The Journey – by Diane Ursch

“Your mare is not an easy horse, but a horse that in the end will turn out to be the horse of your dreams. Your horse is young of mind, not a caretaker yet, extremely intelligent with a lot of energy that can carry her to a freedom that does not include you.”

These were the words that Carolyn wrote to me in our classroom of my first Waterhole Rituals Insider’s Circle course about one and a half years ago. These words were true and accurate about my mare April and my relationship with her. They were words that were not easy to hear, because they were words that unveiled my inability with April. Yet… they were words that engaged my never-say-die nature to overcome my inability and become better…with my horses and, unknowingly at that time, with myself.

This is a story of my journey with April, with Carolyn and her method, and with myself. It is a story that is not easy to tell, but one that I hope will resonate with others who love their horse, but who may, at times, feel inadequate in their relationship with and training of their horse. Lastly, it is a story about self-empowerment gained from the daily practice of Carolyn’s teaching and the Waterhole Rituals.

I “met” Carolyn in November 2011, after someone mentioned her name to me. I had never heard of her. When I went to Carolyn’s website, read about her, and watched video clips, I immediately identified with her energy and her method. I ordered her books and videos, and started my first Insider’s Circle course with my mare, April, in May of 2012. April and I have joined 2 Insider’s Circle courses and 1 Extended Circle course, and we are now fortunate enough to be in Carolyn’s Bit-less Dressage program.

At the time I found Carolyn, I had had April for about 2 years and she was a bit over 5 years old. I had bought her as a 3-year-old. The total of her training had been “90 days with a cowboy.” She was a lovely mare with a sweet and willing personality, but did show some residue issues from those short 90 days of training, such as bolting to the other end of the arena the first time she saw me with a saddle in my arms. I had never trained a horse before. So I did what so many of us crazy horse-loving girls do…I decided to train April myself. All she needs is love…love….and more love…right?

April is a horse who likes people. She is high-energy. She is extremely intelligent, and sensitive, with a tendency towards bossiness. She has a great sense of humor. She has an excellent work ethic. As Carolyn said,“…she needs a person with strong focus, and who will not be intimidated by her big energy and who will allow for her energy to be there and not try to come up against it.”

Before finding Carolyn, April and I progressed in our traditional training, learning to walk, trot and canter together, going for rides in fields, having some fun together. At times we seemed to have a decent relationship. At many other times, though, there was no relationship at all. April was demonstrating an increasing amount of resistance, evidenced by difficulty just doing the simple things… leading, bridling, saddling…and lots of rearing (with me on the ground and on her back). I had used the Parelli method with my gelding Calypso. I was not able to have success using this method with April. I was saddened and frustrated, because I wanted to develop a true relationship with my horse and, most importantly, I wanted the best for her. I did not know who to turn to, as my experience with local trainers turned me off to their methods. I then thankfully found Carolyn’s program. I knew instantly that April would respond well to the Waterhole Rituals.

We did our first Insider’s Circle course with Carolyn, ending in summer 2012. From the very first days and weeks with Carolyn, I felt the change in me and in April. I felt a glimmer of true understanding of how to communicate with my horse. Prior to the Rituals, April did not care that I was present, had no interest in listening to what I asked, much less doing what I asked. Most of the time I don’t think she even knew I was in the room. Shortly after beginning the Rituals, though, April was looking directly at me, into my eyes. She was paying attention to me. She was beginning to want to be with me. She was beginning to want to listen to me and do what I asked her to do. The changes in us, April and me together, were almost instantaneous with Carolyn’s Rituals. Carolyn’s program was quickly and hugely transformative for me and my beautiful mare.

It was during that summer of 2012, though, that my personal life went into a tailspin, heading for what I expected to be divorce. During this time, my self-confidence in many areas of my life disappeared as I struggled to figure out and manage my personal issues. My only concern at the time was the safe-keeping of my animals if I lost the farm. So I moved my horses to a professional boarding barn managed by a long-time friend until I could get my life back in order.

Within this emotional turmoil, I made the decision to loan April to a professional trainer at the barn. He fell in love with her the moment he saw her. He is a nationally-recognized equine performer who showed regularly with Parelli, Cavalia, Equine Affaire, and other such organizations. My thoughts, at the time, were that I could not possibly give to April what this famous trainer could. She would be better trained with him, have a more interesting life with him, and, in essence, be happier with him. So we did a trial period. The trainer requested that I not interact with April at the beginning, as he wanted to develop his relationship with her. I respected his request and allowed him the space to do his training.

I was riding my gelding Calypso daily at the barn, so I was able to keep a close eye on this trainer and his methods with April. And it was not long at all before I began to have HUGE SECOND THOUGHTS!

Although the trainer did many things with April that I had not been able to do, he did not seem to be developing a bond with her, and April appeared to have no interest in or intention of developing a bond with him. As time passed, the successes I had experienced with April using Carolyn’s Waterhole Rituals became more and more apparent to me as I observed this trainer‘s lack of success with her. I saw that the trainer was having increasing and significant difficulty with her, to the point that he would not work her when I was present. He told the barn manager that he “had to start over every day with this horse, because he could never get her to settle.” I realized that I had misunderstood this trainer’s intention and method–despite his stellar public persona–as I was seriously re-evaluating what I had thought and done.

April assisted in my re-evaluation. Each day as I returned Calypso to the pasture he and April shared with several other horses, April would come to the gate to say hello to me, and she would watch me with fixed eyes as I walked back to my truck to go home. My heart knew that I had made the wrong decision to feel that this trainer could give my horse more than I could. No matter what my personal situation was, my horse needed to come back home with me.

And April provided the final impetus for me to reclaim her. One day she came to meet me at the gate as usual. After releasing Calypso, I walked deep into the pasture with April following right behind me. I then began to trot around and April joined me in companion trotting. I walked and trotted, and she stuck to me like glue. I ran from her, and she ran after me. I sent her off, and she bounded off and returned to me with joy. We played for quite a while. I laughed, I yelled with happiness, I cried. I thanked God for April letting me know how she felt and confirming to me what my heart knew. I thanked God for allowing me to experience this huge lesson and that I would be getting my April back.

I brought my horses home the next morning. They had been away from my farm for 3 months.

For a week we shared territory, just enjoying being back home together. In my first play session with April, we not only picked up where we had left off…we were improved! Our connection had grown stronger, our bond deeper. This was amazing to me. This would not have been possible if the Waterhole Rituals had not been our foundation.

I had a call with Carolyn soon after the horses came back. As we discussed my experience with April and where to go next, Carolyn asked me if I now understood what I had with my mare. Yes….I did. But what a road to travel to learn that lesson. The bond that I had had with April, and that I re-discovered with her arrival back to my farm, would not have developed had Carolyn’s method not empowered me to grow with my horse. I did not understand my growth, my empowerment, until the end of this particular journey with April, an end which essentially became the beginning of a magical evolution we are experiencing together.

Carolyn wrote in one of her blogs…”If I do not acknowledge my new empowerment that I gain from each day, it will not stick, for there was not enough nurtured attention for this new strength to grow.” I love that. But we do not always acknowledge our new empowerment, do we? Sometimes we may suppress it, not believing in ourselves enough or being hesitant of self-expression, of self-recognition, of self-acceptance. Sometimes we do not even know the empowerment is there…we may need to re-experience it several times until we get to the recognition point, the “Ah…I see…” point, when we can say to ourselves “ I learned that today.” “I understood that today.” “I felt that today.” Acknowledging our new empowerment creates in us a reservoir of understanding and child-like confidence that allows our hearts to open and us to be in the moment. This is where we can find the composure and courage to pause, to focus, to lead, to dance. Acknowledging our empowerment helps us to delineate where we are going, what we need to do to continue on a path or change to a new, perhaps more beneficial path. What we need to do to grow. Grow with our horses. Grow within ourselves. Grow in our lives. For me it took the journey of nearly losing my beloved horse to learn this. Do not doubt what you have with your horse. It is real, it is there, and it will reveal itself with evolution.

I love this woman named Carolyn Resnick. We have not met in person yet. I certainly hope to one day. But meeting Carolyn in person is not necessary to understand that she is special in this world. She is wisdom, passion, caring, intuition, talent, and grace. Her program embodies these qualities, and I am privileged to take part. Her Waterhole Rituals helped me to learn how to live in the moment and in rhythm with my horses. Her Bit-less Dressage program is teaching me how to train in that rhythm, train while staying in companionship with my horse, while staying in the moment…because that is where empowerment occurs, the heart opens, and the extraordinary happens.

Thank you, Carolyn.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Photo by Teddie ZieglerA Note from Carolyn – Leadership Guided by Horses

There is magic in the spirit of horses.

This magic feeds our soul, our growth and our well being working around and with horses. Because of this reward we want to be sure to feed the spirt of our horse from the training we offer to him. Our leadershp needs to be adjusted by our horse to suit his nature and how he is feeling in the moment.

From bringing the right approach into our leadership activites gives us the ablility to connect to the very heart of our horse. The magic is grown when we allow the free spirit of our horse to dance with no inibitions. In this freedom we can still be in control of the horse and that the horse follows our direction without being confined. The free spirit that is allowed in the training of horses enlivens our soul as it enlivens our horses to dance from his enthusiasm to do so.

Leadership is our greatest teacher in how to create harmony and unity with all living things.

It is our greatest teacher in how to create partnerships that can be trusted. We receive our guidance in how to lead from our horses respose to our leadership. When in harmony with life and the spirit of the horse our leadership has the ability to nurture both the soul of our horse and ourselves.

Not having to depend upon enforcement of leadership is the secret to life and peace on earth.

When we do not rely on force we find a way that brings a loyal trust and meaningful support system to our very existence. What we are wanting to create is a desire in our horse to want our leadership that is created through resonance rather than manipulation. All of this is what is found in the practice of the Waterhole Rituals with a proper guide.

My online Waterhole Rituals course offers a magical connection with horses as a way to train them.

In the Insider’s Circle course I am able to coach you for your individual needs and interests on the subject of connection, cooperation and magic.

  • This is what you will need

Enough experience to read your horse in how he is feeling about you and his enviroment and how to stay safe around your horse. You will need a horse that you can easily move away from you and stay away if this is your wish. You will need to be able to influence your horse to walk, trot, and preform an enlivened canter. You will need a horse that is easy to work with to be able to learn the ways of nature. This is not a “fix it” course. The focus is developing your horsemanship skills and how to develop a magical connection with your horse through the training process. It is a course to develop creative leadership and find a philosophy that will influence a horse to connect with you in magical ways.

Horses care about how we choose to interact with them.

Horses put their attention in figuring out what drives us to do the things we do. Horses understand that we are all different and when they understand how we choose to interact they go about their business in how they are going to handle us as individuals. The Waterhole Rituals offer you a code of coduct at liberty without tack that produces magical results training horses and a philosophy to live by that will empower your life experience with others. This course I hope will be the most exciting ever with lots of new videos of horses you have yet to meet.

Whoopy whang joy!!!

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

Warmly, Carolyn

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linda salinas - a couple of years ago Reply

Oh Diane,

What a beautiful testimonial you have shared with all of us. Thank you so much. I hung onto and resonated with every word. I can relate my own personal experiences with yours especially the part where other trainers who have “credentials” only to find out they simply don’t get it and it is the same story again where trainer meets horse and makes horse do what trainer says. I love the horses that say NO. I have one of those. I was totally lost and felt like giving up but I learned quickly that he was just saying NO to ways and situations I exposed him to, I was always looking for a break through with him. It came only with Carolyn’s method. I couldn’t agree more with your feelings concerning Carolyn. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met and I am so grateful she is in my life and the lives of others who are searching.

Thank you again for your wonderful story. I can really appreciate your trials. I am so happy that April is once again in your life and the growth continues down through the WHR. Life is grand, is it not?

Whoppy wang as Carolyn says so often!

Linda

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Dear Linda,
    YES! Life is grand!
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful and lovely response. I so agree….I love the fact that April said NO. As I go over this whole experience in my mind and think about how she reacted to this trainer, it is amazing to me. She decided that she was going to have nothing to do with this fellow. And she decided it quite quickly. I am so proud of her and so grateful for her and so honored that she chose me. I have to say “Bless all of us who are willing to take the time we are taking with our horses, to grow the bond as we grow our selves. For our horses’ sake. For our sake.”
    Bless Carolyn for bringing discovery, wisdom, patience and grace into my life.
    Thank you, Linda.
    Be well.
    :))Diane

MaryGayeLeBoeuf - a couple of years ago Reply

Carolyn, You lessons is leadership go all the way to the bone! You have transformed me in ways I could never imagine. And I thought you were just going to show me what to do with a horse. . . Ha! You have taught me how to think and act differently and how to think all the time about how my “being” affects everyone around me, especially my horses. Boy, it has not been easy, undoing 50+ years of what I thought I knew about horses, and learning what I should know about horses and how to “be” with them. It has been the most rewarding and fulfilling journey of my lifetime! And it has been inescapable. Since you gifted me the knowledge I needed about myself (and I’m talking deep knowledge, not superficial) before I could be what my horse needed me to be, I have worked on being better, every single day! I am also constantly examining human nature and how it impacts our relationships with horses. One thing I have thought about is why some women so often have trouble with true leadership. I think it may have something to do with how we try and lead. In so many instances, women create the illusion of leadership by loving and spoiling another person, and then using guilt or martyrdom to control the object of their love and spoiling. Well, that’s not going to work with a horse, or any other animal for that matter. We cannot guilt them into doing anything. They have no appreciation for martyrdom. Nor do they feel obligated to allow someone who has been loving to them, but shown no leadership qualities, to be their leader “just to be polite.” Actually, it’s a pretty pitiful way to try and “lead” humans, too — “leadership” through guilt and martyrdom usually result in anger and rebellion. Guilt and martyrdom are not really “leadership”, they are merely temporary means of “control through uncomfortable emotional pressure.” On the other hand, what you teach us about ourselves and our horses, allows us to have a loving relationship withour horses and learn to be the leaders our horse’s crave. Thank you for making me such a better person!!!

Love and Hugs MaryGaye

    Carolyn Resnick
    Carolyn Resnick - a couple of years ago Reply

    Dear MaryGaye,
    Thank you for your comment. I just found it. I have been sick with a cold and in bed so.. I have not kept up with comments. Sharing resources is how to be seen as a leader. Having your resources taken for you is a way to be seen not as a leader.
    But allot of relationship building must precede this first. This resource sharing helped dogs and cats become domesticated and friends to your families.
    There is so much to learn first about the ways of horses before you try telling them what to do. One thing for sure accepting a horse the way he is and then sharing resources with him and not letting him take advantage of you or take over the resources is where it all beings.
    It takes some study and the out come in wining a horse over to being easily trained takes less time than when using force and make. Thank you for ready my blog.

    Give Cowboy a big hug,
    Carolyn

MaryGayeLeBoeuf - a couple of years ago Reply

Diane

What a beautiful story with wonderful insights. I gasped when I read that you turned April over to a professional trainer and held my breath until you told us you got her back again. What a testament to the WHR and how far they can take horse and it’s owner in their relationship, communication and ultimately in the horse’s willingness to learn and perform. It was so touching when she sought you out and offered to play and be with you in the pasture. It brought tears to my eyes! It was as if she were saying, “hey, I haven’t forgotten, please be with me, can we please be together again.” Wow! That says volumes about the level of relationship you two have! It’s amazing what the WHR do not only for the horse, but for the human too. We begin to realize that we can be with horses in a different way than the traditional dominiance models. We realize that we can be true leaders and companions for our horses. It is not necessarily an easy transformation, but with Carolyn’s help, and immensely insightful and masterful guidance, we can become the leaders our horses and we, want us to be and have the relationship of our dreams. Especially when we have a horse that, prior to WHR, really has no desire for a relationship with humans! When the relationship finally comes, it is Magic!

All my best! MaryGaye

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi MaryGaye,

    Thank you. What a beautiful response to my story. I love the way you are with your beautiful Cowboy. I love the way you think and how you express your thoughts. I thought that when I read the blog you posted a short while back (sorry I did not respond at that time).

    I still well up with tears when I remember how April danced with me in that pasture that day. I still thank God for that day and for the grace He has bestowed upon us. And I give thanks for Carolyn every day, having found her, having been able to take her courses, and having learned so much from her. And learning so much from all of her students.

    What you said about the knowledge that Carolyn gives to us as being “inescapable” is perfect. It penetrates and permeates every aspect of our lives, even if we are not acutely aware of it at a particular moment. I look back at how I conducted myself, or a decision I made, or how I handled a particular situation, and there it is….that Waterhole Ritual knowledge winking at me, saying “You see….it’s not just about the horses, is it?” :)))

    I wish you all the best for you and your horses.
    :))Diane

karin kozlowski - a couple of years ago Reply

Dear Diane,

An excellent blog! It’s so true that so much of what we do with our horses has to do with personal growth, being aware of what is going on inside ourselves, and listening to our horses.

Fortunately, you listened to your little voice that cautioned you to keep an eye on April and the trainer. You weren’t taken in by his reputation. In one of Carolyn’s Insider classes, she wisely commented that “they (training methods) all work and they all don’t work.”

I’m happy for you both.

Karin

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Karin,
    Yes…I remember Carolyn saying that too. I guess I can say that I am glad I have advanced enough to be able to see, really see, when something is not working. And yes, it is a about personal growth, isn’t it? I can also say that I am glad that I am becoming brave enough to grow personally. I have lots more of that to do….but at least I am on the path. I am so thankful that I have April back. Thank you for your good wishes.
    Be well.
    :))Diane

Marja van Run - a couple of years ago Reply

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, Diane. I’m so happy you and April found each other again, after the intermezzo with the trainer. It’s obvious: you were meant to be together 🙂 !

Best wishes for you and your horses,
Marja

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Marja,
    Thank you so much, Marja. April and I, too, are so happy we re-found each other. What an experience….
    I wish you the very best for you and your horses.
    :))Diane

DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

Hi everyone,

I want to thank you all so much for your lovely thoughts and comments to my story. I am deeply moved and appreciative. I told April about them this morning and she was thrilled…even in the midst of our blizzard!

I wanted to thank Sally and Sonja for their lovely comments from Facebook. I cannot reply to you directly, because I am not on Facebook.

I wish you all a wonderous new year with your selves, your animals, and your other humans…..:))

Be well.
Diane & April

Ann-ChristineChurch - a couple of years ago Reply

Dear Diane & Carolyln
Thanks for the blog this week.
It made me feel strong, greatful and happy. Love to you all.

Anki church & Ina

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Anki,
    Thank you. I hope you and your horses are very well and that you are continuing to progress so beautifully in your Rituals and relationships! I loved you with your horses! I am glad I could impart a bit of strength and happiness to you. But then…that is what we ALL do here for each other, isn’t it? Have a terrific new year!
    :))Diane

Erica Dixon Izzy & Gracie EC Spring 2011, BTWHR's 2012, IC Spring 2013, EC August 2013 - a couple of years ago Reply

Thank you for sharing yours story Diane. I think you have one amazing mare in April! I loved her energy on the videos I saw of you two – in fact I loved your energy!
Best wishes
Erica

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Erica,
    Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and words. Yes, April is something else. What an experience we have had together. And it just keeps getting better. All due to Carolyn’s Waterhole Rituals. They are everything. We could never be where we are today, doing what we are doing, without them. Life changing. Life giving! Have a wonderful new year!
    Thank you again.
    :))Diane

      Erica Dixon Izzy & Gracie EC Spring 2011, BTWHR's 2012, IC Spring 2013, EC August 2013 - a couple of years ago Reply

      Yes same for me & Isadora with the WHR’s – another strong mare with very big opinions 🙂 (& long may she continue to have those opinions!)

Michelle Stewart - a couple of years ago Reply

Hi Diane,

What a beautiful heartfelt story and experience of a lifetime!
My eyes filled up with tears of joy because I feel so many people will never have or desire to have such a powerful relationship with their horse. So it makes me happy that there is one more person that has crossed over to the other side and looked beyond the traditional ways to train and bond with their horse.

Michelle xo

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Michelle,
    You know what?….it makes me happy, too, that I am another person who has “crossed over to the other side” with my horses, as you so beautifully put it. Thank you so much. We and our horses are very fortunate to experience this in our lifetime.
    :))Diane

Geerteke Kroes IC 2011 BWHRC 2011 - a couple of years ago Reply

Wonderful story Diane ….thank you thank you for sharing…a perfect example of how “detachment leading to en even deeper connection” works….

Thank you again
Geerteke

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Geerteke,
    Thank you! Yes, the connection April and I had did most certainly grow during those 3 months apart. Something interesting…On the day I brought her back home, she literally jumped into the trailer. That is funny, because we had had trailer issues prior. But she knew, didn’t she, that she was going back home where she was supposed to be. I wish you all the best.
    :))Diane

JayneForster - a couple of years ago Reply

Dear Diane,
Well what can I say! fantatic blog and so happy for you and your horse that you got back together,the bond is so strong with Carolyns method.I forget sometimes what it was like before,its just part of life now and thank you for sharing I do remember your videos from the course and your beautiful horses. Noo noo and I have been affected in the same way and its so wonderful isn t it.
Thank-you Carolyn as well for your wise as ever words.
Jayne and Noo noo.

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Jane & NooNoo!
    I am so glad you enjoyed my story. Yes…Carolyn’s methods are becoming “just part of life now,” as you said. And life is no longer the same…it is so much more………..
    Wonderful gift………
    Hugs to NooNoo!
    :))Diane & April

Anna-karin Hägglund - a couple of years ago Reply

Happy new year!
And what a great way to start the year with your story Diane. Thank you for sharing it. I hold my breath while reading about you giving April away, but it was a lucky end 🙂

I will take this with me:
”If I do not acknowledge my new empowerment that I gain from each day, it will not stick, for there was not enough nurtured attention for this new strength to grow.” I love that. But we do not always acknowledge our new empowerment, do we?

I love those words too!

All the best,
Anna-Karin

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Anna,
    Thank you so much. I wish you peace, happiness, and empowerment every day!
    :))Diane

BonnieJBeresford - a couple of years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn.
I wish for you a happy, joyous and prosperous 2014. You have blessed my life with your wisdom and teachings.
Peace,
Bonnie

BonnieJBeresford - a couple of years ago Reply

Dear Diane,
This is a powerful story. Your journey through the WHR did not just change you, it changed April. She would not cooperate with the professional trainer because she now knew something better, much much better, which he was not offering. Her joyous reunion with you in the paasture brought tears to my eyes. What a lesson for us all! Once we have started with the rituals, our horses will never be the same. “Acknowledge my new empowerment each day”….because the horses know it is there.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It is unforgettable.
Kindest regards,
Bonnie

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Bonnie,
    I love your thoughts and words. Yes!….April knew there was something better….and that something, I finally realized, was ME! HA!!!!! I soooo agree…once we start the WHRs, you can’t go back, we and our horses will never be the same. And isn’t THAT wonderful! What a gift!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Wishing you and your horses all the best.
    :))Diane

Teri Peery - a couple of years ago Reply

Diane,
Thank you for this lovely story. It reminded me so much of my experience with my horse Tango. I too took Carolyn’s class and found a new way to enjoy and be with my horses.
A lot has happened since then. I lost my Rusty last summer (at age 32). I knew he was going to leave but the sadness of his death has really stopped me in my tracks. I seemed to have lost so much. I just sat with Tango for days…that’s all I had the energy for. Then winter came. It is very cold here now so I just see Tango and Dezzie, say hello, and feed them (Tango has Dezzie as a new companion) Your story has helped rejuvenate me in a way. Reading it has sparked hope that my passion for horses will come back to me…Thank you.
Teri
Happy new year to All!

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Dear Terri,
    I remember you so well, and I always remember how beautifully you were doing with Tango. I was always so impressed!

    I am deeply sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is. We are so privileged to have these beautiful creatures with us on this earth. They come to us, make a home in our hearts, stay for a while, and then some leave earlier than others. I believe that Tango totally understands you at this time and appreciates your just sitting with him.

    A dear friend of mine just lost her beautiful 7yo mare to colic. My friend was so brave when she was telling me this. She said she knew that it was time for Birdie, her mare, to continue her journey, that she had completed what she had come here to do, and that she has new responsibilities to move on to. She said it much more beautifully than that, but her strength moved me and impressed me. I don’t know if I would be that strong.

    My gelding has nearly died twice. He is still meant to be with me, because he is still here and better than ever. But going through that with him was devastating for me at those times. I remember thinking, at those times, that if I lost Calypso, I could never own another horse….I could never love another horse like that. Well, I still have my beloved Calypso, but I now have, and love deeply, April. But my “love” for both of these wonderful animals (and for the rest of my critters, as well) is a bit different that it was before. It is hard to explain, but loving my animals now allows the possibility of them not being here to exist within that love, if that makes sense. I believe that has come from losing both of my parents (who I adored) in the past 2 years, and from Carolyn’s program. I’m not sure if I can explain the connection to Carolyn’s program, but I know it is there. As her program has helped me to navigate through my personal issues, and has opened me to living in this world with a more accepting, a more “allowing” attitude, it has changed my ability, in a good way, to accept the passing of those I love as part of this world. Not that we have spoken directly on this subject. Carolyn’s influence has just permeated my worldview, I guess I could say. Does all this make is any easier to physically lose these beings we love and touch daily? No, not immediately. But I believe it softens the blow a bit and over time. I think about all my loved ones (human and animal) who have passed each and every day, but I am now able to smile and to thank God to have had the precious time that I had with them on this earth. And remember, Terry, that our animals KNOW how much we love and have loved them. I hope this helps a bit.
    God bless you, Terri.
    Love, Diane

      Teri Peery - a couple of years ago Reply

      Thanks Diane for such a wonderful response.
      Letting go of the ones we love so much is difficult. It is especially hard to loose our parents…..I have lost both mine also. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss! My thoughts are with you.
      I thank my parents everyday for what they have given me. I now thank Rusty also. My thoughts are with you and I hope you and your horses along with all of your loved critters have a bountiful year.
      What you said about Carolyn’s program is so true. “it has opened me to living in this world with a more accepting, a more allowing attitude.” Thanks so much for your kind words. Being in Carolyn’s class has been such a rich experience. There are so many great people out there. I love hearing the stories of people in her classes. Thanks for telling yours! May you have a tremendous year with all your animals. Maybe I’ll see you in a future class…who knows. You have got me back to thinking about my horses again…for that I am so thankful. Teri, Tango, Utah

        DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

        Dear Terri,
        Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and words. Letting go is so hard, I agree. I remembered something after I wrote to you…a few years back, I read Conversations with God by Neale Walsch. One of the things said in there gave me great comfort and I still think about it. God told the author, during a discussion about death, that no matter how early one dies, or how odd the passing seems (like a weird accident or something), or just how out of place a death seems, or if a passing is fairly normal, everyone who passes, everyone who crosses over, is absolutely ready to do so at that moment and is prepared to do so. I thought about that a lot. I decided that I believed it. And it has helped me accept the passing of my loved ones more easily. Just thought I would show that to you.

        I, too, thank my parents every day for the life the gave me. And I thank my passed critters for all the love they gave me and still give me.

        I would love to see you in class again. I hope you and Tango are doing well together…you are a nice pair, after working out some issues….just like so many of us, huh?

        God Bless you and your loved ones, Teri. I wish you peace and wonder every day.

        :))Diane

StephanieMorse - a couple of years ago Reply

wonderful story

joanna blake - a couple of years ago Reply

Happy New Year to all!
Thank you Diane for sharing such a beautiful story, your words resonated deeply with me. After five years with my mare Sun I am only now able to start to acknowledge how far we have come and how deep our bond is. She is turning into my wonder horse and we are having so much fun trail riding. We still have lots of discussions as she is a horse who has many opinions about which paths she would prefer to go down but that’s now just part of our relationship. When she gets nervous out and about she stops and turns her head to me to ask what to do and usually words of encouragement or just a pause give her the confidence to step out. She’s ridden bitless and I feel very very safe on her. I have found it easy in the past to lose confidence when amateur and professional horse people alike have criticised my approach to training and judged Sun’s behaviour as bad but finally, I don’t give a stuff!!
Carolyn once advised me to stay close to the heart and it was the best advice ever.
All the best,
Joanna

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Joanna,
    I am so glad my story resonated with you. I, too, “don’t give a stuff” anymore as to the opinions of the many equine amateurs and professionals who like to offer their advice. It has been many years reaching this point. Carolyn’s courses have cemented my confidence in this. And isn’t that soooooo freeing?
    My April, too, responds very well to words of encouragement…if she is hesitant about something, and I tell her she is right, good girl, doing excellent, she seems to immediately understand and appreciate it…she gives me a “thanks, mom” look and we continue on. So lovely to be building this kind of relaltionship.
    Have a wonderful, safe new year with Sun.
    :))Diane

Kristin - a couple of years ago Reply

Thank you Dianne for your words. I have had such a hard year and fear I will loose my horses without enough income to support them into next year. I sometimes find myself trying to decide which one I will let go of if I have to do that. My fear keeps me in disconnect. When I read what you wrote about how your horse recognized you as the healthy leader it helps me stop my fear train.I know that both my horses even if I am in disconnect really want to be connected with me. They keep telling me “hello”! Just that I can go to this sight and read what you and others write and experience along the way helps so much. It reminds me of my path and that my path is the HORSE. THANK YOU, THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!
Happy New Year of the Horse to you and Carolyn!

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Kristin,
    Thank you so much! I am so glad to be able to give you even the tiniest bit of encouragement. I understand well how fear keeps us in disconnect. I love how you put that. And it really does. I continue to deal with issues of concern re my personal situation (as there as factors in it that are not within my ability to influence), but I am no longer on the “fear train”, as you put it. (Some moments I might be on the caboose….Haaaaaaa…..but no longer driving it from the engine…) I am more on the “let go and let God” train, because that is how life is, really, I have come to believe. We do not have control, no matter how badly we want it. So I try to let life happen around me, appreciate it, say thanks for the ups and the downs (I try especially hard to appreciate the downs, because I believe there are reasons for them and lessons in them that I am supposed to learn), and find happiness in every day, every hour, being fortunate enough to live my life with my beautiful animals. I am sorry your personal situation is difficult; I wish you much peace in moving down your path.
    :))Diane

Leanna Kielian - a couple of years ago Reply

Diane and Carolyn,

When I opened you blog tonight I thought what special message would it have in it for me this time, on this day on this read. Much of my life right now is a struggle with the changes I have been going through but True, Ama and Murphy are all here at home and they have become so much more settled through it all. The making a bit of consistant time no matter what is happening does make all the difference.

In addition I changed their daily routine using some cut down about 5/8 size now secured to posts plastic barrels with their hay nets latched inside the bottom and spread out over a “track.” I found a GPS print out on you tube to mimic. Then I try to set up some hidden cubes(small pieces alfalfa cubes don’t pick up sand so easily) everyday for “the hunt.” It sounds small but now instead of only eating alone and standing around they are not only moving from barrel to barrel think hay piles in a circle, with one smooth cavaletti to step over, but looking, searching, stretching and interacting all day as they should be. Murphy thinks the far back is the “back stretch” and True likes the curves. Ama is an older mare and is walking so much better since she is moving all day long, they are all moving better and their backs feel better also, vertebrae alignment has really improved, not to mention muscle tone. Murphy had been back sore putting his head through pipe prior(even without riding) and Ama had been too slow to see him with the one good eye and move fast enough to be safe out with him. And their social interaction has been very dynamic but constantly refining. Murphy is finally learning to respect the space of other horses and now Me! True kept him away from her and her MOM until he did, even if she had to run all over the place to protect Ama or she and Ama would be on the other side of a fence. Today I saw three horses taking a nap together in beautiful peace. And the sheep go out with them at will and leave if the horses are too active, as do the dogs. If I need to give supplements in the barn I tell them to “go home” and they self sort most of the time now and are praised for it. There is more I am working on with them in-between restructuring my life but I’ll save that for another post some time.

Diane you message to me is to try and keep them here and see if I can find someone who may have the time and the interest to work with Murphy following Carolyn’s method staying with his herd. He already lost himself with a “trainer” with nothing left no spark, no joy etc. I will never forget. They get turns now each more willing to interact with me if they choose and watch the other until its their turn. And they will do anything if I stand by with their rolling toys as a reward or bring them back from out of reach.

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Hi Leanna,

    I love the little things you have done to create movement and interest in your horses’ environment. I do the “hay hunts” also. I think the horses really enjoy things like that.

    I would not make personal recommendations to anyone in particular, because I am not familiar with her situation and I am not in a position to do that. I can just tell my experience and what it taught me, and suggest to others who may not be seeing the bond, that the connection may well be there–it is just not showing up quite yet, or it may be right around the corner. All I can say is to believe in yourself–when I do something really dumb or cause my horses to react negatively, I say to myself “I am the best horse trainer in the world!” This is something Carolyn has told us that she did. I usually then laugh histerically at myself, and any tension that may have built up from self-judging and self-reprimanding just melts, and all is good again. And enjoy…enjoy yourself and enjoy your horses. Your description of your horses waiting their turns sounds wonderful…sounds like growing connections to me….:)).

    My horses, too, are so funny as they watch the other interacting with me. They literally watch and wait their turn, saying “I’m up next, mom, right?” The carrots help, I believe. But they also watch the movement with intent. Very interesting and amusing to watch them watch. Just one of the many joys of Carolyn’s method.

    My gelding was “spark-less” when I met him. He was 6 and had had 5 owners by that time. I fell in love with him and promised I would love him always. He improved much over the years. He improved a lot with Parelli. But the greatest change I have seen in him has been with Carolyn’s method. He has his spark back now. The Waterhole Rituals seem to make him just plain happy. I cannot say enough good about Carolyn’s program.

    I wish you the best with your horses, Leanna.
    :))Diane

      Leanna Kielian - a couple of years ago Reply

      Diane,

      Thank you so much for your sweet reply and sharing on this post with me. Your remarks about Carolyn’s guiding words to tell ourselves could be a very useful tool for me, especially if I don’t take myself too seriously. I find it quite interesting about the horses now horses self sorting and lining up to take their turn interacting with me, seeing it as another step in the relationship that somewhere in the other world of horse relationships aka “training” just didn’t occur. They(the horses) are not the challenged ones in ability, we are by our preconceptions. They communicate to us constantly if we are willing, able and have the presence to recognize and hear their messages. We can do the same and can even choose the method, as they do using verbal, telepathic or postural and probably a lot more ways as well.

      I have now been on my filly’s back about a half dozen short times and I bet you can visualize how she and I did it; with the assistance and help of Ama and Murphy. No drama, no tack and a whole lot of listening on both our parts about comfort zones and a whole lot of communication and respect both ways. Rewards for a job well done doesn’t hurt. She knows where to stand to invite the conversation. I actually thought “we” would do this four years ago, we never did, neither of us were ready but that was an “I” not a “we.” I have learned to recognize True’s changes in maturity and to recognize what I call “her invitations” to new levels of interaction and communication. I’m really seeing in a new light. When she is ready, she is ready and how to proceed in the experience is in short intervals watching and building her comfort level, and when you get to a certain point she is settled and fine and it doesn’t really require repeats in the future after breaks in the activity. Just don’t overload new challenges. Each horse here is very different in learning pattern. Either that or I am changing even more than they are individuals? in learning style. Time will tell. Murphy took two years to get past blanket demons at the start of winter, reacting in one way or another. True: a blanket is a blanket so? There never was concern in the first place. However she has not adapted to trusting in situations where things went wrong like the University Sr. Veterinary student(from Australia) that hit her. I went into shock and disbelief and in fact failed her, and I don’t to this day know what they did prior in the back when I wasn’t there(I heard about “difficulity.” True came home with a capped hock. We went to a DVM Behaviorist after that, who in addition to some instructions on conditioning training(/treats) and setting boundaries, told me it was my job to protect her. So that is how I related to your story about April being a difficult horse. True and Ama are Andalusian and descend from a bullfighting mare. True had preferred to face conflict and better yet actively make it go away. She can now quietly choose from multiple choices without always getting stuck in forward. A big thanks to Carolyn for that. Sorry I wrote so much but you really did touch me with your story and your insights.

      Thank you for being you and for sharing a bit of your story, Your personal experience’s, thoughts, and ideas are a wonderful contribution to the richness of this Journey of a lifetime.”

Tamara Blits - a couple of years ago Reply

Diane you put a tear in my eye. I’m sure you’re going be the best, with April. Carolyn is a great teacher. God Bless You and your horses.

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Dear Tamara,
    Thank you. Yes, Carolyn is unique, as I look at the teachers throughout my life. I have never met anyone who can impart information to people in such a perceptive, kind, and effective manner. She is incredible to me. God bless you and your critters also. Have a wonderful new year.
    :))Diane

Pavla Nygaard - a couple of years ago Reply

Wonderful. I am proud, inspired and touched by your story, Diane and April! Here’s to more of that in 2014. Ditto as far as the positive impact that Carolyn has on the people and horses whose path crosses with hers.

Pavla

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Dear Pavla,
    Thank you! I enjoy being in class with you. We are so fortunate, yes? Have fun learning and progressing in the Bitless. Dittos to your ditto! See you in the summertime.
    :))Diane

claire preddy - a couple of years ago Reply

It is 11pm on a windy evening and I have just done my nightly rounds with my youngest daughter to say goodnight to our horses and check all is well. My eldest daughter is upstairs in bed staying over for the second night. Tomorrow we bury her beloved ex racehorse Trigger. He was finally helped to leave us yesterday after 18 months of illness. His final collapse and seizure brought to a close seven lovely years with this noblest of horses.

As I stood with my 6 year old mare, I asked her why she wouldn’t let me near her emotionally; why she couldn’t accept my love when all our other horses could. She is my specail horse and as I left the yard I felt how I always feel with her – that I am inadequate, not good enough, that she needs better than me.

I opened up my emails and found The Journey and the opening lines hit me in the heart. They could have been written about Peponita. So much of this story fits with my journey with ‘Nita and it somehow made it ok. It made me see there was hope for us too, for it all to come right so I am very grateful for this blog on this of all nights. Very grateful. It has given me hope.

We are full of grief at the passing of our lovely horse Trigger, that I have helped care for night and day these past 18months but he is free from pain now and dancing on the wind and I am free too to learn to love my mare and grow the special bond that Trigger had with my daughter,

Rest in peace Trigger, dance on the wind and fly to the stars. It has been a privelege and a pleasure to walk this path with you. Forever in our hearts.

Claire

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Dear Claire,
    I am sorry for your loss. God bless Trigger. God bless you and your daughter for loving him so. God entrusts these animals to us for a while, doesn’t he? It is our privilege and great joy to care for them and to love them. You have done that well. I am happy to know that my story could help you. Be loving, patient, and non-judging with your self. Be happy with Nita. Enjoy the not-knowing and the growth. I wish you the best with her.
    :))Diane

      claire preddy - a couple of years ago Reply

      Thank you so much for your kind words and your very sound advice. I appreciate it so much.
      Claire

KayTomlinson - a couple of years ago Reply

Dear Diane–Thanks for sharing with us your journey with April. It’s inspiring–what a relationship you two have developed! I remember seeing the video you posted in our IC class last year, the one of you and April dancing–such joy and freedom in it…. I’m so looking forward to doing that with my Galahad, as well. Reading this reminds me to have faith and patience, and the relationship will continue to evolve.

Big hugs!

— Kay

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Dear Kay,
    You will dance with Galahad….be sure of that. Your love for him shines through. Let it all evolve…and enjoy the evolving. I am glad you enjoyed my story. This is an awesome journey that we are all on. And we are so lucky to be here.
    Hugs back!
    Diane

Stina - a couple of years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn, Happy New Year!
Thinking of you.
This is going to be a real magical year, looking so much forward to our continued heartfelt co-operation. Sending you sun, rain, rainforest music, ocean waves, wind, rainbows and love.
Stina

Stina - a couple of years ago Reply

What a beautiful blog, so well written, right to the point and full of love. I a was just thinking “oh NO” when you turned her over to a so called professional trainer, so so good you got her back to you.
Wonderful, you are so lucky to be on this journey of love, leardership, awakening and connecting.
Thank you for sharing – Love Stina

    DianeUrsch - a couple of years ago Reply

    Thank you, Stina. I am so glad you enjoyed my story…what a cliffhanger, huh?! Teeeeee heeeee……. And you are right…I am so lucky! Lucky to have my April back and privileged to be experiencing this journey with Carolyn and all of you. See you next summer in the course.
    Love,
    Diane

      Stina - a couple of years ago Reply

      thanks, i will see you next summer in the bit less dressage class, but perhaps even before as the classroom is still open and we are going to send in a few new videos soon.

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