Connected Riding with The Waterhole Rituals

I have another new horse sighting. It was with a student of mine. She had not ridden her horse for some time and rode him. She started him back with all the precautions one would take to bring a horse back, but did not share space with her horse or make a great personal love fest connection. She did not do that with this horse because she never needed to do the rituals with him before.

Well, he bucked really badly but showed no signs that he would object to her getting on him at the time. She was sure he was fine. During the bucking, he paused and she jumped off. As soon as she did, the bucking continued. As she stood there in shock, the horse stopped bucking and gradually walked back up to her. At that point, she thought that getting back on again would not be a good idea and decided to take things much slower. Over the next two weeks, she worked her horse by hand walking him, sharing territory, and lunging him. He was also tied up around the barn and horse trailer. Occasionally, she would saddle him up, but not ride him, and do lots of uberstreichens and intimacy interactions with him.

She waited until the nice parts of the day to get him out, and companion walked and trotted with him, and gave him treats for halting. She worked on her connection with eye contact and continued to work on petting him and rubbing him all over his body so that he would relax. Sometimes, she would pretend that she was going to ride him, in order to see what he would do with some weight in the saddle. She would then reward him by talking to him and treating him for being relaxed and soft in the eye during this process.

One day she decided to saddle him up and see if it felt like she could get on him again, and if he gave her permission. It was a warm fall day that was beautiful with a crispness and softness to the light. After much companion walking and trotting and working on eye contact and relaxation, she decided to try to get on. She worked on getting on him for 45 minutes, feeling if the time was right, and if he would allow her to get on. Finally, after feeling everything was right and as both of them were very relaxed, she attempted to get on, easing into the saddle as she had done so many times before. Still he was relaxed and calm with a pleasant look in his eye. He had no desire to buck and they began to slowly walk around the arena. Her mom was on the ground and gave him carrots at various intervals. After about ten minutes of easing around the arena. She got off, and the two happily walked back to the barn!

Not only is this a new horse sighting, it was a new human sighting as well. It was not about getting the buck out of the horse as much as it was about reforming their connection and partnership once again.

Here’s some food for thought…..


Have a wonderful weekend! May the non-force be with you!

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alec - 6 years ago Reply

That is an amazing story I cant believe it took all that effort, fair play.

Geerteke Kroes - 6 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn Thank you so much for sharing this clip. It confirms my own experiences with the horses and their humans I have had so far and will have in the future when they consult me when anything seems out of order with the horses and I can give them an idea what influences there are that may at one moment or the other have been affecting the horses behaviour, immune system or whatever. If it is appropriate and necessary I will gently inform all concerned and connected.

Warm greetings from Geerteke Kroes

Máire Kennedy - 6 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn,

This post and your last is very timely for me. If you remember, I had some telephone coaching from you a while ago about managing the dynamics between my cob, Ben and my little pony, Rosie. Your advice was great, worked a treat and Ben and I had some great rides and even better interactions. You said he was the type of pony who might follow me everywhere and that is just what he started to do.

However, I went on holidays in August, so Ben and Rosie had a holiday too. When I came back, I assumed we could continue where we left off, but recently Ben has been becoming more reluctant when I want to ride him out from home. Yesterday he bucked, twice, leaving the gate which was a surprise to me. I rode him through the bucks and out we went but I have been thinking about it a lot since.

When I bought him over a year ago, he was quite sour and did not want to be caught. Recently he has started that again, if he sees me carrying a saddle. I had him with a chiropractor recently and I am fairly sure he is not in pain, so I think what has happened is that I have lost the connection I had gained with him on the ground and I need to re-establish this. I will follow some of the suggestions in your post to help me do this. My question is – as he is quite a dominant little horse, how do I soften his energy without letting him walk all over me?

Many thanks for this timely post,


Susan garvin - 6 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn, checking in. Wonderful story you shared this week, and thanks for the video, very interesting and giving hope for those of us who feel we are in a sinking ship in today’s world!
I wanted to report to you something I worked on a lot over the weekend, after re-reading your UE blogs and listening to the talk again. It’s about pressure-release. I tried both with the first UE exercise, and then with the lead rope for positioning Miki where I wanted him and getting him to stand still there. I also used it when we were out in-hand grazing and he was getting rude pulling me over to the nicer grass or not wanting to start back to his stable in the direction I was asking. I am referring to the way you described of putting a bit of pressure then slowly-slowly easing off, then the pressure again and repeat. He responded so softly and willingly, and I realised how much I need to slow down and gentle-up! Even though, beforehand, I would not have said I was being too hard or too rough, it seems I was shouting when I thought I was whispering….thanks!
I would like to know if you are continuing to read the Uberstreichen blog for questions or should we post our UE questions here?
And also, you mention frequently in the various UE blogs that there will be videos, are you referring to the students’ videos already posted on the blog itself? Or – joy of joys – will there be an illustrative dvd?
Many thanks for all as ever,
(IC Italy)

    Carolyn Resnick - 6 years ago Reply

    Dear Susan,
    I lost the time to do the video but I will have another free winter class on the ue’s. You always have two options one to pull and slowly increase the pressure when the horse is willing to except more pressure and the other is to pull and release the pressure. Do both and experiment around. If your horse tries to pull away you keep light pressure and go with him until he relaxes, then let go and start in again.

Virginia (In the Box) - 6 years ago Reply

Hi, Carolyn, Your last two blog posts have been just amazingly coincident with what is happening with Snowy. When I first got him (2 1/2 years ago) he was basically compliant when ridden except that he would bolt suddenly when movements became hard for him and he became tense and spooky. While he did well in lower level dressage and some jumping, he then developed back problems, partly because we had such trouble finding a saddle that fit and partly because he has been so tense. His background was Arabian halter and Arabian liberty, and then being backed late at around 7 with only a year and 1/2 under saddle off and on when I got him. He had also flunked out of Western pleasure training. With me he has had about 9 months off from riding because of the back trouble in which time he has had shockwave treatment of his neck and back and also of the muscles which had developed spasms. I have been working at learning the Waterhole Rituals with him starting in about November, 2009 when I discovered this blog. During the time before WHRs, he was sweet and compliant on the ground but rather distant. With Waterhole Rituals, at first he showed a more angry sometimes arrogant side, like he just did not want to do anything, and he did not have to listen. He loves treats so sometimes he would work to get the treats, but with a sour look. I have persisted trying to figure out how to connect in a deeper way. A few weeks ago I was thinking about all the horses I have had, and they seemed happy, happy to see me, happy to be with me, and to do things with me. I decided I just wanted him to be happy. I thought of his foal pictures his prior owner gave me. In them he seemed forced and tense, and then he just submitted and complied but without happiness. I was struck with how that seemed to be a motif for how he has seemed doing everything. Since he has done things well, and seemed to like them once he was going, he was always being pushed into things, like the horses Carolyn described. But amazingly since I decided I just wanted him to be happy, something has changed. Snowy has just softened, been much more affectionate, and even seems bored, like he wants to do somethings. He has let me put my new treeless saddle on him and fuss with it to get the fit right. I have been on him a couple of times and ridden very briefly, and started lunging him again to get him more fit. But all with asking him first if it were OK and with lots of treats. Once in a while he pulls a sour look, but I stop and wait and pet and praise. And after we are done, he seems happy, and continues to be affectionate and much more trusting. I feel like we are finally connecting because all I want is to have a happy, loving time with him doing something fun. I was trying to figure out how to attach the foal pictures I have which illustrate the compliance without real willingness but I could not figure out how to do it. Thank you so much, Carolyn

    Kalee Gracse - 6 years ago Reply

    I LOVE your story! I am having a similar experience with my horse Oz and you described it so beautifully that I think I actually understand my experience better.

    Thank you Virginia and thank you Carolyn.

Holly Vanasse Insiders Circle - 6 years ago Reply

Just checking in. Enjoy your weekend!

Anne - 6 years ago Reply

Great blog! I read most of Gregg Braden’s books several years ago, and they are absolutely amazing.I am so glad that you are presenting such wonderful material to all of us , going way beyond what other “trainers” are doing.

Julie Mazur - 6 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,
I am sharing territory with a new horse, he is out 24/7 with my friend’s 2 horses. He has bonded strongly with the mare and if seperated from her spends most of his time calling for her and pacing. So I have been sitting in the field with all 3 of them and reading. Is this best or should I be sitting with him by him self?
Thank you, Julie.

Helen Edwards Lutsch - 6 years ago Reply

I have just watched all 7 of the videos: Gregg Braden – The Science of Miracles on YouTube – and hope that all of you will watch them, too! No further comment necessary…
Thank you for giving me the link.

Peace, compassion, healing and love,

Anna-Karin Hägglund (In a box) - 6 years ago Reply

Hello ! Just checking in and reading the blogg.

Have a nice weekend!


Toby (Elizabeth) Houtman - 6 years ago Reply

Hi, checking in, as always very interesting!

Joanna Blake - 6 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,
Really powerful stuff! I realised a few months ago that I that I hadn’t felt uptight or had taken things personally and got upset for a long time. What drew my attention to it was noticing that my horse had torn down alot of intimacy barriers and she was regularly asking for cuddles and specific rubbs, and so i’m not sure where she ends and I begin anymore!
Thank you for this post,

farah - 6 years ago Reply

This video is explaining quantum and metaphysics. This how we know all life is connected On a cellular level. It iS why how reiki and energetic healing works. I run a computer program called the LIFE system that works on this very premise to do local and non local energy balancing on humans and animals alike.

Andrea Schwiegel - 6 years ago Reply

Very timely also for me as I am thinking of riding Clarence again. Wonderful post – thank you.
Have a beautiful weekend.

Stephanie Morse - 6 years ago Reply

I am so happy to see so many people (including myself) starting to take the time it takes to do things with our horses.

Have you seen the works by Dr Masaru Emoto who has done studies showing the different forms water crystals take when thoughts of love and thanks are directed to the water, verses negative thoughts?

The forms taken by the love thoughts are so beautiful, like snow flakes.

The forms taken by the negative thoughts – scary.

Have a wonderful weekend, Carolyn

Regina Walter (Insider Circle) - 6 years ago Reply

Really enjoyed that and the you tube! Thanks Carolyn


Helen Edwards Lutsch - 6 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn!
As usual, I always learn so much from your blogg and always look forward to the next installment. This new sighting was lovely, and in align with my own erperiences with my own horses. I cannot, however, see the video. I understand it must be one with Gregg Braden, whom I searched on You tube. Can you please tell us which one it was- I’m sure there are more of us who could not access it from your blogg.

Warm thoughts for a wonderful weekend with new enlightening sightings!

Caroline - 6 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn

Amazing post! I read theoretical physics 20 years ago now. Recent things I have been coming across, like this Utube you sent, are igniting my passion for this fascinating subject. The story of your student is so simular to my journey with my coloured horse. I used to be so ficated on riding him though thinking I wasn’t as the same time. I am now really beginning to see and understand how being grounded in my body and very clear in my head makes such a big difference to our relationship. It is an epic journey with so many things that have come into my life over the last couple of years now really connecting at a deep level. I now only wish to ride him through a mind and body connection. It feels like a monumental task, but the difference is that I now understand what it means to be on a journey and that the end point will probably never be reached, and that really doesn’t matter. Thank you for continuing to inspire!

    Carolyn Resnick - 6 years ago Reply

    Dear Caroline,
    If there is an end point to be reached you with reach it because you will have the support system from nature to support you. We all want connection. Horses need for connection is so strong that it is the first thing they will look for when they are separated from one another. To know how to working with the support systems in nature you need to be in the moment with the right attitude.
    By taking your time the energy of connection can start to flow for you.
    When you are looking for solutions to a problem your focus is on resistance that causes more resistance, in these moments the flow of connection is pinched off. I send time in mediation it helps me to connect with the flow. then I enjoy dancing and use dancing as a practice to strengthen my natural ability to connect.

      Candle Hill - 6 years ago Reply

      Dear Carolyn,

      Your response to Caroline’s comment (above) seems to exactly answer a question that came up for me this morning as I was riding a very green horse, big Max. Today he wanted to stop and look around every few strides and ignore me when I urged him forward with my seat and a gentle cluck. This is not something he does when there is a carrot in the picture, or when I am playing with him on the ground. Several years ago, when he was lame and I first began hand-walking him in new places, he did it all the time. He’d stand still and scan the horizon for a while, as long as five minutes, then in his own time calmly pick up the connection with me and resume our walk. Then do it again a bit further on. In those days, I just stroked him, waited him out and walked off again when he was ready. After a time, the behavior diminished and disappeared. With that experience in mind, I just sat on him this morning when he stopped and looked, and waited for him to mentally come back to me, which he always did, after a while. But I was not at all confident I was doing the right thing. That old “don’t let him get into bad habits” demon raised its ugly head in my mind. Now, if I am reading your comment correctly, you remind us that connection is everything and the solution to my problem is probably just to wait until his natural need for it brings him back to going along with me. Thank you, again.

Kerry - 6 years ago Reply

My DNA always lightens it’s mood when I see your blog in my inbox! Reading your blogs adds depth, peace and joy when I need it most.

Thank you Carolyn for the positive effect you have on my day from all those thousands of miles away. That to me is a miracle in itself!

Here’s hoping you know what you do for others and it makes you feel wonderful!


Marja van Run - 6 years ago Reply

This video confirms what I have always known deep down inside. We have barely touched the surface of experiencing what this knowledge implies. Knowing and experiencing are still often miles apart (for me anyway ;-)). Amazing, thanks for posting Carolyn!

Sally Spencer - 6 years ago Reply

You have done it again Carolyn!

I suppose I should give up being impressed as to how perfect your timing is! The wonderful support of connection.

When your previous blog about bridling the dressage horse arrived, I was working out ways to help an ex show-jumper-dressage horse with the same situation. I have ridden him in a bitless bridle but I have not found one he likes yet. He knows his previous life’s work so well. To keep him from ‘feeling at sea’ with too many changes at once I just introduce little particles of something different and this is working well.

I decided to work with what he knows, so he knows I know about him as he knows and is very secure with. Even though he wears a biti bridle, and has been ridden with a not very releasing and soft hand, I can maintain softness and encourage him to lengthen and relax. He has had the bit pushed into his mouth for years. I refuse to do this so have been utilising his intelligence to how he can participate himself and work things out together. We were making progress. It quite often took a while, which was fine but I didn’t feel I quite inspired him enough.

We have made more progress since your blog as a result of new changes in my thinking and presentation. He took the bit himself in 45 seconds!
So thank you.

So this morning I am reading this blog and feeling the similarities of the story with a lovely horse I bred, whom I have and am still doing this reconnection work. He has also been experiencing some physical things so our reconnection is taking time. He is telling me he is ready now. The exchange of our understanding is beautiful. I am familiar with Greg Braden and was sent this You Tube video a few days ago and have forwarded it to others.

I feel that we are in the midst of an amazing shift. Bit by bit he masks are being removed and step by step we are liberating ourselves. It is a priveledge to be asisted by horses.

Thank you again.

Monique - 6 years ago Reply

WOW, no words

Lots of love


celia McCormack - 6 years ago Reply

Great post… research that needs to get out there to the rest of the world…

We are embarking on so much with the current research and technology that lets the intuition of so many be supported by science to back it up and provide many a non believer with great information and opening some minds to the truth of love and forgiveness..

Celia …

pnaake - 6 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn, Great blog and very timely for me as I am going through the process of starting to ride again after quite some time.
You answered a question of mine recently about leading from behind where my horse Monty was turning and facing and circling me. I am doing as you suggest and it is working great. Also giving him a treat every time he halts when I ask as we are leading from behind is of great benefit.
Thank you for that.
Also to answer Christian about the heart connection my beautiful horse Prince who passed a few weeks ago said to me through an animal communicater
“A true connection between us is from the heart and not from the mind”.
Thanks again Carolyn from your wonderful blogs.

Candle Hill - 6 years ago Reply

What astonishing information! I just googled Greg Braden and look forward to reading more about what he has to say. This video clip raised many questions in my mind about the three scientific studies he cited. I certainly would like to read them if I can find the cites anywhere. How, for instance, did they go about measuring the emotion of a strand of DNA? But whether or not the studies legitimately prove what he says they do, his larger point, that good emotions are good for people (and by extension, horses) cannot be challenged. Evidence is everywhere in almost everyone’s experience.

In reading your new horse/new human sighting, I was struck by the similarity between the experience your student had with her horse and the incident I described (with my 18.3 TB Max) in response to the blog you posted earlier this week. Max, I am glad to say, was infinitely more temperate in his bucking bronco imitation than your student’s horse apparently was. Also, he got over it a lot quicker.

Yesterday, I saddled him and took him to the arena right after breakfast, when I was feeling good and zippy. I removed his halter and we played on the ground for about half an hour. I started with free lunging and then some very fast Go Away and Returns, a game he likes a lot. He galloped and bucked a few times in the cool morning air – feel-good bucks, not angry bucks, and cantered right back to me. He was clearly glad to be sharing the moment with me, in contrast to my unfortunate lapse the day before.

After thus encouraging him to discharge his energy with an empty saddle, we did the first two uberstreichen exercises as best as we could halterless, then some companion walking and finally just shared territory for a while. He stood very close to where I sat on the mounting block and appeared to be feeling pleased with life — he has a very amiable spirit. By this time he was both relaxed and nicely connected. I stood on the block and gestured for him to “assume the position.” He moved alongside the block and stood there quite willingly. I slipped on his halter and attached the reins. Then I lifted my small two-step plastic mounting block on top of my big wooden one (Max is VERY tall) and climbed into the saddle. He just stood there, relaxed, head down, not even thinking about moving as I snugged up the girth and adjusted my stirrups (something it took weeks to achieve, by the way). After a bit, I cued him to walk on. Off we went, smooth as silk. The recalcitrant buck of the previous day was relegated to the ash heap of history. As long, that is, as I keep my wits about me and don’t shirk my responsibility in our relationship.

Christian Gundermann - 6 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

this is completely mind-blowing (the youtube you posted). Very a-propos for a lot of stuff I’m going through right now with humans. And you know what, it’s with my horses that I can feel this most directly in a positive way: the direct effect of my energetic level. There is no one better than horses to learn this with. Is this what you call “heart connection” and what Candle asked you to explain more a few blogs ago?

Thanks Carolyn, always mind-blowing.


Laurinda - 6 years ago Reply


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