A Code Of Conduct that will help your Ability to Connect Deeply with a Horse while Communicating and Training

A Code Of Conduct that will help your ability to connect deeply with a horse while communicating and training.

Training a horse at libertyIf you are dancing with horses at liberty it is paramount that you practice this code of conduct that brings about a good relationship with a horse while communication and training. It is based on when to respect your horse’s personal space and when you should ask your horse to respect yours.

I first learned how horses create relationships from my experiences as a child observing horses in natural wild horse herds. At this time I discovered a code of conduct that produced a sense of well being and brought about a shared trust and respect. I discovered that squabbles over sharing territory and food settled down when the code of conduct was upheld and shared.

I have since followed this code all my life and it is the answer to an unbroken ability to stay in alignment with a horse. When I interact with horses at liberty and follow this code of conduct, horses respond to me as a family member that they trust and respect. In no time at all, following this code, a horse will choose to follow my lead and feels safe doing so. This code of conduct is universal to all living creatures, even humans.

This is how it works as it relates to human behavior. If we are invited to dinner we follow the social etiquette of the host. For example; when the host would like us to sit down at the dinner table we respect this custom. We also are careful not to over stay our welcome and we don’t take off right after eating as that would be rude. We also do not ask for more food if there is no food left on the table nor do we take food from another person’s plate and so on. All of these behaviors fall under a single code of conduct that we learned from our elders.

Pixabay Image 743905Often times this code of conduct is taught to a horse soon after birth by their mother. The foal learns when it is ok to nurse and when it is not ok. The foal learns to respect the needs of his or her mother. This creates social awareness. The instincts of the foal at birth, along with the lessons he learns from his mother and the social interactions he shares with a herd, develop appropriate social behavior which contributes to getting along with other horses and forming friendships. The earlier a foal learns social behavior the more social conscious he or she is throughout it’s life. The later the opposite is true.

When a foal looses it’s mother and is raised by humans it has no idea how to get along socially. He or she most always will have problems wanting to listen and understand how to fit in. There is a name for this condition it is called Orphan Foal Syndrome. Orphan Foal Syndrome is easy to prevent by training a foal that there is a time to nurse and a time not to nurse, like a mare would teach.

When a foal is born he or she knows to follow it’s mother instinctually. It also knows how to move away from anything that would try to approach. In the beginning this behavior is what makes it easy for a foal to learn the universal code of conduct regarding personal space, respecting how another horse is feeling in the moment, and how to behave around food.

Photo by Lynn HayesWhen a horse walks up to you, he is entering your personal space just like a guest that you may have over for dinner. In this situation he will listen to your wants and needs more easily. If you do not set your limits a horse can become pushy. It is important that you take the leadership role in regards to your personal space requirements. The limits you set need to be flexible for this is how a horse learns how you want to be treated in the moment. When your horse walks up to you, the more willing your horse is to leave your personal space the move you can let down your boundaries. If your horse then begins to be pushy again you go back to setting your boundaries higher. If you enter your horse’s personal space, you then need to follow his lead and respect his feeling and right to his personal space. It is a back and forth shared relationship. When this code is practiced and upheld trust, respect, and friendships are formed and a great harmonious connection is achieved. The dance you share at liberty is then shared As One.

What you learn working a horse at Liberty with my method will support anything and everything you do with a horse. What you learn about horses in these course will amaze you. This class is for you if want to grow your leadership, and grow a deep bond while learning how to develop your horse’s instinct to follow your lead. You will enjoy the journey and so will your horse. I hope to see you in the class.

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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Betsy Davenport - 7 months ago Reply

I am interested in your saying that horses have an instinct to follow a human being. That is a new idea to me. I know they do follow people, and domesticated horses are trained to do so; and I know they are naturally curious, but I never thought any animal’s following a human being was instinctive, as encoded in their DNA.

They put up with an awful lot of species-inappropriate treatment, and I’ve often wondered about how it is that they consent to it. Granted, some do out of fear, some for a reward; neither of which has anything to do with co-operation or self agency.

Can you comment?

KayTomlinson - 8 months ago Reply

Dear Carolyn–I love this post! It really says it all! Learning to behave according to this code has made such a HUGE difference in my relationship not just with my horses but with people, too. Thinking in this way helps me be more aware of the boundaries that others have and need, as well as my own. I really believe if more people behaved in this way, both horses and people would be happier and more peaceful.

Thank you SO MUCH for your leadership!

Love and hugs!

— Kay

    Carolyn Resnick - 8 months ago Reply

    Kay thank you for sharing my blog on your Facebook. I hope more people read it for sure. It is the secret in the amazing relationship you can have with horses and people too.

Alison - 8 months ago Reply

Thank you for this and the way you put / explain issues. I thought I had always been pretty clear about conduct around food etc but my 3 year old has recently become a bit food aggressive (yet it was her mother who was starved before I took her on! ). At a clinic with Linda I realised that though I ask for good behaviours around feeds I had missed subtle ‘soliciting’ esp from this youngster. I’ve changed my approach and now wait til there is stillness in body and head, and what a difference! I ask her to wait on a mat 12ft or so from where I put her bowl. Once still, and preferably offering me two eyes, I invite her forward. I stand about 6 feet to the side of the bowl and she now calmly comes to me to check in. Once still I point her towards the feed. Even at that point I can now quietly ask her to wait before putting her head down. NEXT challenge is to work on asking to lift her head back out!! Thank you for the WHR philosophy and understanding. It’s really challenging for us as humans but the rewards are huge :-))

    Carolyn Resnick - 8 months ago Reply

    Alison, Thanks for sharing. Glad things are going well for you. Getting her to put her head up needs to be addressed as soon as possible because what you have taught her up to this point will not translate to other things you are doing with her when you would like her to listen to your requests and respect your wishes. I do not what her to set your limits in what you are allowed to ask her to do. Be sure to get to Linda as soon as possible if you need help.
    Take care warmly,

JayneForster - 8 months ago Reply

Love it x

lydapola - 8 months ago Reply

I have been putting my herd of five horses out to pasture this week for the first time since the winter. I noticed day by day they have become more and more aggressive with each other and me as to who will be the first to pass through the gate after I open it. My reaction after 3 days of this agitated behavior has reminded me of the days 2 years ago when I learned the waterhole rituals and learned how to send them away until they respected me and my space. Yesterday I brought my lunge whip and kept sending them away from the pasture gate until each one of them settled into a more respectful outlook toward me and each other. Not surprisingly they began to calm down and when I opened the gate they each took their turn at a walk through the gate into the green pasture. Lovely.

    Carolyn Resnick - 8 months ago Reply

    Lyda, I am pleased to hear that things are moving right along in regards to peace keeping. This is your job for every. It is important to always monitor aggressive reactions. Horses like children thrive on this kind of direction. take care, Carolyn

Jill - 8 months ago Reply

I just acquired two, 13 year old mares. Neither one has ever been haltered or handled. I have had them for 4 weeks. They are in a 60 foot round pen at this time. I have been able to halter and work with one of them. She now leads and I can brush her and rub her with my hands. The other one I have been unable to halter. I can pet her at times. If she has any thought that I might have the idea of trying to put any type of rope, bailing twine, etc. on her she flees. Would your methods help me be able to halter her? She will follow me around without anything in my hands, and I can pet her head, neck, and back, to her loins.
Thank you for any ideas or help.

    CarolynResnick - 8 months ago Reply

    Jill thanks for leaving me a comment. In answer to your question “yes” my online course starting June 26 can guide you in training your horse to halter that is enjoyable to both you and your horse. In this class you send me a video of you and your horse. I then coach you in how to appraoch your particular horse with my method. It is an easy step by step method. What you will be learning along with getting your horse haltered is how to train at liberty to develop a perfect working partnership. You can use both horses in the class if you like for no extra charge. Hope to see you in my class. Warmly, Carolyn

Desiree - 8 months ago Reply

I love this! Both the conduct around food and your take on personal space and flexible boundaries have had a profound impact on my being and working with horses. Thank you for that!

    Carolyn Resnick - 8 months ago Reply

    Desiree thanks for your message. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed my blog.

Lisade Kramer - 8 months ago Reply

I spent an hour with my horses today. Habanero is in a pasture by himself as he has been rather rude with my other gelding. So I sat my back to the gate where my other four horses were fed on the track. Habanero was really pushy. I had my wand and would just waive it above my head and he would back off. He was getting really mouthy to the point that I thought he would nibble a little too much so I asked again for him to back off. Finally he just walked away and started eating . The other others would come up behind me and check me out but they could not nibble on me. Can I count sharing territory with them also? Thank you

    Carolyn Resnick - 8 months ago Reply

    Lisa thanks for leaving me a comment.
    In answer to your question Sharing Territory happens in the moments when no interactions are taking place. What you did with your horse is great but in those moments you stepped away from Sharing Territory to work on your relationship. The relationship grew out of Sharing Territory which is a good thing. In Sharing Territory you are working on yourself not the relationship.
    Sharing Territory is a state of being where you are completely at peace. The benefit of Sharing Territory is that you will feel a shift in your consciousness that empowers your relationship with your horse. From this state your ability to know how to relate to your horses will increase a lot. Being present to the moment will turn you into an amazing animal communicator.
    Sharing Territory will bring interacts with your horse when the horse chose to interact with you. this is the perfect time to develop your relationship as you did. What you are attempting is to balance the dance and the pause in what takes place hanging out with your horse.
    Hope this is of help,

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