it fits with todays blog so nicely too!

    kind regards

    • 9.1
      Faith says:

      Hello Tammy,
      There is no hurry but – don’t waste time!! Note, he and the croc spent 10 years – that’s TEN years – sharing territory before any training!

      I believe we separate ourselves from our horses in this modern world. When I am out fixing fences, my horses keep me company, when I am gardening they graze nearby. I often let them out to just graze where they want in the yard while I am pottering about doing things. I hop on bareback – no halter – just while they are hanging out. In summer I spray them with the hose on a daily basis so now they stand for each side to be done! I ask them to step back before I throw down a carrot or apples or cobs of sweetcorn…These are little things – but they grow.

      BE WITH your horses – hang out IN the paddock, not just at the fence.

      Let them into your space sometimes. Teach them respect for your space as any alpha horse would, and they learn.

      My hand-raised horse is 9 this year. I ride him into town, I use him as escort horse for taking out public trail rides and he is totally trustworthy; I can jump off to help another rider and he will stand and wait; I can adjust a rider’s stirrups and girth while on his back; he will ‘block’ a runaway horse and he won’t kick if they get right up his bum!! But I am just now starting to feel that he is ready to be my partner in exploring what we can do together… There is SOO much more!!

  5. 8
    Melissa Turner says:

    This is just beautiful . Thanks for sharing that with us. Aren’t animals just amazing and some people also!

  6. 7
    Sally Leong says:


    This is an amazing story and shows how deep any human-animal bond can be if we are willing to be patient and caring for one another and allow trust, mutual respect and love to become possible.


  7. 6
    viki says:

    Cannot believe what l have just seen and read, amazing and beautiful. Deep unconditional love! Thank you for sharing. lm from Australia. Viki

  8. 5
    Lila "Horse Muse" Harding says:

    It says so much about the feeling that we learn to trust while working with our horses. How do you know, that you know your horse would give you what you asked him for? This man certainly had the reverence and respect for this big creature and the awareness and trust of his senses to feel the feeling. Such an incredible example of partnership and connection.

    Lila the horse muse Harding

  9. 4
    Terry says:

    Incredible! I live in Cahuita, Costa Rica since 16 years, which is not very far from Parismina. have never heard of him, but will have to find out. Sadly there was recently a horror story on the Pacific of a poor crocodile they burnt alive because she had apparently killed several people. She actually had a nest and was protecting it. They shouldn’t have been swimming in the river in the first place! You DON”T swim in big rivers in Costa Rica, unless you are stupid or asking for trouble. This was not her fault. They burnt her alive for revenge. I was shocked at the cruelty. Normally here, they relocate them ,if there are too many problems, that is understandable. I am happy to have read this story about Chito and Pocho!

  10. 3
    annalena bosi says:

    difficile Trovare le parole per Quanto ho potuto vedere di questo uomo e il Suo coccodrillo o sempre sostenuto Che l’amore e il Rispetto portano lontano chi non Rispetta il prossimo e in questo caso gli esseri viventi animali bcompresi non ha Rispetto Nemmeno di se stesso io amo tantissimo i cavalli e ho avuto la grande fortuna purtroppo durata poco Per avere conosciuto un uomo di nome Alessandro Che Parlavà con i Cavalli e che mi ha insegnato il grande Rispetto verso questa splendida creatura ammirando cosa Faceva con I suoi cavalli ho imparato tanto ma mai purtroppo perche abbastanza giovane morto e un anno fa e molto Spesso mi sento un vuoto dentro perche dico dove potro Trovare uno come lui per me e la mia cavalla grazie signora caroly mi piacerebbe sapere quando lei verra in italia con affetto e simpatia annalena bosi le lascio il mio cellulare qualora mi onorasse di una sua telefonata per parlare di questo bellissimo mondo dei cavalli con sinpatia

    It is difficult to find the words from what I could see about this man and his crocodile. I always thought that love and respect take far who doesn’t respect his neighbor and in this case the animal living beings included, doesn’t respect even himself. I love horses very much and I had the great luck to have met a man by the name of Alessandro, who spoke to the horses that taught me respect for this splendid creature. Admiring what he did with his horses I learned a lot but not enough because he died young one year ago and very often I feel a loss inside because I think about where I could find another one like him for me and my mare. So thank you, Mrs Carolyn, I would like to know when you will be in Italy with love and friendship.

    Annalena Bosi

  11. 2
    carole says:

    what a wonderfull story love and respect truly do conquer all.

  12. 1
    stina says:

    well, that is very amazing, good story to share.
    10 years of sharing territory before training, something to think about too
    Stina in St. Vincent

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