Carolyn Resnick Horsemanship: Liberty Horse Training

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


Liberty Dancing with Horses using the Waterhole Rituals:

I want my students to find their own individuality and to deepen their understanding of the equine mind and spirit.  When I am helping a student I like to encourage them to be their own guide while learning how to dance with a horse at liberty.

I direct my students to exercise their own unique leadership style and their own body language from experiencing a spontaneous dance with a horse.  I do not offer standard body language positions. I want body language to bloom naturally.  Set body language hampers the true connection that is in the moment. I encourage creativity to allow a person to experience his own natural way with a horse. Some people think they do not have a natural way, but we all do.

The Benefits of Dancing with a Horse Spontaneously:

Adreana and TrinityWhen the dance at liberty is spontaneous, a person awakens to knowing how to dance with a horse and feels the harmony in all living things. In this awakening they find their own personal power.  From this discovery of personal power he or she instinctively knows how to keep the dance alive from their leadership choices. They know when to lead, when to pause, when to influence, when to follow, when to encourage, when to lower his or her energy, when to raise it, when to leave, when to draw, when to send, when to allow and when not to allow.  They know how to stay both in the rhythm of the dance and with the horse.

In a spontaneous dance the body language is naturally inviting, influential and instinctual. What is so enjoyable is to see how surprised my students are that they can dance with a horse so effortlessly, easily and naturally here at my ranch.

The Benefits of Working with a Beginner’s Mind:

Ginny and Trinity

The beginner’s mind is fresh and the first spontaneous dance is like that and it feels like it will always be there. It feels like that, even if it is only a few moments that you are in connection with a horse.  To the heart it feels like a lifetime.

In the next dance the connection may be a bit of a challenge, which is created from expectations.   Memory and expectations can push away the dance. This happens from not approaching your horse with the same beginner’s mind. Relationships are also like that. It takes time to know how to grow them and keep them alive. Once the bond is set, the work begins and it is uplifting to take the time to recreate the magic. It is all good and inviting.  

The magic in any relationship is created by bringing awareness to your partner that he or she is being courted, taken care of and at the same time not letting your partner take advantage of you or you of your partner.  

Wendy and TrinityEach time you invite a spontaneous dance, you need to look deeply into where to begin to see what you need to act upon in order to move the horse to want to dance. You do this by preparing the horse in the moment so that the heartfelt strings of connection are all vibrating between you and this can be done in the dance itself.  These strings of connection are strengthened by your energy, intentions, and leadership approach which are driven by a clear and open heart.

A spontaneous dance that you create with your horse can wake up an inner knowingness into how to keep the dance alive and know when and how to end it. In this freedom you are more able to use your inner guidance system. You can see what your energy brings to the relationship and how to use your energy more effectively.


So what are these strings of connection?

The heart felt strings of connection are the vibrations that are shared in a partnership. In a relationship these strings of connection can come and go. Each partner must do his part to keep them alive.  Bond, trust, respect, focus and willingness are all needed and shared in the moment for the dance to be fully alive. Each feeling is needed – the bond, trust, respect, focus and the willingness in the moment.  You might have a bond between you in the moment, but you may not have the others in that same moment.  All these must be vibrating for the partnership to be at its best. You could have a bond, but not the trust or you could have trust, but lose the bond.  You might have the bond and the trust but not the respect or the willingness. You could have all of these, but if your horse is not focused on you there would be no dance.  This ability to understand which string is missing is important.  You need to see how your horse is feeling in any given moment.  You should watch for when the horse might lose one of these strings and then, in the dance by your direction, it can be regained from what you choose to ask for in the spontaneous dance, i.e. pausing, circling or whatever.  It is all about seeing your horse’s point of view.  

Marina & Trinity

The Benefits of the Magnetic Connection:

After the first magical dance with a horse, a person has a tendency to expect that the magnetic connection will always work because the first spontaneous dance deepens the bond. (The magnetic connection is that a horse will match your movements without being directed).

Expectations can hurt a relationship.  When this happens a person has a tendency to demand performance in anger, driven by disappointment.  Another response could be to quit and not move forward. 

Taking for granted that a horse, or even a human, owes us a certain response just because of the bond is a formula to lose the harmony in connection and the magic you have.  Expectations are a form of capture to a horse and from a horse’s perspective his freedom is lost.

Horses connect with us from the vibrations that exist in the moment, not from the bond they owe us.

MarchadorRelationships need to offer freedom for the relationship to stay alive. This is why I suggest the Hello Ritual as an ongoing statement to the horse.  It helps a horse trust that by having a relationship with you he does not need to feel a loss of freedom in order to have that relationship. In fact, what we want is that a horse feels more freedom by being in our company.

When you know that you have a strong connection with a horse in the moment and you have a great dance going on, each directive you give will bring a horse to want to continue on or loose interest.  What you ask your horse to perform and the energy that you evoke will carry the dance forward.

When the Dance is Alive:

When the dance is on and alive and the magic is happening you still need to put your attention on the times that you must build your horse’s energy, or lower it, to keep the willing heart of the horse dancing with you.

I wrote about this in my book “Naked Liberty”. You can find it in the chapter entitled ‘Dancing with Mustano’. What I want people to understand, is that you must wait for the opportunity to arise to be able to step back into the next dance.  This way you can bring back the magic. Each time you connect it is important to meet the horse again with the same freshness and awareness you brought to the table in the first dance. 

It’s Easy:

Pavla & TrinityYour horse will always be different and you will be too.  It seems hard, but it isn’t. Drop your expectations and remember the approach that you used the first time dancing with your horse.

Bit by bit you will develop your instincts, approach and understanding that make it possible to dance with your horse at liberty.  And then bit by bit you will know how to court the horse to want to dance.  


Update on Robin Gates:

Robin is now home from the hospital and has asked me to let everyone know that she can feel all of the love and healing energy that is being sent her way.  She wanted me to tell you that the love isn’t just stoping with her.  She feels that it is being sent out to everyone in waves of healing energy that is stronger from the care that has been given to her by all of you.

A miracle has just happened because of  Robin has many wires and stitches in her head that need to be removed and because Robin does not have insurance, the surgeon refused to remove them. Neal, her husband, was told to find another doctor to handle Robin’s follow up care.  Of course, I’m sure that no doctor would want to follow up on an unknown doctors surgery because of not knowing the intricacies of that operation.  Robin was put into a jam, but because of and the money she has received, she can now pay for the follow up care with the original surgeon.   So this money she has received had urgent need and support.  I want to thank all of you, and Robin wants to thank you as well, for your support and love.

Love and light, Carolyn

Here is a link to help Robin


Upcoming Events:

Waterhole Rituals Clinics with Linda Salinas, Certified Carolyn Resnick Trainer

  • September 14th & 15th, 2013 – Gastonia, North Carolina

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  • October 4th – 6th, 2013 – Comfort, Texas


  • January 27th – 31st, 2014 – St. Vincent, Caribbean

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22 Responses to “Liberty Dancing with Horses using the Waterhole Rituals”

  1. 18
    Aline Mellema/ IC/ Angel and Vicky/ Netherlands/ ECspring2011, ICfall2011, BTWRCmarch2012 says:

    Wonderful blog Carolyn! thank you :)
    Especially the part where you talk about not teaching a certain body language but people finding their own. That is so true and beautiful!
    Also the thing you say about dropping expectations is so true! it has done magic for me and Angel.

    Much love,

  2. 17
    jannie smit (ic spring and summer . BWHR december 2012 says:


    I have a question:

    Paradox is doing all 5 US exercises really well on the left rein. Is our next step to go on the right rein or do I first start with the US with a bend on the left rein?


  3. 16
    Stina says:

    checking in

  4. 15
    jannie smit (ic spring and summer . BWHR december 2012 says:

    Dear Carolyn,

    An other great blog.

    Two parts stick out for me…

    These strings of connection are strengthened by your energy, intentions, and leadership approach which are driven by a clear and open heart. –

    I have noticed so much that if the energy is there but the intention is lacking that I have a real hard time to move my horse and the same happens when the intention is there but the energy is lacking.

    I loved your description you had one of the calls of playing golf and how to follow through when you hit the ball. Here you use energy and intention as well. I quite often use that image in my head when I work with my horses.

    and ….

    Horses connect with us from the vibrations that exist in the moment, not from the bond they owe us. –

    It is so easy when you had a great session the day before to expect the same to happen. I often say up load when I go to my horses;
    So, lets see what will happens today, this is just a reminder for myself to stay in the moment.

    Thanks Carolyn.

  5. 14
    Tamara Blits says:

    Don’t have much to say. God Bless everyone! I am going through a sad time right now. My friend and room mate is dying of cancer. I’ve got to be strong. Maybe my horse can cheer me up.

  6. 13

    thank you for the blog Carolyn

    glad to hear that Robin continues to improve

  7. 12

    Thank you as always.
    Farah is here with us and we are enjoying a wonderful clinic with quite nice weather for a change. Jayne, Susan and Anki are all here and it would be great if you were too! Lots of love to you from all of us.
    Carolyn B x

  8. 11
    Elodie Belz (ICC spring 2011) says:

    Dear Carolyn,

    Just checking in this time. Thank you for the updates about Robin. I will keep sending her all my good vibes.

    Have a nice week-end,

  9. 10

    Dear Carolyn, We are all holding Robin’s healing in our daily awareness. Thank you for the update about her progress.

    I delight in reading and rereading your blog posts. It brings back vivid memories of the time we spent together and the stories and the fun we created.

    I will never forget in my hunger and eagerness to learn, from you asking.. “What are you thinking right now” as you prepared to enter into a session with a horse. I wanted to know what the plan was, the strategy for connection. I wanted to understand HOW you were gong to do what you did. I will never forget, what became a reminder over and over. You would say, ” Now remember, I have NO idea what I am going to do right now” I would be amazed, my logical mind would argue. I learned from many sessions day in and day out, that you would always be drawing on the well of your experience your mastery but more that than you were drawing on your intention to truly connect with each horse, from where it stood. You would embrace your intent, but release your agenda and from there something would emerge.

    I Thank You in a thousand ways for your mentoring and guidance. As I practice and teach, I presence this knowing and my horse Sebastian is always at the ready to remind me. When I have gotten too performance driven; he just won’t perform he goes on strike to remind me to let go and trust. and when I do, Sebastian and I have learned most of the horses are happy and willing to reengage in the dance, the true dance, the one we create every moment.

    This blog post is yet another deep, rich tapestry for us to study and read and a guide to remind us of this delicate balance of connection, and to delight in the moments we create from that innocent unassuming, agenda-free place.

    Love to you and Paulina and Apollo and all of the four-legged professors at your beautiful ranch.
    Thank You Carolyn.
    with Gratitude,

  10. 9

    Hi Carolyn,

    There are so many rich statements in your blog this week. So many that it warrants printing out and re-reading again and again. You are not only a Master with horses but clearly a Master with regards to relationships. I have learned so much from you and I am still learning from you. I am changing all the time thanks to your words of wisdom and your teachings about relationships. Thank you for your blog.

    Over and over I see where the approach can make all the difference in the world. I like adapting your thoughts concerning no expectations to just name a few.

    Thank you so much for posting my flyers.

    I continue to send healing light to Robin and hope her recovery is quickened.

    Thank you again for your blog. You have made a difference in my life with horses and humans beyond description. Thank you.

    I love you,


  11. 8
    ian Rowcliffe says:

    Dear Carolyn

    My response to reading this post on liberty dancing was: Say that again, Carolyn! You managed to describe the impossible, it seemed. It is interesting how we tend to forget the nuances of a virtually ‘perfect’ relationship – something that Ruella transmits in her uncanny way. In fact, what you are also describing is genuine heartfelt communication – so rare in our world but something that you encourage like few others.

    Sometime ago I was introducing our horses to a friend and he told me that the horses didn’t get it, that my movements were ambiguous. He didn’t understand that I was looking/ feeling for nuances in the horse’s behavior to find out where the horse was at, how s/he was feeling that day. Hence, with some horses I danced a lot; others a little according to their disposition and temperament at that moment. The quality of the interaction – the magic, as you put is so succinctly, is the essential aspect and decides the quantity of time spent. In sum, it is the good-feel factor, that determines the dance’s duration.

    Perhaps, I could use a parallel from teaching to further your description. You see, I also teach English here in Portugal and we laugh at, and are amused by, a concept called Penglish (Portuguese/English).

    You see, at the beginners’ level, learners are typically ridiculed and even chastised for ‘breaking the rules or not knowing them’. Yet it is that very characteristic that is considered later to characterize the fine art of real communication, when you express something new. Many students ‘fail’ because of this lack of understanding, because the nature of genuine communication is not respected and enhanced but rather pacified. (That said, it is still important to be aware of the various stages of learning, degrees of perception, that you need to become aware of – yes, very much like the reasoning behind your Rituals and what they bring to the student.)

    So, in the swish of a horse’s tail, your description of Liberty Dancing is a beautiful gift to a world that desperately needs to dance with itself in this encouraging and endearing fashion.

  12. 7
    JoyNichols says:

    Right now decent insurance is almost $500 a month! This is as much as rent.

  13. 6

    Dear Carolyn, nice blog !!

    It is so wonderful to read your story about Robin, she deserves a speedy recovery – here in Holland it is unimagineable not being medically insured – especially when being involved with horses professionally – perhaps it is time to get Hilary Clinton for president – ..


  14. 5
    Mary Anne de Haan (ic spring 2013) says:

    Hi Carolyn,

    Thank you for this insightful post. Not having expectations can be difficult sometimes, but this post will definitely help in trying to let them go.

    I also wanted to let you know Tripper and I are still having lots of fun practising with all the material in the classroom and working on the gaspedal. It is so much fun to see hoe we keep improving!

    I wish Robin all the best for her recovery.


    Mary Anne

  15. 4
    Anne-Marie says:


    We wish Robin a speedy recovery.I love her You Tubes.Such talent. Being from Canada, I would like to know if it is common for horse-people in the U.S. not to have medical insurance?

  16. 3

    I love what you have said about the “Beginner’s mind.” The sheer delight I experience in the dance when I am in the moment and completely OPEN to all possibilities feels magical.

    It’s easy to let expectations creep back in, especially when I practice regularly.

    The practicing can sometimes override creativity.

    Thanks for reminding me to stay in the beginner’s delight of the spontaneous dance. I can have a new experience blossom every day and remember to have gratitude for just being in the presence of my horse, regardless of what unfolds.

  17. 2

    Hi Carolyn.

    Your post is so welcome and so timely for me, especially after the coaching call this evening. I’ve now had a taste of what “spontaneity” feels like—I had NO idea that Nevada would respond the way she did to our encounter in the indoor arena. That was the first time I had worked with her that way in that space, and I had no inkling that she would be so willing to begin to dance with me like that! So the idea of “beginner’s mind” will be especially important for me to remember as we go forward.

    Also, I really understand the meaning of this part of your post:

    “Taking for granted that a horse, or even a human, owes us a certain response just because of the bond is a formula to lose the harmony in connection and the magic you have. Expectations are a form of capture to a horse and from a horse’s perspective his freedom is lost.”

    That is really what the concern needs to be, especially for me and Galahad—I need to have NO expectations of him whatsoever. When he feels expectations, he shuts down. And I must never let that happen again. This I have promised him—and you.

    Thanks for giving us an update on Robin—I have been wondering how she was doing.

    Thank you again, Carolyn, for all your work, and for the inspiration that you share so freely.


  18. 1
    Lorrie says:

    Can you elaborate why a horse who do this?