Second Free Lesson on Training a Horse for Bit-Less Dressage and Pleasure Riding

Free Lesson #2


My blog today is on my second free lesson on preparing a horse for bit-less dressage.  As you remember from our first free lesson, my video was on mounting Honey from the fence.  We spent many days on mounting from the fence until Honey began to expect this exercise and enjoy the process. He now thinks that mounting is a grooming behavior that he has come to enjoy. The first time Kai tried to ride him away from the fence Honey fell into his old pattern of being in a hurry and wanted to go faster and faster until I assumed he would have taken off into a full run trying to get rid of Kai.  However, because Honey now has a strong foundation in the Waterhole Rituals we could turn him around. Kai knew not to try to pull back on Honey’s rope because we have been told if you try to stop him he would rear, so I called him to me and he came over in a hurry and Kai then stepped off of him quickly before Honey had time to think.

So we went back to more preliminary exercises relating to halt and slowing down like leading from behind, Single Lining and some exercises on turning left and right from the ground in hand, where in every turn we asked for a halt. This was done very slowly between Kai and I working together.  Sometimes I would ask for a halt from the ground while Kai was on Honey’s back and sometimes Kai would direct Honey himself.

Now Honey can be ridden in a walk, trot and halt without being in a hurry when he is warmed up and is listening well to the aids.  Kai is back in Spain and I am now more focused on our next lesson that I am sharing with you today… more Single Lining.

Single Lining

single liningThis exercise is a warm up exercise for training, pleasure riding, bitless dressage and double lining (ground driving).  Single Lining puts a horse’s mind into preforming and paying attention to the rider’s seat and rein aids by putting a horse under the rider’s seat. Most riders feel their job is to stay on the horse rather than it being the job of the horse to stay under them. When riding it is allot easier to stay on a horse when the horse would make every effort to stay under the rider’s seat.  When a rider puts more focus on staying on the horse rather than the horse staying under him, there is allot of control being lost from making the wrong choices in what to ask from the horse.  What I have noticed is that many riders can not tell if a horse is under their seat or not. A horse is not truly under the rider’s seat if the horse is either going faster or slower than what the rider is asking.  Many times the rider is indefinite in how fast they want their horse to travel.

When you ask for a turn from the horse if the horse does not follow the exact path of the turn the rider wants, then the horse is not under the rider’s seat. All of this can be fixed from warming up daily with the Single Lining exercises.  As you go along, the residual effect of Single Lining will grow and grow to a magical connection.

What Single Lining does is develop a horse to be truly between the seat and the hands of the rider without the rider needing to signal the horse in-between the initial request.  The Single Lining causes a horse to self govern his own performance; self carriage becomes natural to him. When a horse is truly under your seat you would be able to ask only once with a light aid for a halt and your horse would halt. You could also ask for a horse to take the speed you would like and the horse would maintain it without any direction from you once he has taken the pace that you have asked for. In other words, Single Lining creates a rated horse from the ground without the train it from the saddle.

The result of Single Lining will create a feeling that only your thoughts or from your desire alone, are controlling your horse’s performance. The aids you use would be aids as light as a fly’s touch. For a horse to respond to aids this light it comes for a deep desire to perform and be there for his rider. This is what Single Lining will do for you and your horse.

This Exercise is not for Everyone but can be Accomplish by Anyone

Some people will not have the time or the patience.  Be prepared to give this exercise 30 days at the least 3 days a week, at best 5 days a week, before you could use Single Lining as an effective warm up program for your horse before riding. You can not over do this exercise. The exercise is mostly done at a walk, at least for the first 30 days. Walk is an amazing gate to use to connect with your horse. Later we will be adding some trot work but not for a couple of months. Relax into the program and it will do wonders for you and your horse. Your skills for training will advance quickly, removing years of practices and experiences.

Let’s get Started

Remember always start with the Waterhole Rituals and then into the Uberstriechen Exercises from the ones you have learned. You do not need to know them all. You should not need to put more than 20 minutes of work into the Waterhole Rituals and the Uberstriechen Exercises before you start with the Single Lining exercises.  You can spend another 15 to 20 minutes on Single Lining.

Put on some good music. Have letters up about 20 feet or so apart.  I use the letters on a dressage court. I like to pretend that I am at my Spanish Riding School introducing the arena to a horse for the start of his bit-less riding schooling. It is my job to do this exercise each day until the horse accepts the exercise as a natural part of his work at the school before I change up my horse’s program. All horses at the school do these exercises in the morning at the same time and this helps the new horses to fall in line.

The horses that are ready to be introduced to the Single Lining are well trained at Liberty and Companion Walking, trotting, halt and pausing.  The horse can also do the clover leaf pattern around a food bucket. Don’t forget to do your Sharing Territory exercises everyday to keep the bond growing deeper and deeper.  Whatever you are already doing with your horse, you may continue doing.

First Step

along fence

Walk along the fence of the arena in a relaxed manner, stopping at each letter and waiting there until the horse is happy to stand on a short slack line until moving on. Ask for halt like in Companion Walking just past the letter so his shoulder is at the letter. When he is halted on a slack line shorten the line until the slack is out of the line then move up to his head keeping the connection and ask him to turn towards the letter as if you are going to ask him to make a turn to the outside like in a roll back. When the horse turns enough so that his front feet have put the horse at a 45 degree angle to the fence and that you can now see the letter, and his nose is right at the letter, ask him to halt and wait at the letter on a short relaxed rein. Your horse might fuss, so do not move on until he is relaxed.  This will teach patience, tolerance and a willingness to allow you to control his behavior.  In this exercise we do not use treats.  We are developing a work ethic in our horses.  This is the exercise you will do every day for 30 days…So simple to do and the rewards will be magical!
What your horse is learning is that when he feels contact on the inside rein from you asking him to halt and him walking into the contact, he will not fall onto his shoulder or try to face you which would cause the horse to come off his path. What he learns is to take the inside rein and move into halt from this exercise.

Always find out what speed your horse’s natural walking speed is. When you know what that speed is, ask him to go faster or slower than he would like to go.  This way you take the leadership roll in a very unobtrusive way. If he is slow, you will ask him to move faster and if he is fast, you will ask him to go slower.  This will teach your horse to rate himself easily.

If at any time your horse tries to turn around and face you, when the horse feels a pull on the line from not halting when you did or you are walking slower that he his, walk up to him to stop the turn. As you walk up to him keep the slack out of the line. Once your horse has halted move up closer to his head and ask for a halt at close range. You should have the rope held about 4 inches or less from the halter.  Use a strong aid to taking control of the horse to steady him that is not punitive and then when he halts move him to the wall at a 45 degree angle to the fence and have him relax there indefinitely. Hold the rope and hold the fence as if he is tied there.  Don’t move on until he is completely relaxed on a shot relaxed line.

longer lineSo simple and so easy but in the beginning it is a bit clumsy and that is perfectly all right, even expected . Your clumsiness will get better quickly and will not hurt the training of your horse. When moving him over to the wall pick up your energy and his speed as if you are in a hurry to move him over to the fence.  This will call attention to your horse that time is of an essence. He will learn from this exercise to move quickly and then to relax immediately. These abilities are needed for dressage.  There is the pause and a horse’s ability to respond immediately, the timing, connection and the rhythm that creates the gates and the dance of dressage.

In my online bit-less Dressage program I will cover more advanced details. Hope to see you in it. I want my free programs to really work for you too. Hope this is of great benefit as it has been for me for the years I have used it for training all my horses.

Happy Holidays

As I am approaching New Years Eve, I feel very present to the wonders of nature and what amazing adventures this next year has to offer to our little family here at Dances with horses and to all of us that are truly imbibing in the magic that each day provides to us.

I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and hope your celebrations around the world are all magical.

Be on the look out for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.

Warmly, Carolyn




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karin kozlowski, EC, West Virginia, Roscoe and Amigo - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

Thank you ever so much for this wonderfully instructive blog and video. I am practicing the single lining with Amigo, my young two and a half year old horse. Single lining is one of the exercises you asked for to qualify for your bit-less class. I wasn’t able to submit that video because we had not yet practiced that. So I don’t know whether or not I qualify for your class. Nevertheless, this is a marvelous exercise. Amigo gets increasingly attentive and light as we practice, and I really understand what you mean by self-carriage and how eventually a horse will respond by a person’s intent alone. I love the emphasis on lightness and what you say about a horse being between the hands and the seat and there not being a need for a signal between the initial signal. Ground work is so much fun!

I, too, would love to see a video of Honey’s blow up because there is so much to learn from how you responded to it.

I wish you a new year filled with wonderful horse experiences and beautiful people in your life. I wish your mother all the best.


christin staszesky harper - 3 years ago Reply

dear carolyn,

just today, january 2nd, i have read your latest blog and learned several things while reading the responses.

that you have indeed acquired the new little dog who had been hit by a car during the BTWH clinic and that her name is Lady. how lovely for Apollo.

i also learned that your sweet mum has been hospitalized. i am dearly sorry and hope so much that it is not too serious and that she will be back to her self very soon. i so enjoyed meeting her in december. she is a love.

i was finally able to reunite with wren, my horse and boy! have we had a great time together in the few days i was able to be with him over the holidays.

i started completely over. sharing territory. then went to uberstreicken number 1. i understand how wren’s resistance to even my gentle feather hold on his halter with both my hands as i stand in front of him, reflects resistance to the bridle. i found an unending well of patience in myself, as i allowed his head to fly up and down, with my hands following him…then i witnessed him coming round to relaxation but working hard to resist that relaxation! i only held his head but a moment and then walked around him and then gave him a carrot as a reward when his head was straight and he was ‘looking out the window.’

the next day when i worked with this first uberstreicken i decided to try it even though he had no halter on his head. i held his head lightly with his hands and i found zero resistance, he relaxed so deeply into my hands…part of this response i believe was due to my work the day before but moreso, that fact that he was halter-less. so i will continue to work with him with and without a halter on these first uberstreickens.

i felt myself falling into a new place, deeper place of ease and understanding of the flexibilty and joy that can be found, cultivated and released while training my horse. i find it a superior metaphor for Life. a conversation i would love to share with you.

when working with wren at his 3 speeds of walk, once when i asked for halt he decided he would keep going…then he started trotting away from me into a circle and i said to him, “oh! free lunging! what a wonderful idea, now why didn’t I think of that?!;-)”…so we free lunged until he walked and then halted when i asked. i gave him a carrot for that halt, then companion walked with him to my ‘original’ halt spot and indeed he was ready to work again, and halted and backed quite happily when i gently asked.

the short anecdote above, revealed to me a secret of life for me. it’s all so filled with ease…when we allow ourselves the flexibility to go with the flux and glow of what life offers in that one short moment, repeatedly…we can never go wrong. we start always where we are, right where we are. forever. and be grateful.

i love my horse. i love my life. i love you.

thank you. from all my cells.


Mary Augustine - 3 years ago Reply

I have been doing this exercise with my Nokota Horse – Dakotah for three days now. He seemed to like it right away. I have a corner in my arena that seems to make almost all horses “come alive”. I think it is the combination of the trees in that area. After doing this exercise twice I noticed that he was paying more attention to me than what might have been in the woods. I did end up stopping more often as we approached the corner as this put more attention on the task. We ended up stopping in the corner and he put his head down to sniff instead of doing his self-taught piaffe that usually occurs in this area

Carolyn, I can not thank you enough for all the information you offer us. You are changing my relationship with Dakotah one day at a time.


    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Mary,
    Thanks for sharing this. Horses really need this exercise for the reason you have described. If you take the time to get the horse comfortable with all the areas of arena it makes a more confident horse the you can depend upon.
    This is one of the reasons for this exercise which I did not mention in the blog. Single Lining is an introduction to the work space and at first needs to be view from the perspective.



Leanna Kielian - 3 years ago Reply


True and I send to you and your Mother Paulina an ocean of healing energy and strength to assist in anyway way that you need it, so you both can start the New Year with the best heath possible. Much love to Apollo, his new friend and all the horses that bring so much grace(with your loving help) to your home.

Anne Lervik - 3 years ago Reply

Happy New Year, Carolyn!

I really appreciate being able to follow Honey’s journey even though I am away for school and can’t train right now myself. Soaking up as much as I can 🙂

Hoping that your mother will recover soon, and that you will have a great 2013 with all your friends and family 🙂

Best wishes,


Laura Nelson - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you and those you love. As I know first-hand, hospital-time for a loved one is the most emotionally draining experience in life. My heart goes out to you and your Mom. May all be well, and soon.

Congratulations on the clarity and precision of this excellent lesson. I look forward to sharing it with my beloved Zar (who totally enjoyed the first one) as well as the new OTTB and dressage-discard rescues in my barn. If you wish, I shall keep you posted on our progress.

Christine - 3 years ago Reply

Happy New Year, to you too Carolyn!

Here’s to a 2013 filled with horses!

SharolynWandzura - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,
Thank-you for this detailed lesson, so many details for me to keep practicing. New Year means new plans for me. I’m adding daily single lining to Mannah’s program!! We are having fun with the helmet camera these days … you were right it is tricky to control what we capture when he is wearing it! Mostly the footage is of me laughing cause the camera is like a third eye but he doesn’t seem to mind at all. I cannot wait to get it made into a video to share; I have the camera borrowed until the weekend. 🙂
Big hugs to you and healthy speedy recovery to Paulina.

Carolyn Resnick
Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

To everyone thank you for your letters and I send you all my love. I am with my mother in the hospital most all day so I am running a lot right now. I want you all to know that your care for me bring be warmth and good cheer. I want you all to know that I send you the same wishes and deep appreciations for having you in my life as well.

Warmly and Happy New Year to all of us and this great world we live in

Linda j Salinas BTWHR Spring 2012 Insider Circle Fall of 2011 and Spring of 2012 - 3 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn,

This year, as I reflect on all the many blessings and gifts, I have to say that coming to the BTWHR clinic this past March was the best. Meeting you, and all the wonderful people that you attract has been so special. I am doing things with my horses, that I never dreamed I could do, thanks to you and your method. It has taught me so much and continues to do so.

I hope your mom is better. I wish you, your family, and all your creatures/beauties a beautiful New Year.

I look forward to seeing you in April. I can’t wait.

Off to single line. I’m at the clumsy part!!!!!!

Happy New Year Carolyn,

Much love to you always,


Mary Elizabeth Bradford - 3 years ago Reply

Happy New Year Carolyn. Simply Amazing – thank you so much.

Anne-Marie - 3 years ago Reply

Thanks for a very useful post.

Happy New Year


Tamara Blits - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn; I love the easy ways you teach horses to understand. I’m going to try this, as soon as I can. Dakota likes to keep going, when I ride him, and I always turn him into the fence, to slow him down. It has been so cold, I haven’t been seeing him everyday. Thank you for your videos. They are very helpful. I like the way Dakota has learned to relax, this exercise will surely help. I think working on the ground is most important. I don’t ride him very much. Tried the fence lesson. He needs more work on that too. you are always helpful. Thank you for sharing, and helping so many with your lessons. Happy new year!!!!!!

Monique Ros - 3 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn

Thank you sooo much for this free lesson. It wil help us a lot

I cant work at this moment with the horses, because of the long time of rain. We stand up to our knees in the mud. But there are a lot of extra horse kisses shared now :0)

So feeding and care takes about 4-6 hours a day to complete the 18 horses here. Hope all rain now become snow, then we have a lot of fun in the snow.

I send you my articles late January, I had to take a break for myself to be bright again. And i do now. Thanks a lot for your support in light ♥

Wish you and mam, much warmth, love and Joy for 2013

Lots of love Monique

Aline Mellema/ IC/ Angel and Vicky/ Netherlands/ ECspring2011/ ICfall2011/ BTWRCmarch2012 - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

Thank you so much for this free lesson! Love this blog and I learn so much from it.
Love what you said about feeling clumsy in the beginning, because I absolutely feel that way sometimes 😀 LOL! Happy to hear that’s all part of the learning process.
I LOVE the single lining. It’s such a nice way to work with your horse and I really feel Angel is developing a work ethic because of it.
It’s not easy, but it’s fun and when working on this we get in a nice flow… I can see how it helps with the riding too.
Also loved what you said about riders feeling that it’s their job is to stay on the horse instead of the horse staying under the rider’s seat. This is so true! I always did the same… trying to stay on the horse… Also with the single lining…
I’ll never forget the exercise you did with me during the clinic in March, when you let me feel the difference.
Today, after reading this blog, I remembered what we practiced during the clinic and I was much more aware of the speed I wanted to go.
In the end of our session today I got the chance to feel a little bit of what you mean when the horse is staying under my “seat” during single lining. Love it love it!! Can’t wait to practice again! 😀
I’m happy it’s an exercise I can do right now with Angel despite her feet (by the way: her feet are slowly getting better!!) so I can work on her work ethic.
Thank you for this lesson Carolyn and hope to speak to you soon!

Much Love,

Ps. Did you receive my video letter I send you last week..? I did send it to your personal email address 🙂

Avril Wilson - 3 years ago Reply

Hi Caroline a wonderful and informative post as always this is close to my heart as much to peoples surprise I have never ridden my Arab mare Oshe with a bit -I hack out alone with a string halter and a rope and I can ride her in the arena with no halter just a string around her neck she is an angel and soo light I just have to think stop and lean back a little -even from a trot.i do a lot of on line work with my two Arab mares and now you have given me another exercise for them.
Thank you and a Wonderful 2013 to you!

Andrea Schwiegel - 3 years ago Reply

Thank you, so much, dear Carolyn, for this lesson. Single lining helps me a lot to connect with my horse who’s got the tendency to always look around and watch out for “dangers”. It helps me to get her relaxed.
I wish you a very Happy New Year.

Best wishes
Andrea (Italy)

CarolynBourchier - 3 years ago Reply

Thank you for the video. A very Happy New Year to you, with love from Carolyn B in the UK xxx

Amanda - 3 years ago Reply

Hello Carolyn,

Love your blog and all your posts. However your lack of contact is concerning to me.
I just ordered your dvds (on the 23rd), and it’s now past the 29th. I’ve emailed a couple times to the listed person who handles shipping, I’ve also sent you emails both with no reply!

I just want to know when they’ll be in, have they been shipped etc?
I was at a loss for contacting you, but see you look at the comments on your blog so here I am.

Look forward to resolving this!

    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Amanda,
    I will look into this matter today. What was the date of your email?

      Amanda - 3 years ago Reply

      I cannot find the email now! It was at least two weeks ago…. I sent another to you tonight through your blog contact, so hopefully I’ll hear back from you! It’s titled: Yearling

      The other issue about my order is resolved now! Shipped today, so I’m very pleased, hopefully your DVD’s will help me with most of my questions!!

      Thanks for everything, and the lovely work you do!
      Wish you (or your working students) were in Ontario…


Susan Cressy, EC 2011 - 3 years ago Reply

Thank you so much Carolyn for your generosity and kindness in sharing your knowledge through your teachings. In this world where everyone is so proprietorial, it is so refreshing to be able to experience the valuable lessons that you make available. I am very grateful for your big heart and generosity. It is congruent with your philosophy of teaching and your way of being and is so easily transferred to every area of my life. Thank you for the gifts that you give.
Sincerely, Susan Cressy

Elodie Belz (ICC spring 2011) - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

Thanks so much for this blog. I enjoyed watching the video, as it reminds me of the time we all spent together at your ranch!

I wish you a very happy new year and a lot of joy for 2013!


Geerteke Kroes IC 2011 BWHRC 2011 - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn, thank you for this post – a visual learner myself like Carol I enjoyed your video with Honey – I would very much appreciate it if you did share Honey ‘s outburst so it gives me/us an idea of how YOU deal with ‘outbursts’ – actually I did some single lining with Marcello after having attended your BWRC in 2011 – sadly things were brought to a halt again with a bang due to my accident shortly after I returned from Escondido – now a year later and the rehabilitation I went through horse and human are slowly picking up their connection again…

Here comes one of your replies in very appropriately:——

QUOTE I used to run around alot when I was younger and now I walk and get alot more done. UNQUOTE

I had a good giggle there. Honestly, this is a true human sighting, don’t you think? I experience the same. And perhaps even more importantly, I have (finally) given myself the permission that this is OK.

Our horse-and-human-space has been reduced to the stable for the time being and I remembered your story about you, as a young girl, sitting in the stable with your horse and showing him/her to stay in a certain spot for some time.
I now get the distinct feeling that Marcello keeps his focus on my whereabouts inside the stable. Much more also if at one point he decides to take a look outside when he hears a horse passing by. And if I think there is no need for him to take a look I make clear that he can/could just as well stay in the spot he is/was in.

Interesting developments. 🙂 🙂 Especially as I started realising that I seem to have lost this clearcut, decisive attitude somewhere after having stopped taking part in dressage competitions (PrixStGeorges++) and gotten in touch with the so-called NH-gurus. Now I am reclaiming more and more who I was. However, without the emotional involvement, but with the addition of among others the WHR. And I am experiencing every day that that is a fruitbearing combination.

In general I would like to add the following:——

“”Be brave and trust ones own common sense, discern one has what it needs/takes to solve problems and at the same time deal with horses and humans adequately and respectfully. Keep ones goals in mind and remain ambitious””

Thank you for being you, Carolyn.

Namasté, Geerteke

    Geerteke Kroes IC 2011 BWHRC 2011 - 3 years ago Reply

    PS I also do the yoga-for-horses-game in the stable/box stall with the help of a carrot – Marcello likes it and starts the game by already bending and touching his body with his nose beyond the hipbone when I am, for example, still grooming his tail and he perhaps wants me to hurry up 🙂 when he has made that lateral bend left and right and at the same time not moved his feet, the next bend is all the way down towards his tummy and he moves his head downwards and backwards and in between his front legs with his forehead sometimes flat on the ground, but doesn’t know yet he can also bend a front leg and get into a bowing position – his complete topline gets into a fabulous stretch that way ………

Marja van Run - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

This is truly a wonderful blog topic, there’s so much in it! What stood out the most for me was the part where you explain how ‘most riders feel their job is to stay on the horse rather than it being the job of the horse to stay under them’ and how important it is to have it the other way around. I already told you at the end of the BTWHR clinic how my ‘penny’ had really dropped regarding giving the horse his own responsibility. Watching the Single Lining exercise was a very important part of that. I can’t wait to start working more on that principle of giving the horse their own responsibility…. as soon as it gets a bit drier out here! I really have to watch myself not getting depressed because of the grey, wet weather and the mud everywhere.

There were some more quotes from your replies to students’ comments that hit home for me, so thank you for those as well:
“I use to run around alot when I was younger and now I walk and get alot more done.”
“I come up will new ways of training from seeing my limitations and working around them.”
Very important for me too, as my joints just won’t permit too much running anymore. (However, I still have my little ‘outbursts’ in that respect ;-).)

I would appreciate watching a video of Honey’s outburst on your blog very much! After all we often learn the most from mistakes, and being honest about mistakes is helpful for all of us. So I vote ‘yes’ :-)!

Much Love,

DianeUrsch - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,
Thank you so much for these lessons. What a gift. And what a wonderful way to spend these very cold, messy-ground days.
I do not have single-lining experience, but have begun to try it with April from watching your previous video for the Bitless submission, and she caught on quickly. I am going to start this exercise with her tomorrow….I just know she will enjoy it. It will be my New Year’s present to her and her New Year’s present to me.:))) Your explanation plus the video provides the perfect direction. And thank you, Honey, for doing it imperfectly, then doing it so nicely, so that we can see the process and the result. And Honey…you look amazing.
I look forward to our coaching call, Carolyn.
I hope you have a happy, magical new year.

    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Diane,
    I guess I will put a video when Honey had his blow up. I did not put it in because I did not follow my own advice but maybe it would shed so light in how I did not react to it at all. This is also important to see. If any one is interested in Honey’s out burst let me know and I will put it in my blog.

    Honey thanks you for your appreciation of the part he is playing in our lessons. Honey sends his best to April.

    Have a Happy Magical New Year,

      KatherineHarberd - 3 years ago Reply

      Yes please! It would be fascinating to see Honey’s outburst. Kx

      DianeUrsch - 3 years ago Reply

      Hi Carolyn,
      Yes, yes….I would Love to see Honey’s outburst. Any time horses react in a way we do not want them to….which happens kinda often….huh?:))….is such a tremendous learning opportunity. Learning and especially watching how you handle such situations is very valuable to me.
      April sends a wheeeee whoopie whang New Year to Honey.

Jannie Smit (IC Spring and Summer 2012) - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

I am back home now since just over a week and so far I have only been in the paddock with my horses ST and some LFB and CW (daily). They have been away as well so it was a great time for all of us to get back together and for me a great time to digest everything I have learned in Escondido with you.

We are the opposite from the UK, not only geographically but also with the weather. It is very dry and hot and we are waiting for some rain to freshen things up again. But summer is for us a time to take it easy as it is too hot to do much. So perfect for this wonderful exercise.

The single lining we did in Escondido has also proven to be very helpful with just CW for me. I was CW with Ivanhoe through the paddock and he started to fall in, I stopped, he stopped, I walked up to his head and pushed him over to the other side (made sure his front feet moved away), he did and we waited and walked on again. I had to only do this twice and he understood very well that he could not fall in and walk straight next to me. So, I can’t wait to start the single lining with him and Paradox.

I am looking forward to the bitless on-line clinic and we have enough time before that to really season the WHR and UBS and start with the first exercise you just gave us.

I wish you so much fun and joy with your horses in the new year and please also a happy new year with lost of happiness for Paulini, Apollo and his new friend (does she have a name yet?).


    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Jannie,
    I is amazing that all we need to do with a horse is to communicate what we want and they are happy to follow our wishes. We just have to be smart enough to ask in the moments there is no drama.
    Thank you for your gift. I really love your story and then how beautifully you made your book for me. I will Cherish it always.
    Lady has many names right now. Sister, Thumper, Romance………She is not here yet. She came for a visit and Apollo was very taken with her.
    Happy New Year to your whole family including all the wild life as well,

lisa hill - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn, Thank you for this second free lesson in training for bit-less riding. The video really helped me understand what the printed version was teaching. Even though Magnum and I have a long way to go for this. I am enjoying these lessons. I hope to try some when weather permits. I do want to work on the WHR and the UE’s. Being that it’s winter and the footing is slippery. Slow moving is the way to go and pass the winter months. Blessings to you and yours and all the bloggers for the New Year! Lisa & Magnum

    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Lisa,
    Thank you for checking in. I am so happy that the lesson inspired you.
    Sometimes foundational work seems boring but I have learned through my live it is the answer to a horse being able to move forward in heaps and bounds later on. The time cut out of a horse’s training is years. You certainly have less resistance. Taking the slow path will deepen the bond.


Wilma (IC fall 2011) - 3 years ago Reply

Hello Carolyn
Very interesting!
I would like to schedule my second call, plus I have some video of mare and foal to send you.
Best wishes for the new year to you and yours!

    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Wilma,
    I am glad you enjoyed my blog. I am looking forward to your videos of your mare and foal.

    Happy New Year,

      Wilma (IC fall 2011) - 3 years ago Reply

      Hello again Carolyn
      The foal’s first time outside at 1.5 days.

      I played with her in the large stall 10 x 20 at liberty and then introducing the line. Here she is at 3 months approx. using the halter and line for the first time outside. You will see that although she follows light pressure, she doesn’t really know what to do with firmer pressure when she runs into it.

      I hope you will enjoy especially the first one, as it reminded me of your book.

Carol Caddes, San Juan Capistrano, CA, EC 2011, EC 2012, BTWR 2011, 2012 - 3 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn

Happy New Year! It feels like it will be a great year–very heartfelt and meaningful.

Love this blog. It explains A LOT. I like the schedule, the reasons, the goal, and the big picture. The video helps for a visual learner as myself.

Can hardly wait to try it out on Norman. He arrives Monday the 31st. But first sharing territory! and letting him settle into his new home.

So excited to have a horse and so grateful to have you in my life with all your wisdom, kindness, and generousity.

Blessings in the New Year,

    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Carol,
    So glad you enjoyed my blog. I can not wait to meet Norman. Remember that Single Lining follows all the Waterhole Rituals. We can talk about that.
    Blessing in the New Year,


      Carol Caddes, San Juan Capistrano, CA, EC 2011, EC 2012, BTWR 2011, 2012 - 3 years ago Reply

      Thanks, Carolyn,
      Will be mindful of the rituals and their progression.

      Would also like to see the blow up. I learn so much by watching your body language whether in smooth or rocky times.

      So glad to hear Apollo liked Lady. And Paulina? Was she smitten as well. And you?

      Would love for you to meet Norman. It’s all so exciting!

      Blessings in the New Year


Farah - 3 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn!
Happy New Year from Farah and Mercury!

Ruella Yates - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,
Thanks for the reminder about single-lining; it has been a wonderful training tool for my horse and pony. Happy New Year to all of you!

Joan - 3 years ago Reply

My horse is uncomfortable if I were to attempt to two line him. This is the perfect way to get him accustomed to first one side then the other. Now if the snow would go and temps would go up we’d have it made. Happy New Years to all.

Toni Farrell - 3 years ago Reply


What a wonderful and informative blog. Your explanation of the exercise was crystal clear, and the video captured the pictures you put in my mind. Winter is upon us here in Wisconsin, with much snow, and I have been looking for something a little different to do with my horses. My student is now out of Marine Boot Camp, and is coming over tomorrow afternoon for a day of horses and hot chocolate. This will be a nice slow exercise to do , along with the UE, with which to keep warm and have fun.

Thanks, as always, for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us.

Can’t wait to play!


    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Toni,
    Thank you for sharing. I agree with you the winter time is a good time to work on these exercises. I remember hearing that you could train a horse from beginning to Grand Prix in a small place like a box stall if you understood that and believed you could. We can also get alot accomplished at the walk and working of bending giving and responding. This would make a great movie. I come up will new ways of training from seeing my limitations and working around them.


Leanna Kielian - 3 years ago Reply


I wish you, your entire family (two and four legged members) and all of your students a happy new year filled with continued joy,peace and a ever deepening level of understanding and greater level of communication between them and their equines(or other) companions.

Thank you for adding a paper saving way to easily print your blog. I often print them to sit in a cozy place or with the horses to savor your words and contemplate the messages, as they are a treat to be enjoyed not rushed at the key board for me.

I am currently digesting the Klaus and Gabrilele Schoneich book recommended by Kerry Ridgeway titled Correct Movement in Horses and I was very curious about how you would address the issues of balance discussed in the book. The mechanics are good in the book, but I figured there were more ways to approach the subject and that other similar discussions always assist in my deepening my understanding of the issues such as falling in at the shoulder, plus books don’t necessarily include all that is done or what is best for each individual horse.

I especially liked that this exercise is done slowly without physical wear and tear on the horse and that it includes relaxation phases to build upon which I am so clearly seeing are priorities to keeping the horse mentally and physically sound. The slower movement in this exercise may make the intent less confusing to the horse as well.

Thank you for giving us so much food for thought and activities to consider working with on your blog and in your courses. I look forward to reading each and every one that comes to into my email and the wonderful insights from your blog family.

    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Leanna,
    I agree with you theory is such a fun topic. The winter time is such a good time to read books on theory. We learn so much by doing so. If a horse is whole heated in what you are wanting him to do his balance is the best it can be so, whole hearted this where I put my focus. This way if the world comes to an end that day we could not have wanted more for it.


Regina Walter - 3 years ago Reply

Thank you for sharing the lessons. Love seeing you work with the horses and your quiet calm nature.

Happy New Year
and many blessings in 2013

StephanieMorse - 3 years ago Reply

Thanks Carolyn

That was great, I really appreciated the video, it helped a lot in understanding the training process.

I hope you have a wonderful New Year and it brings you all you wish (your special riding school?).

Susan Smith - 3 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn, What a great reminder of single lining and its purpose in training. Thanks so much once again for an informative blog and Happy New Year to you!


Callie King - 3 years ago Reply

Thank you for this good information! I love doing these slow ground exercises when the ground is frozen solid, and riding is just a lost cause!

    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Callie,
    It is a lost cause. I had to give up riding because of an injury and found out that from the ground there is not any thing you can not accomplish for it.


KatherineHarberd - 3 years ago Reply

Thank you Carolyn for another really informative video in preparation for Bit-Less Dressage. What you covered in the video will also be of great help with my big mare who doesn’t have a consistently straight halt when walking on a line. We’ll enjoy playing with this when we’ve found somewhere that’s not knee-deep in mud. Walking horses in hand is treacherous (or, at least, unstable) when you are in danger of losing a boot on any step! Kizmet and I have applied for your new course but the video will have to wait until more solid footing. Look forward to working with you in 2013. Happy New Year. Kx

Erica Dixon - 3 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn
So great to see the video of this from the clinic! As Joanna said, we are having problems in the UK with the wet weather, so practice has been limited. Its been the wettest year since records began. Luckily the horses’ place is on limestone rock so it does drain eventually, but even so everywhere is just waterlogged. Izzy is used to being single lined from behind as its one of my training methods whilst walking out young horses. Of course, I missed a BIG trick here which thanks to you I now know. You plugged a lot of holes for me that I wished I’d known years ago when in the training/teaching business! So grateful to have such a wondrous tool box to use now…
The use of the halts & turning to the fence has already made a difference with the small amount I’ve been able to do in the weather we’ve had. I’ve also done it along the lane outside the barn, turning to the hedge which has really helped her not be a monkey about concentrating whilst away from her buddies. That & some UE’s.

Here’s to 2013 being a drier year for us in the UK! (Or maybe I can win the lotto & get a place with an indoor school..)

Warmest wishes & joy to you & yours for the New Year


Rosemary - 3 years ago Reply

Happy New Year Carolyn!

This is wonderful. So timely for my 4 year old Andalusian that I think I started to ride too soon. I have backed up to double lining and it is going so much better, but this will absolutely be what I will do with him. I will back up again and single line. Thank you so much!!! Sometimes the fasted way is to go backwards!!!!!!


    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Rosemary,
    When at first we double like it can take the forwardness out of the horse. The single lining helps to build more forward and balance.
    If you have any questions as you go along let me know.

    Happy New Year,


joanna blake - 3 years ago Reply

Dear carolyn, happy christmas and thank you so much for the second lesson. we are flooded here in the uk and I have no space to work other than the barn at a walk so i am going to practice this for 30 days and make a video and post here on the blog (I’ve been too shy before but got over that now as 2013 is all about making big changes!). this is such a gift to us all. happy new year and here’s to your liberty Spanish Riding School.
All the best,

    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - 3 years ago Reply

    Dear Joanna,
    Yes I have heard that you are having alot of rain your way. In the winter is a great time to do ground work in slow motion. The more we talk about the riding school the more it will help to further it along.
    Thank you for your continued support,

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