The Not So Great Escape – Part 1

Today I am sharing the first part of a story with you from a friend and another one of my Insider Circle students, Connie Funk. It is stories such as this that make my work teaching others so rewarding.

Connie writes so beautifully and always from the heart and if you like her style, her first book “Beauty from Brokenness” is now available from the Other Products page of the website.

I’ll be writing again on Thursday with more information on the free Uberstreichen Exercises class that I’ll be running over the Winter. If you haven’t registered yet or have sent in an email or you have just written only a very brief comment to last Thursday’s post, then remember I need the following from you if you want to take part:

  • Your full name (if it is not part of your site login)
  • A brief introduction of your experience with horses
  • Your interest in my Method – what attracts you to it
  • Our history if we have one
  • The name of your horse(s) and his (their) personal training background(s)

This must be written into the comments section below, please do not send an email. Thank you.

I look forward to talking with you more on Thursday and until then I’ll leave you in Connie’s caring hands.

Carolyn

 

My name is Constance Funk and I believe this is the first chapter in what may become my third book about my journey with horses and life thus far. The Not So Great Escape is a story that truly illustrates what my study of The Waterhole Rituals™ has done for me and for my horses. Today, because I have read and reread Naked Liberty, studied Carolyn’s Methods and put them into practice in our daily lives, I am able to translate them to what I love to do with my horses, which is to spend time with them on our acreage at home and ride them on the mountain trails nearby.

It was in the most extreme heat of the summer and the pastures at their driest when I broke my promise to my herd. Perhaps Gaela and Max could overlook this blunder, but not their fearless leader, Chasta. I had specifically told them that in the heat of the day I would come and take them to the woods for some shade to look for the verdant grassy spots that they so loved and deserved during the the greatest summer drought that we had experienced in many years.

Instead, I was back in the shade myself, ironically reseeding an area in pasture grass under huge evergreen trees for them that I had been grooming and had kept watered in preparation for unveiling in the spring. As I cranked the wheel to scatter seed from a manual box held under my my arm, I heard a vehicle pull up our long drive and an urgent honking. My first reaction was that it was our mail delivery woman, but realized that she had come earlier in the day and I had taken an oversized package from her when I was out front tending the gardens.

So I came out through the gate to see my friend Tom who had come to repair the antique barn lamp. He had circled the drive and motioned for me to jump in as he hollered in a serious tone, “Your horses are out on the road!!”

What a difference there was in me in that moment of urgency from my early days with Chasta! When this wondrous mare first came into my life, she bolted on and off our property on a regular basis and escaped routinely. Only the grace of God prevented either of us serious injury, but my adrenaline level, and certainly hers, was frequently off the charts.

Now I responded with a deep grounding breath and a quiet and calm question: “Thank you! Did you notice what direction they were headed?” I asked without a trace of panic. Tom looked at me dumbfounded as he pointed in the direction of the river and I went in to the tack room to retrieve a rope halter. “Don’t you need three of those, and to have me drive you?” he asked urgently as I smiled, thanking him, and headed down the drive on foot.

“No, it is the golden one that I need to apologize to. She is the horse who opened that gate when I failed to show up to take them out,” I said as I pointed to their opening to freedom and the wild blue yonder. “But what are you planning to do?” he replied, baffled at my casual demeanor. He thought he had spotted an emergency. And he had, in the respect that it required immediate attention, but I felt certain that Chasta had opened the gate in her left brained calm Houdini mode and was likely leading her charges without any unnecessary exertion to find greener pastures since I had failed to show up as promised. Just a happy field trip. So over my shoulder I exclaimed, “I am going to attempt to negotiate with a very smart mare!” He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head and headed toward the ladder and the lamp.

I looked out as she does with the eye of an eagle down to the ridge of trees by the river but my gut told me that they had headed the other direction once on that road. More than any other teacher, Chasta has taught me to respond to those intuitive instincts, so I turned my head in the direction that I felt their presence and way out in the distance they were enjoying the deep green grass on unfenced neighboring acres that was next to their vegetable garden that was watered regularly! Chasta found the best lush green grass available that was closest for her little herd, exactly as a good lead mare would find with the least amount of energy or danger to get there.

Thanking God they were safe, I repeated my prayer of gratitude that I had uttered aloud when I went to get the halter. “Thank you, God, for sending my horses home safely” as if it was the only outcome and the one I firmly planted in my heart and vision. I knew that Chasta could remain calm, but I wasn’t as convinced that Gaela or Max would with possible traffic in the form of rumbling farm trucks or tourists driving too fast on the back roads, and if they had headed to the woods without a trail, someone could get hurt trying to stay together and keep up. Rather than attempting to surprise them, as if that were possible with this wise mare, I spoke softly and quietly and very directly, feeling my voice would travel across the vast distance both audibly and from our heartstrings of connection (in Carolyn’s enlightened words) from all of the time we have spent practicing her Waterhole Rituals™ particularly Sharing Territory as companions without any agenda.

“You have my sincere apology, Chasta. I lost track of time and did not come to help you find better grass, so I see you have taken up the matter yourself. Well done! I am not coming to catch you. I am coming to spend a moment relaxing with you as you enjoy it and then I would like to take you all home so that you can stay safe. The roads, farm fields and woods are not places I want you to be without me.”

She was a great distance away but I was convinced that she had heard every word and felt my intention and I smiled at this wise soul who never took her head off the ground as she chewed, but her eye and ear spoke volumes. Even though the huge space between us remained, I felt as if the volume of our surroundings and all of my senses had been turned up. I sat down, laid the lead rope and halter on the ground and looked out at the incredible view from this vantage point on top of Pleasant Ridge where we are blessed to live. Though I knew our neighbors had this spectacular setting, I was certainly not used to grazing my horses in their front yard pasture, particularly since their grounds are impeccably maintained! I looked up towards their charming wraparound porch and waved back and forth, hoping they may see me to know that I was tending to the business of removing my herd from their property,however casual I may have appeared.

Before long, Max the Shetland pony headed in my direction and I thought about altering my plan. If I took him home, there would be one less horse who could have a problem and maybe Chasta would take mercy on us. Max follows me everywhere and had never resisted any attempt to being haltered, but as I stood up and took a step in his direction, he trotted off with impunity with an expression that seemed to say, “You have got to be kidding me! Can’t you see I am at large with my mares?!!” I looked over at Chasta and she watched my every move at cheating and not following through on connecting with her as I had clearly stated. She still had not taken her head off the ground, grazing as she observed my flub. As Chasta moved off further away, I immediately sat down again and dropped the halter, owning up to my mistake. Next was Gaela, who is also very loving and comes to me wherever I am.

This time, no matter how tempted I was to think of having her haltered and on her way home, I just stroked her legs and belly and showed her some really nice clover next to my shoulder as I laid down completely next to her, looking up at her magnificent tri-colored markings, with a wonderful perspective on her huge chocolate colored furry heart over her left flank. She grazed nearby me for several minutes, seeming to approve of my calm demeanor at their grand level of liberty before she calmly walked away.

To be continued……

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daena rose - 7 years ago Reply

hello carolyn,
this is my first visit to your blogs. i have only just discovered you by searching for furthur liberty guidance with my horses. i have 2 PRE i have raised and trained from youngsters(Vaquero”V” and Chili) and 1 Hispano Arabe(Tammy), . i train and teach natural horsemanship at my farm El Prado in SW Spain.
My life is centred on my horses and sharing them with others who wish to grow through their contact with horses.
Horses have always been a part of my life and i am privileged to now be able to dedicate my time fully to sharing life´s journey at their side.
I have always held horses close to my heart but only in the last few years realised the depth of our bond and am constantly open to developing our relationship. i am drawn to your work because i feel it may be the key to furthur communication between us. i am physically limited by injuries and arthritis and so must limit the riding i do. i see my future more beside my horses rather than onboard so liberty work is a rewarding partnership i see with no limits for me.
thankyou carolyn for being here for us. i look forward to working with you.
daena

sherry thomson - 7 years ago Reply

Wow, what a journey this is. A little history about my horse involvement.
I rescued my first horse when I was about 10 years old, up until that moment my girlfriend and I spent every waking moment being horses, we galloped everywhere and had many adventures as horses. I was always a pinto and rather feisty. Fast forward to a hot summer day when I decided to be a little nosey and asked a man who had stopped at our local gas station where he was going with the horse in his trailer I was horrified to learn that he was taking the mare to a slaughter house. Without consulting with my father I told the man that if he delivered the horse to my home just across the road my father would probably pay him 100.00 dollars I don’t know how I came up with that exact figure but the man with the horse took me up on my offer. Voile, my dad having a soft spot for animals and his daughter, who thought she was a horse, oh yes and the pleading that this would be my birthday, christmas, passing every occasion covered present ……. agreed to the merger and I had myself a pretty little appaloosa with no name no tack just a halter and a rope. So for the first couple of years I rode her with a rope slept with her, on her, basically loving her and being loved. I really didn’t know any different. I eventually had some tack given to me and would use it from time to time but preferred to just hop on her and go. As life has it I grew up went away to school and my dad took over the bond with my horse. My next experience was after I was married and decided that I needed to get back to horses only this time I entered into the show circuit which took me away from my instinctual feel into a whole different world and I thank God that someone introduced me to the Tellington touch and presto I was back …. feeling and being with my horses.
Fast forward…… I sold my show horse to buy my daughter her first show pony and her life with horses began while mine took a back seat . My life took some twists and turns and I ended up going through a divorce and again my life changed. I have only recently found myself through my own spiritual growth being led full circle back to the love of my life”The Horse”. My latest experiences are definitely divinely guided. My passion was reawakened when my grandson was born 2 years ago this Jan. the 1st. I immediately had visions of training a paint foal to be his companion.My search began but everyone I knew tried to discourage me they would say that it was expensive it would take years before I could do anything with it and on and on. Basically I kind of listened and from time to time I would look at postings on the internet and even went as far as making an appointment to view a paint filly that was about an hour from where I live. Well we drove for hours and hours trying to find the farm where we were to view the filly it just was not meant to be . Again I kind of gave up on my vision quest, that is until through a search for info. on reconditioning a saddle I came across a posting for help to train a 7 month old paint filly.I answered immediately and met my filly a week later. The man who owns the farm has 9 horses and a filly , the girl who posted the add is working for him but I am usually the only one at the farm. When I started working with the filly she had no name and had been purchased at an auction and taken from her mother. She had been in her stall for 3 weeks and no one had touched her. I named her Shilouh and started doing Tellington touch with her she responded immediatly and we have had an amazing connection and bond. I have also been working with a thoroughbred who was head shy and could not be caught he now comes to the gate to greet me and puts his head down to have his halter put on. He has also been helping me bring Shiloh in out of the field as she gets a little stubborn and won’t move forward he nudges her rear until we reach the gate and actually yesterday I was so amazed and moved , I was aprroching the field and the entire herd of hoses escorted Shiloh from the far end of the field all the way to the gate. What team work…….. I have also been using Frank Bell’s methods and I am excited to be guided to you and your work. It seems like a natural progression and deffinitly an extension of my journey. I have the opportunity to work with the entire herd and 6 miniture ponies. I will be very busy this winter………. Namaste Sherry

Kerrie Stepnick - 7 years ago Reply

Bless you Doris for a beautiful horse rhapsody – from a Montana girl!

Doris - 7 years ago Reply

Carolyn,
Since I started reading your blog, found Stormys DVDs in Canada at the Nevzerov clinic..and watched Hempflings work..I find I am most partial to your work and Hempflings work..both..as I love the dance movements with my horses..when I do graceful movement they really respond. Also I am a classical singer so music is very important to me and I hope to use more with my horses as I progress.

My horse Kenai was off the range in Montana and was not even started until he was 8. He is very street smart in being a horse.unlike many of his barn born domesticated brothers..and I thought after bringing him back here to Pa. that I was way over my head..but it turns out not…. He is a big old time walking horse..big boned..very sound..was never shown or messed up in the abuses in the walking horse show world. I have two others I rescued that were..one came back to soundness..the other has not and cannot be ridden but I keep him safe and sound as my contribution to the horse…as he did not ask for what happened to him…
At any rate, I was lost with Kenai for a long long time because no matter what I tried to do with him ..he seemed always pissed off at me..like I would just rub him the wrong way.. He never liked ground work..and I am 63 and do alot of stuff on the ground with my geldings..but he would just get bored and look at me like I was a loser…(I can laugh about it now). At any rate, I got your book Naked Liberty and was mesmerized by the book and your descriptions and the wonderful experiences you shared with us and you are incidentally a wonderful writer…and I then got your first DVD and started just sitting sharing space with Kenai and the other two geldings..and it was very remarkable…the change in attitude which was most evident in Kenai..even to the point of him following me around even at liberty to the manuere pile and while I would be cleaning stalls…as I allowed him to.

The second thing that made a HUGE difference to Kenai was when I took territory for food. We have only really gotten that far…but I see a very big difference in our total relationship. I have begun to see when he is in his happy place…or when he is irked with me…and I have not figured out what it is that I do or do not do to irk him..but I am looking at myself when it comes up..which is a lot less “training stuff” and just sharing time…and trying to find out. Other thing is because he was started late..I think his attitude about work comes up. He never had a good “work ethic” and I was told by his original owner who is an old time rancher in Trego Montana and is 96 now..that when they started him he was downright “rank”..like a bull..thats the particular word OV used..that Kenai had been rank..H really resented being asked to work by humans as all his life he had been free…at any rate..the good news is that he is never rank with me..and he is a really big gentle ben at heart.and a fantastic trail horse..beyond anything I could have ever been blessed to have in my best dreams..he is my dream horse….but he is a horse who it is hard for me to find how to keep things interesting enough for him..and here is my dilemma..he loves food..and he loves to work for treats…but when I remove them and ask him to work without treats he gets annoyed with me…

I am not sure how to properly use treats as a motivation to work…and I admit I love to treat my horses with everykind of apple and carrot etc..and for awhile before I found Stormy and you and Hempfling I meandered into clicker training using a click and treat method…which I did not use on Kenai much ..but on my other walker Maxie…so with Kenai I transferred some of that information and I would often ask for soft yields and then treat…always teaching something..which has helped a lot…but, now I find he gets annoyed if I dont treat..and..he just wants the treats..

So ..I know alot of people dislike treating and dont use it at all..the Nevzerov people would advocate only working 10 minutes at a time and then treat lavishly if you so choose..and in his DVDs I notice Nevzorov does teach and treat…..as a motivator..although they dont discuss it you can sometimes see it in the DVDs…

What is your feeling about treating and or using it as motivator to do work when a horse is like my Kenai …sometimes bored about doing stuff but finds really great motivation in working for a treat..? It is particularly seducing to use treating with a horse like Kenai because there is so little else in life he is interested in working for. I try very much to get him interested in me and our partnership and spend a lot of time these days..but as you teach he always has the right to walk away and often he still does..so I just let that happen and stay there until he comes back..we are still not there..the way I would like but it continues to progress…

Thanks Carolyn for all you do for the horse and us.

Incidentally..I am hoping to get retired end of next year and dont know if I could afford a full program with you but my dream is to travel out there and spend some time for a few days with you…dont know if you ever do that or what you would charge or if you give local programs….since I am on the East coast it would a huge financial undertaking for me once on social security but would love to save dough towards doing something like that with you…my dream would be to bring Kenai out with me..but dont know if I could ever truly cross country with him..as he came in from Montana successfully but after coming cross country is not crazy about the trailer…at this point in his life..
at any rate..I would probably come without him..if I could swing it…I have a camper if there was a place to came locally near you to come for lessons or a seminar..etc.
(thinking out loud)
Doris in Effort Pa.

Pamela Houghton, ND, LAc - 7 years ago Reply

Thank you so much for making your expertise available. I recently came across Naked Liberty and was profoundly moved by it and am looking forward to ordering your other material.
I’ve been loving and riding horses since the age of three, though I was not able to afford my own until I was 40. My first horse, a grade Arabian mare, died 2 years ago at nearly 30 years of age. Now I have Native, a 17 year old OTTB, Amaya, a 5 year old Morgan, and Joy, a 6 year old Arabian – all mares who share a pasture. Native was very troubled by her track experiences, which sadly included being abused with a “hot shot”. I worked with her extensively using Natural Horsemanship techniques as well as working with an excellent and kind dressage trainer. Ultimately her fears resulted in unseating me one day, doing a gallop depart off my right ankle, which was dislocated and shattered. Though I have ridden her a few times since the accident, I discovered I had osteoporosis and decided that our relationship would be best served with me on the ground. She is extremely kind, intuitive and healing to participants in the equine facilitated workshops that I host as part of my practice as a Naturopath. Amaya is a bold, inquisitive girl who loves dressage work and has been with me since she was a yearling. Joy, formerly a brood mare, has had a small amount of riding, and while laid-back, is not partial to fulfilling requests. My riding background is a combination of dressage and natural horsemanship. My interest in your work stems from both an interest in our communication journey and a comment in your book about Ora Rhodes and his/your ability to ride in your horse’s footprints. I have been researching for writing a book on vaquero horsemanship and whether it is possible for a horse to be comfortable working as both a bridle horse and a classic dressage horse. I feel fortunate to have found you at this time in my life and am looking forward to learning from your online blogs. By the way, what is the Inner Circle?
Pam Houghton

Celia McCormack - 7 years ago Reply

Your full name : Celia McCormack

A brief introduction of your experience with horses.:

I am a back yard 4-H girl… Now 53 years of age. I was introduced to riding at age 4, loved horses.. only bareback most my life. My first horse was “Pal” at age nine, I was able to have a horse of my own for 4-H. I could not show as I had no saddle. I have some how been envolved with horses in my life in and out of college, adult life and now.
I hike, ride and love my companion of 28 years. An arab gelding and I had my 1/2 arab mare 19 years…I was fortunated to have the experience of training and conditioned for a family who rode the Tevis Cup back in the 70’s.
I learned so much riding and conditioning horses for them as I learned to depend on my horse!!. I rode with halters and lead ropes, seldom a bit..
I play hide and seek with my herd. I did not know the term “liberty”, yet that is how all my horses on the property of 39 acres have been treated over the years. no barn, no stalls, just land, grass, hills, trees and a pond. Feeding time is all at liberty with direction and food from me.
Just this Saturday.. . The shoer comes, my gelding, he walks to the truck, he greets the shoer, the shoer trims and files all 4 feet with out halter or rope.

I just acquired a 4 year old..I hope for him to be my new companion. I have done every thing in the past by intuition. I wish to grow, learn and understand what I am doing to improve the things I do with the new young gelding.

Your interest in my Method – what attracts you to it:

I enjoyed watching the freedom and relationship between you and the horse. Some thing I have experienced but did not really understand the significance of. I listened to your DVD, I read your book. It all speaks to me.. makes sense and I have similar stories. It resonates with me.

Our history if we have one:

I signed up for the program this fall that just got canceled.

The name of your horse(s) and his (their) personal training background(s)

Sun is the 28 year old gelding… we are buddies, ride and do every thing. I do not use or have an arena, we ride all open fields, trails and hills. Redwoods and mostly hiking, bareback and tailing up the trails.

The 4 year old gelding is ” Magic” 1/4 conamara,1/4 arab and 1/2 TB.
I have had him 21 days, He was a rescue horse, he has limited handling and/or training of any kind.
We are making huge adjustments and is now welcomed into the herd. I can touch him all over and go for walks and lead with and with/out a halter. He was most willing and accommodating to have his feet trimmed and filed Saturday!! He has a great mentor of My Gelding!! Looking forward to learning and teaching eachother.

Celia McCormack

Daniela LeBlanc - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn,

Thank you for wanting to share your Ueberstreichen exercises. I am very excited to see you taking an active approach in teaching people a viable and humane alternative to the Rollkur. I have had horses now for 6 years and consider myself one of the lucky ones since I quickly realized that there had to be a better way than what I was being shown during my riding lessons. Shortly after starting lessons, I bought my gelding Chase who drove him this point each and every day. He had very little trust in people and no confidence in our ability to understand him. I have had an amazing journey with him for the last 6 years and in October 2008 decided to buy a mare he was pastured with. Our little herd of 3 has created quite a stir at the barn I am at. I spend a lot of time not doing anything or seemingly very little but my horses are both very connected to me. I came across your book “Naked Liberty” a while back but had not read it until about 6months ago (I have a VERY large pile of “to read” material). I found it very much spoke to my heart and I have been reading your blog regularly. Both Chase and Sassy (my mare) are very sensitive horses while I am a rather Type-A personality. Neither one of them enjoyed their prior circumstances but are now very content. I’d like to build on that and also improve my own craft. I think your approach can help me immensely.

thank you again for sharing.
Sincerely

Daniela

Constance Funk - 7 years ago Reply

Hello! Thank you Carolyn, for your willingness to share this story–You did a wonderful job presenting it in two parts and creating a ‘cliffhanger moment’ so that others would be drawn in—the “to be continued” seems like the perfect metaphor for what our horse companions offer us—Every day together, our journey continues, and it can be such a joy to fully experience what will happen next. As so many others mentioned in their responses, we have tried many methods with little,some or significant success, but the overall picture changes dramatically when we allow true liberty and your Waterhole Rituals to become our language.

Though I do have a desire and intention today to continue to improve my skills as a horsewoman, it is not a linear approach. Rather, I am showing up every day far more present in every situation so that ‘the now’ becomes our shared joy. This naturally leads to ease and connection. Mistakes and missteps become interesting ways to gather information. Choices that create desired responses become relaxed and intuitive.

I am very eager to learn the exercises and know that they will be a way for Me to express my love for my herd, and to feel their appreciation for our bond. Everything I offer them in love returns to me a thousandfold!

My best wishes to you and all of your students for a lovely Thanksgiving in the states and blessings of the season to those around the world. Because of you, Carolyn, the Heartstrings of Connection unite us. Reading Naked Liberty changed my life and therefore the lives of everyone I touch. So to you, I am incredibly thankful.

Love,
Connie Funk

Jenny Anderson - 7 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn, I’m not sure if it’s too late to still try and get on board for the exercise, but I thought I’d give it a shot.

I’ve been riding horses since I was about 3 years old. I grew up in Colorado and always had horses at home and also worked for my hunter-jumper trainer training horses for about 10 years in my late teens and twenties. I took a bit of a break for law school, and I now live in South Africa, but I recently purchased an ex-racehorse. I’ve put showing to the side and now practice natural horsemanship techniques like Parelli exclusively. I’m an avid Parelli student, but also am interested in other complementary natural techniques, which is what attracts me to your methods.

My horse’s name is Toby, and he’s a 7 year old dark bay thoroughbred. He was neglected by his previous owners, who stopped feeding him properly when they stopped racing him, but he’s bounced back and is an incredibly good-natured and understanding horse given his background. I’m his first experience with the non-racing world and it’s been a treat to teach him that he is now a pet and loved and not just a machine. Little things like teaching him what treats are has been really fun.

Jenny

latisse - 7 years ago Reply

nice

Anne-Marie Reed - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn,

I would love to learn about the Uberstreichen exercises.

I have owned horses on an acreage for 40 years. I knew little about riding to begin with despite training in veterinary medicine. I have never had the desire to compete, only to enjoy my horses. I did enjoy 15 wonderful years with a special Andalusian mare who was very willing to please.I spent many years taking dressage and jumping lessons, but do not consider myself to be a “great rider”.We have owned and bred Andalusian horses on a small scale.

But I always felt that there was a dictatorship when it comes to horse training in general.I started my journey with The Payh of The Horse, discovered your book and DVDs, participated in the In The Box Program and read your newsletters faithfully.I have been doing ground-work only this past summer with my aloof mare, Esencia, who was very nice to ride but with which I had no real connection. She was also at the bottom of the pecking order.Things have really improved a lot, she has much more self-confidence now.I also have another mare, Ama-Retta, who was orphaned at 3 months ,then spoiled, then Parelli-trained, but now is benefitting from your Method.

Lyse - 7 years ago Reply

Dear Connie, I so love your stories. I can just see Shasta leading the herd down the road, without too much worry. This story caused me to recall when Sully, now 23 yo Arab gelding, decided it would be a good idea to trot down the driveway, turn left and head toward a busy street. So funny how when I ran behind him, he ran ahead of me… just like Carolyn talks about with her wild horses. It took a moment for Sully, and I, to come back to our left brains, which is when he decided the grass at my neighbour Sheila was perfect…
Thanks for sharing this story Carolyn

Devony Lehner - 7 years ago Reply

I sent in my name and a little background, but didn’t send you the bits about why I’m drawn to your methods and the names of my horses.

I’m drawn to your methods because horses have for the last 6 or 7 years been my spiritual teachers, thanks largely to people like you. And I can see that they are your teachers too, and that your methods inevitably help us become open and humble and aware and empowered with our horses in the ways we need to be in order to receive what they can teach about soul and spirit and connection and Now. The “qi,” presence, and Nowness to which they’ve introduced me has been utterly transformative. I have a Masters degree in Biology and used to believe absolutely that rational, cognitive-based approaches were the only ways to know and understand “reality” in meaningful ways. Now I know how truly ridiculous that notion is, thanks to my horses and to people like you. I used to think the only reason to have a horse was to ride. Now, I love simply sharing “space/time” with my horses, and they respond to my love, openness, and agenda-less curiosity in ways that continually open new doors of awareness. My horses led me to your book and to Linda Kohanov, Mark Rashid, Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, Temple Grandin, Ariana Strozzi (at whose Skyhorse Ranch I received my certification in equine-guided education earlier this year), Sherry Ackerman, Tenis Helliwell, Duane Elgin, and more other teachers than I could name, and I cannot thank them enough for how happy they have helped me become.

My four horses are: Ceilidh (as in an Irish village dance party); he’s a 10-year old Morgan-QH-homesteader-horse gelding and my special, special guru; Sophi is a mare of about 18, half registered Morgan, and she was the last horse raised and owned by one of Homer’s homesteaders, so she was “broken” and trained as a beast of burden; Mickey, a gelding of about 6 is Sophi’s son and was raised by one of the homesteader’s kids without any “boundaries, rules, or limitations,” as Cesar Millan would say. Mickey is very very bright, very very curious, and very very full of himself, but a lot of good-tempered driving him away and “leading from behind” has really helped him become much more polite; and Sweetheart is the blind gelding, about 10, who was beaten blind as a semi-feral 3 year old when his owner’s son couldn’t get the young stallion to lead, so he tied him to a tree with a rope and beat the crap out of him. The same gal who raised Mickey rescued Sweetheart (and named him), and Sweetheart may well be Mickey’s dad. Sweetheart is the very bottom of the totem pole in my little herd, but remains extraordinarily good natured and even tempered and LOVES interacting with kind-hearted people. He doesn’t have even a whiff of “victimhood” about him and watching him explore and manage his world has been wonderful and illuminating.

Sorry to have shared so much. You know how it is when we get talking about horses…

Blessings to you, beautiful being, for all you’ve done and are doing for us and our horses.

Wilma van Wyngaarden - 7 years ago Reply

I was reminded of a time last fall when I was looking for my horses.
They live on several hundred acres of pasture and bush. I know during the day where they are likely to be as there are several places they like to hang out, but each place is not visible from the others and I could spend an hour or more walking from place to place.

So I walked all the way up to the end of the field. No horses.
I debated whether I should hunt in other areas, then thought, no, I will climb over this ridge to see if they are there. The very second I thought that, I heard a noise and looked up to see my arab’s head peer through the trees to look at me. What a beautiful sight!
It was as if one moment was just ordinary and two-dimensional, and the next moment was purely lovely.
The years that I had no horse were so dull.

Wilma

Danee Rudy - 7 years ago Reply

I would love to participate. I use a mish mosh of natural horsemanship methods. I mainly use presure and release but have experimented more with positive reinforcement. I have a mustang gelding, Rave, with who I won sixth place in the Midwest Mustang Challenge in 2008. Biomechanics are very important to me. I love dressage but I also love bridle-less riding. I have extremely high goals and while competition is not important to me I would love to one day compete at a high level in order to show others that it can be done without nose band, spurs, and hyperflexion. Anything I can learn to help me with that goal is very appreciated!!!

leah astrup - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Caroyln,

My name is Leah Astrup. I have a 14 year old Spanish Barb mare named Bonita. We started her as a 6 year old and since then her training has been very hit or miss as we have been dealing with Insulin Resistance for several years and so her health has been up and down. i gave her alot of time off to recover her health. We are finally making some steady progress but she is pretty out of shape so I am looking for anything I can do to help her continue to get back in shape safely.
I have been studying to become an Equine Touch practitioner and so have become very aware of the soft tissue damage that can occur from inproper riding and training.

I have had your book and video for a while and have thouroughly enjoyed them and your methods. Spending so much time just being with my horse has really improved our relationship and I can see the benifits of what you teach.
I would love to be able to learn these excercises.

Thanks,
Leah

Anne Porteus - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn, I would like to participate in your Uberstreichen excercises. My horse is a liver/chestnut Holsteiner mare, her name is Kina, she is a 16.3 hands and 14 years old. I own her with another woman, and we have had her for about 2 years. She was very looky, looky, almost spooking, kind of uptight to lead anywhere. She is a good worker, goes round when you ask easily as long as we are really moving forward. Being so big, she has quite a forward gait. She is bit bouncy, and I would love her to canter a bit more collected. When she is under me and we are moving in snyc she is easy to ride and very responsive. She likes working. Its when she is behind my leg and we are not moving together that it is uncomfortable for both us us. She gets a bit up and wanting to go ‘her’ way in the canter, and I find it harder to stay calm and focused, and not get tight in the hand. I have to ride her relaxed and yet ‘on’. Then it is beautiful.

I met you at the EGE conference you presented at. I had been working with Ariana Strozzi for about 4 years and was an assistant. To be honest, I was interested in meeting with Robin at the time, (after your presentation) but did not do so, as I was easily intimidated by a horse coming straight at me and then rearing. I now have more confidence, but still am not interested in making my horse rear. (this is already one of her ways to react)
I have been using your Waterhole exercises, and as i mentioned earlier, the ‘moving my mare off her food’ gave me a lot of confidence that I had lacking. We have not practiced the move away and come forward exactly like you show it, as my traditional barn, does not have a good place for me to work with her that isn’t often too busy. I do work with her easily tho on what i call free lunging. I can ‘lunge’ her in a large arena, in both directions, keeping her in a circle, and me not chasing her, and this is good exercise and she ‘listens to me’. She chews, bows, and turns to me for direction. She will come to me if i stop and ask her to. She has had very strong training in standing still, so I feel that she is not exactly sure that it is ok to come all the way to me at the end of an exercise. I have her respect and love, but not completely. She will walk with me but if i move away too fast or start thinking about something else, she will wander in another direction.
What I am hoping from learning from your U. exercises is a way to get her to collect, with out having to ‘work’ her neck/jaw so much, she easily goes round, but then if i get tight she pulls from me, and i go soft and sometimes this is too soft. We are getting better together, both on the ground and in saddle, than I actually ever hoped to be able to do.

I was a rider, then i got scared and fear took a big bite of me, and I couldn’t ride, and then I have slowly recovered my confidence and am allowing my body be the rider it knows how to be.
Learning anything to help me be a better horsewoman, and a way for my horse and I to understand each other is always a gift. Please consider me and Kina as a student for your program. Thanks, Anne.

crissea - 7 years ago Reply

Hullo Carolyn,

Crissea Grovenor
I attended a 3 day 1-on-1 clinic with you in 2008.
I was a student in the Waterhole Rituals Insider Circle Program.
I will be taking private phone coaching in December.

I think the Uberstreichen Exercises would be very beneficial for Andre.
Andre likes to work, he waits at the gate wanting to go out and he is very happy now that he is getting some physical routine , a walk and wash and groom.

I have 3 ex racehorses Ransom has not completed all the waterhole rituals yet and Rikki is still at the sharing territory stage.

Andre is 10 years old he stopped racing at 6 years. His previous career, used to ride him but he has not been ridden for 3 years now. He was lonely because he had no horse friends.

I had a good time with Andre during the Insider Circle Training however our connection has become much stronger. The environment of the last agistment was very limiting in places to work and I was abit stressed.
Once I decided to find a better place, I relaxed and used to sit with Andre while he ate breakfast and sing to him.

I am now at a lovely agistment which has excellent facilities.
Andre has now settled in very well. he gets on well with Ransom. He is very happy and looks wonderful.

I now walk him to the stables past other horses and sometimes cars, tie him in the stable groom and clean his feet and he makes no fuss. After some work I hose him down as it has been very hot. He is no trouble to wash. However he is still a bit nervous of being sprayed on his neck.
He is fine with his legs now.

He has had a couple of lessons with a teacher (in Classical Method of Longeing). Andre wears no tack and the signals are given with the use of a short and long dressage whip. Andre understood and was very good just walk to trot and today to do some cantering. He however has resistance on the right rein. Now I will learn how to longe Andre.

Next week I a will be taking him into a beautiful arena and working with him away from Ransom with the WHR I have been Leading from Behind with both horses and today they both companion walked with me in the paddock, we played by the water tank and they were soft and gentle with me and each other.

Thank you so much for this opportunity.

amelia romaniec - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn,
Thank you for sharing your “water hole” method of interacting with horses.
I own 40 equines( POA, welsh , grade , mustang) and have bred and raised them for 40 years in pasture groups.

My goal was to raise ponies that children could train.My riding lessons have always lasted two hours so each student could share more time with his mount before and after riding.

I have introduced your method of training to the children who ride with me, and adults who will listen. The kids understand right away –the adults take longer, It seems I have to “prove” your method works.
Unknowingly I have practiced many of your exercises before you put a name to them.

I did enroll in the in a box program , but have not yet received the cd of the calls. I enjoyed the class very much.
I have not posted to u tube yet.
With your exercises I have brought shy ponies to boldness, bossy ponies have become tolerant , hard to catch ponies are now “in your pocket”!!

I have too many to just train one at a time , so I work them in a group..
One I did focus on went to a horse show after only 6 rides and behaved beautifully, We entered him in a costume class as a beach pony , riding bare back ,carrying a beach ball!

Also I can worm these ponies without the use of a halter in the open field!
They all crowd around just waiting their turn .
In the arena we start them riding bareback with just a rope halter and lead.At a certain time it seems they just invite you on to their back!
I am excited to learn the uberstreicken exercises.
Thank you for all your effort to improve the equine world,
Amelia

Carolyn Resnick - 7 years ago Reply

Tara-express is want I wanted to say not repress

Carolyn Resnick - 7 years ago Reply

Dear Tara,
The lessons on the U.E. will be on my blog every Thursday. Your lead mare needs more leading from behind. Maybe it would help by asked her for only two or three steps at a time and then take a long brake and make a fuss over her, then add more steps over time. Do not be concerned that she does not like them. Be happy she can repress her feeling. When a horse can express their feeling freely they generally will slowly release them that is if you stay stedy and stay on course. If she fights horses that are not at all botheirng her she needs more social interaction to develop exceptance and tollerance of the things around her. A lead horse does not behave like your mare unless she is anti-social. Ofcourse in the begining she does not like the exercises becuase they are lessons in social conduct and responsibility.
But she will with practice.

Ryan - 7 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

My name is Ryan Kobe. Im 15 years old. I started riding when i was around six years old. My best friends family bought horses. I used to ride there all the time. Then they moved. 🙁 It was very sad. I stopped riding until I was 13. Then I started volunteering at the at this womens house. She had about 40 horses.

I love your method because it enables people to have a beautiful bond with your horse. I already have a pretty good bond with my horse. She’ll follow me around
her paddock and I can ride her completely at liberty.

When I turned 14 I bought my very own horse. She is a beautiful arabian mare. She is around 10-12 years old. She has had very little training. I love her!

I would love to try out the uberstreichen exercises. Even though Im not really sure what they are. :)Thanks

Tara Shaw - 7 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn,

I am interested in your new course (I assume it is an online course :)).

My name is Tara Shaw, my riding experience has gone backwards to basics. I am starting over.
I was doing very well at dressage lessons and then I bought my mare Elle. Elle (thoroughbred mare age 7) was recommended to me by my instructor. At the time I did not feel she was very well, but her health check was okay. After I bought her I found out from a farrier that had worked on her feet that she was a severely abused horse. This information came too late a I had already been thrown from her twice! I suffered a severe head injury that has left me with weakness on one side of my body. I bought your dvd’s and and your books and started working with her on the ground. We have spent hours together with me grooming her and she snuffling and licking my clothing. It took me eight months just to be able to touch her ears! Now I can touch her all over and she loves it. Now she is happy just standing still next to me, at liberty while I read.

Meanwhile I bought Caressa (16yr old QH mare western pleasure trained), a lead mare (before your books I didn’t understand what a lead mare was), and I wanted to take this “well trained” horse trail riding. I did all the lessons on dvd and spent time with her for several months and we rode in the paddock. Then I took her out trail riding with other horses. My goodness was that a mistake! She kicked everything that came in sight and bit a few others. A trainer there assessed her for me and talked with her old owner who was also there and he said she is product of her environment with the old owner who kept her in line with spurs and severe mouth bits. Sigh….another abused horse.

I now have two horses I cannot ride, and I am paying to ride someone else s’ to relearn what my mind has forgotten since my fall.

Your new course interests me. From the brief blurbs I have read on your blog I think they will be more mentally interactive for my very clever mare who really thinks us humans have nothing of interest to offer her. I think I need to establish a relationship with some exercises we can do together to get into sinc with each other! Elle may be too green but once I know more about your exercises I can decide who may be best suited. I trust Elle as far as interacting with her but she is still a bit spooky and is partially blind in one eye so if I am in the way…..well she doesn’t see me!

I saw the video of you and your horse, you had done these Uberstreichen exercises with and it moved me so much. I really want to feel that sort of communication with my horses. I need to learn how to focus myself enough, to project what I am asking, to establish some fun that we can connect through. I think I also need something more inspiring than the other horsemanship material that is out there on the market as none of seems to feel right, and it doesn’t seem right to work with your horse through dominance, but rather a “come to” approach feels somehow more balanced.

Just a question, have you found lead mares don’t respond the same to leading from behind as other horses? My lead mare hates it. But that may just be her?

Thanks for your little gems you post on your blog. They have helped me see that a relationship with a horse is very individual and is a journey of lessons that they so patiently teach us.

I may be missing something, but i haven’t been able to find very much about your free course on your blog, will you send us more info on how it works via email or will that be posted later?

Thanks,

Tara

Donna Hughes - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn

I responded earlier that I’m very interested in your course. I’m not sure if I gave you sufficient information so I’ll give you a little more background just in case.

I’ve been riding dressage, jumping and trail riding for over 25 years. I was introduced to several methods of riding that taught me how to be a good rider, but not how to be the horseperson I strived to be.

Five years ago I began researching other types of horsemanship and learned a few more things. I’d learned about clicker training first and that brought me nearer to the connection that I want with my horses. Then I started experimenting on my own. I discovered how much everything I did and thought showed up in my horses’ behaviors.

Now with some of my horses I can think ‘whoa’ or walk on, etc., either while being led or while being ridden, and they will respond. I can calm an exciteable horse by slowing my breathing and blowing like they do when releasing stress. It’s very exciting and motivating.

Somewhere in my internet research I learned about you. I haven’t read your book or watched your DVD – yet, but I plan on doing so very soon. From reading your posts I think that your methods can help me reach an even deeper connection to my horses. The Uberstreichen exercises sound like they will help my horses on several levels and so I am interested in learning about them.

As to which horse I will use, I previously stated that I wasn’t yet sure. However, if you want to know of at least one of them I will give you a little history. Sadie is out of my Paint mare and by my younger stallion. She is very sweet & very smart, but definitely has her opinions about things. She needs and wants to have her feelings addressed and then she’ll generally work very willingly with me.

I started her under saddle much later than I originally planned as I moved several years ago which put me a bit behind. She is very compact and so most saddles are too long for her. I’m still dealing with saddle fit issues, so right now I’m just doing very light arena riding with her in a treeless saddle. In addition, it turned out that she needed some body work so her riding got put on hold for a little while while we sorted this out. Now we’re ready to resume.

Perhaps I’ve written too much. If so, I apologize. I kept my first reply short as to not get too wordy, but in doing so I may not have given you enough information.

Please let me know if you need anything else as I’m anxious & excited to learn more about your methods. Thank you.

Gina Morro - 7 years ago Reply

Connie Funk how could you tell such a wonderful story and leave us longing? Don’t you know that some of us read a good book cover to cover without ever setting it down….as I recall doing just that with the embracing tales in “Beauty from Brokenness”. I am still smiling as I picture the lovely lady peeking out her golden eye as lie in the grass, wheels turning, plotting your approach. I am going to guess that the lovely Miss Chasta gracefully walked herself home forgiving you your misunderstandings. Maybe even stopping just before her paddock and dropping her head into the halter with a whimsical gesture saying “Oh dear, did you want to bring me here”. Hummm, one must make up an ending until the real one is sharing. Connie honestly I am so delighted that you shared a Chasta story… I so enjoy them!

Dear Amber, What a delight it was reading your post as well. How very insightful. What a great partner you must be to some lucky horse ! I also grew up around horses and am now happily relearning from teachers like Carolyn. I hope you are blessed with opportunities to teach others what you are learning.

Thanks Carolyn for sharing. I’m enjoying the posts!

jude galligan - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn, Ive had horses most of my life, started with my Dad who was x
cavalery, so we did it the hard way, but never was happy with that so have always been looking for different ways. Never wanted to show or compete
and am a reall loner, so joining this group is huge for me and an indication of my keenness to learn more of your methods. I have had your book and dvds for some time and really enjoy the results the horses give me. I find my biggest challenge is me, at 57 with heaps of history, I find the horses openness and willingness to give sometimes overwhelms me…………
I have 10 horses mostly bred myself, the 2 I’d like to focus on for the exercises are “boy” 1stx andy gelding and “comico” andy stallion. Two very different personalities, boy is very confident and comico is not, both are 6 year olds.
Our history is me receiving your blog and loving it.
Regards jude

Tom - 7 years ago Reply

Hello, this is such a beautiful story.. I am really looking forward to the next segment.. it reminds me of so many experiences I’ve had with horses and ponies, and what beautiful creatures they are!!!

Carolyn Resnick - 7 years ago Reply

Dear Amber,
I do a three day course that you might like that is private. Sense you are in Ca. You could visit and watch me train and see if my method is right for you.
Thank you for your letter. I leave tomorrow for vacation. I will be back after
Dec. 5th. email Mark and he can give you my presonal email address if you would like to make arrangements to visit.

Wanda Hudson - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn, Wow, that was something else to read and I can’t wait for the second part. I am very interested in the uberstreichen excercises.

My name is Wanda Hudson and I am 47 years old.

My experience with horses…I always wanted a horse to be a part of my life. When I was younger, I would ride and hang out any chance I could get which wasn’t often. About 10 years ago I decided to seriously take ridng lessons which lead to leasing a variety of horses and 7 years ago I met my soulmate. He came to me as a nasty ( biting, striking) dominant misunderstood horse. At the time I had a friend “trainer” who was going to help me with him (I had no knowledge about how to train a horse) and she quit after two weeks because he bit her and drew blood. We were on our own. I have always been interested in having a relationship with my horse as opposed to just riding. Long storey short…he is now a very mannerly horse who just loves people and people love him.

I love the way you work with your horses. I love the connection you achieve. I love that the horse always has a choice.

We have no history except I have you book and dvd which I loved watching and reading.

My horse Kitt is 14 years old and our training experience has been various methods of NH. We hace explored writings/methods of Mark Rashid,Bill Dorrance, John lyons and in the last few years have focused and taken part in the Parelli Program.
Kitt came to me as a 7 y/o and was given to me for free as his previous owner could no longer deal with his “antics” besides, he had been kicked out of all barns in his immediate area and was no longer welcome at the one he was currently a resident. It was love at first site for me because he was “pretty”. I now look back on that point in time and realise that I was being given a “gift” though I didn’t quite look at things this way till a few years later. We do have a wonderful connection but I know our level of connection and communication can certainly improve.

I hope I have provided all the information that you requested.

Eileen Coe - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn,
What a wonderful story!! I can’t wait to read more!!
Eileen

Joanna Blake - 7 years ago Reply

In response to Connie’s wonderful story and Carolyn’s suggestion to share our own stories, I would like to share a moment of awareness around the emergent, trusting relationship between my young mare ‘Sun’ and I that took place a few months ago. We were playing in the round pen (at liberty – not going round in circles!) when a lead mare from a different herd walked close to the parameter and looked threateningly at Sun. Sun wanted to get a closer look and but was too nervous so I walked closer to the new mare and put my hand out through the bars to say hello. Sun followed and then literally wrapped herself around me but without touching, by wrapped I mean that she stood closely behind me, perpendicular to my shoulders and looked at the horse from over my shoulder! It was a tiny moment but one which suggested to me that when out and about she looks to me for new experiences, but also protection when new things get a little scary! I am so looking forward to gentling her from the beginning with this method, and I am currently editing a video of our progress with the WHRs so far to share. Thank you for the wonderful blogs.

Becky Pederson - 7 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn, years ago I found a VHS at my local library which showed you working with Arabian stallions, taking their territory. I was hooked, and have used this approach on many “problem” horses. How fortunate I feel to have rediscovered you and your watering hole rituals. I just ordered your DVD, and also look forward to practicing your collection exercises. I have “home-grown” Oldenburgs which are still at home because I fear they may fall into the “horse-show” world of human vanity/abuse, however unintentional it may be.
I have made many personal sacrifices to keep my herd of six here, with the escalating costs of feed and care. In my pursuit of horsewomanship, I’ve studied almost every clinician from P. Parelli to Ray hunt/Tom Dorrance. If there actually IS anything natural out there, surely your findings are the closest I am aware of. I have a great relationship with my horses on the ground, and even with some of them under saddle. My intentions are for greater understanding of them, and more importantly to present myself to them in a way they can understand me and have more trust in me when faced with scary situations.

Years ago, I participated in competition. Now, I find that gentle trail riding is most pleasant and beneficial for both me and for the horses… mentally and physically. I have used bits for collection, now I want the real thing! Thank you for this opportunity. Ritz my 15 year-old pinto alpha gelding will be helping me in these lessons. My sincere thanks to you.

akaus@sti.net - 7 years ago Reply

Hello Carolyn,

My name is Amber Kaus, I am sixteen years old and I have been around horses since I was three years old. After winning so many trophies in sports, I still felt something about my horses I didn’t know, something I think a lot of riders are in particular afraid of.
I have not participated in sports for about a year and a half now, I have commited myself to never compete again, I find the atmosphere of competition to be most annoying, I dropped the bit and set my ways to freedom. I now the feeling of bits and trophies, sadly when I look at them I feel nothing, no pride, no happiness, and niether in my horses. It eventually made me raise questions, “Why do we hit horses? Why do we call them naughty, when we see them bite us? Why don’t we just call those horses being honest with us? I found a lot of horsemen, who once agreed with me, turn their backs on me and curse me for not following the traditional method. I refuse to ever use bits or bridles again.I will only use the cordeo(neck rope) and whip (as a hand extension).
I started to study anatomy, and have memmorized all bones of the horse, (now memmorizing muscle groups). I feel that in order for me to speak what’s right for a horse I must know both the facts and the spirit. I also became a vegetarian, feeling I couldn’t take life of animals, and say I was a animal lover. I began to find happiness with my horses, and just being with them. I no longer care for competing, just the moments with my horses, and even though I may be their leader I looked at them humbly as my teachers.

I have two horses; Cisco and Jewel.

Cisco: he has been here from the very beggining. He rode me to a lot of championships, but then I felt nothing from my trophies, and saw this sadness in his eyes. I forced myself out of sports, became a vegetarian, and set my path to freedom with using your method and NHE (Nevzorov Haute Ecole). He is a leader, and my teacher. He was once irritable with whips and punishment, and made me realize how useless it was. He has a wise nature about him, often watches, and is naturally cautious. However he is also bold and powerful and still performs some (Haute Ecole) movements even as a 23 year old Quarter Horse.

Jewel: Is a 3 year old Quarter Horse, who I originally bought for Reinning competition, then I dropped this when I found through studying anatomy that many ligemets were torn in doing sliding stops. Jewel is fiery and aggresive in nature; not evil or mean, just a part of her growing disposition of being full with ego. I have found she is often my mirror/ your waterhole rituals helped us begin to see eye to eye, which were still working with right now. She is probably has been my most harshest and hardest teacher.

I once never knew the difference between ‘froced’ and ‘natural’ collection. But one time when I worked with Cisco, and he was looping beside me I saw him collect, this collection however was different than any other, it was the most beautiful thing in the world! to see a horse coil under himself and stay completely on the vertical, and just to see all that power in them just radiate off them. Sometimes though I have difficulty finding how I did it, all I remebered was just being there. I hope your stretches help me find the link or the answer with free colletion.

When I first saw your method, I found it amazing! It became the link between learning NHE. Since without the relationship I have no way to play games with them or teach them the elements. I am not perfect, only my horses are perfect, only they are always right. I am new still, and although I study extensive anatomy, I am still a bit of a newbie. I am looking for ways to become more confident, but all I can really say is, is I want to find the truth. Even if it is bad or hard.

When I watch your horses, I don’t see a robot, waiting to obey your every command or ELSE! I see a horse willing, free in movement, not afraid to take a accidental mistep or make a mistake, and that concentrates him more on you. It’s always free and flowing without restraint or force.

It always has been my dream to meet you Carolyn, and I am so fortunate to live in California. I would like to ask the questions of how long does eah class last? Is it possible to still come, even if time is short and I can only come lets say only two days? Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sue Burgott - 7 years ago Reply

I rode when I found a horse and willing owner as a child, riding 3 lovely summers as a camper training in dressage. After a long hiatus while working and rearing a family, I have returned to riding with my own horse.
I find the waterhole rituals provided me with guides to establishing communication with my new horse. I have admired those people who have a bond with their horses, and I hope I can establish one with mine. The simplicity of responding to horses with actions they relate to has provided me with the confidence to be close to my horse, and the others at the barn.
My horse Xena is a 3 1/2 year old MFT, black with white star and sox, and wonderfully soft fur. She arrived very well trained in mountain trail riding, but never having been stalled . I had a lot to learn with Xena- from hoof cleaning to rain coating. Much has been difficult, but mastered with patience. The waterhole rituals have helped me gain Xena’s respect, allowing me to proceed with both of our training.

Stephanie Morse - 7 years ago Reply

I posted on the Tuesday blog, but I see I did not answer all the questions.

Like the others, what attracts me most to your methods is the way you are a partner with your horse. I called you (maybe 3 years ago) after I’d read your book, because one of the horses I’ve bred is very skittish and hard to deal with. I know I burst into tears when I started telling you about him, but it is because of that horse that I started looking into the Natural Horsemanship stuff. he has come a long way since then, however, I do believe he has eyesight problems so I am not interested in ever trying to ride him. I would not be using him for this class.

I went to a Monty Roberts clinic, a Parelli demo, and got level 1 of Parelli. Those 2 though, I am not inclined to have my horse see me as a ‘predator’ and do what I ask because of that. then I read your book, and your method really makes sense to me.

Since I still plan on showing my horses, I would like to be able to tell people at horse shows that the reason my horses are so wonderful is because they have been brought along with your methods.

the horses I would use for these exercises are Graham Cracker a Hanoverian/Oldenburg gelding, 17.1 hands, 8 years. He is an eventing prospect. And your methods that I have shared with him so far, sharing space, leading from behind, he loves that.

Gruski who is also a Hanoverian/Oldenburg gelding 15.2 hands, 9 years. He is a true leader and one of the smartest horses I have ever known. He was originally bred for dressage, but I do not think he has the reach with his front legs that is needed. So, I am thinking he could be a great equitation horse.

Smooth Sailing a 6 year old Hanoverian mare. She is, I hope, an Olympic prospect in the show jumping division. She is a real sweetheart and also enjoys sharing space and the limited exposure I give her to your other exercises.

I think I have answered all your questions now and hope I will be allowed to join in on these classes.

Amber Hinton - 7 years ago Reply

Valor and I greet you all. Valor is my soul friend, beyond all time and space, we have been together in many ways and he is a true wisdom keeper. He has adopted the most adorable gypsy cob body – his mother a mustang, his dad a gypsy king. When I look at him I am suspended in joy, in adoring this most incredible life form. I watch him walk and almost stop breathing, he is so beautiful, his dance with life the most incredible suspension of grace and form. The wind falls in love with his mane, the sun with the light in his eyes. And sometimes I feel myself, only the voice of his eternal song. What can I say but that I am in the presence of a great teacher, a suspended moment of the One?

I walked the route of you all, from the innocent wonder of a child in perfect expression of union, through the discordant ego walk of the adult, back to the wonder of unknowing. Back to the Present Moment, to the breathing of What Is. I want nothing from my beloved, only to serve him. To bless the fragrant hay which I offer him, to feel the wave of invitation he sends as I walk out my front door. His quiet waiting for our time together. I find blessed rest in his eyes and perfection in his scent.

And our dreams – how we run together. My lungs fill with breath effortlessly and I canter beside him or am transformed back into human again, floating blissfully in cadence with his broad strong sweetly swinging back.

In this body of mine I have 57 years and it doesn’t quite respond like it used to when I was 16! (that’s why I love our dreamtime so much!!!). As a human companion I have read all I can of others’ journeys – together we have played with many languages: Parelli, clicker speech, TTouch, and the mysteries of Hempfling among others. It seems to me everything is good but for us the way of the Beloved only endures. And it is beyond all words.

So Carolyn I thank you for your beautiful open heart, for your sharing of wisdom gleaned from the Waiting. I welcome the gifts you so lovingly give into this changeling time – a season of our awakening.

Andrea Schwiegel - 7 years ago Reply

Hello Carolyn,
I’ve already written to you, but maybe I did not fully answer all your questions.
I’m 52 years old, German but living in Italy. I’ve been drawn to horses all my life, starting riding with 12 in a riding school, but 2 years later I left it, because I witnessed several times, how riding instructers treated horses very rudely and I didn’t want to be a part in these practises. I felt there must be another non-violent way to communicate with horses. The wish to have my own horse was strong, but I had no means to maintain one and noone in my familiy felt the same attraction to horses as I did. So I abbandoned the idea to ever have a horse of my own. After my studies I moved to Italy, marrying my Italian husband and shortly after my 3 kids were born. Some years later I found my way back to horses. And finally had my first horse – Rio, an italian Maremmano. We had a nice time together and a basic course of Pat Parelli (7 games). However, my family life did not leave me enough time to stay with my horse and in the end I sold him to a good person, where he is passing his time with other horses on large meadows. From time to time I took some riding lessons, but I always doubted, that also the horses had fun and so I did not continue. Still, I couldn’t get rid of this magnetic attraction to these wonderful beings. I feel very much connected to nature and animals and whereever I go and walk in my spirit a horse is running by my side.
Now my kids are grown-ups. I have time now to dedicate myself to horses. Together with a friend we saved 3 horses from starving, one of which is my 9-year-old English Thoroughbread mare CLARENCE which is supposed to have been a race-horse. I have her documents, but as no microchip was found I can’t be sure 100 % that she is the real Clarence. She has been with me 1 1/2 year now, we were feeding her in the first place so that she is back in strength and health. I rode her very little and always when I ask her to trot she’s putting her head up and begins to run away. I find she is quite stiff in her fore legs and has difficulty on the circle. So I decided to do a lot of ground work with her and games and everything that distracts her from just functioning. And since I have participated in courses of groundwork in liberty with the method of the “Pegasus-Projekt” of Susanne Schwaiger in Germany all through this year, which seems to be similar to your method and contains also elements of KFH’s method, I begin to find a way of real communication with the horses, and in particular a key to Clarence’s mind – and also a way to my real self! My horse shows me who I am, teaches me everyday. My way to look at the horse has changed a lot and I’m aware now of so many things I had no idea before. Through a friend in these courses I came to know your method and blog. I read “Naked Liberty” and was so fascinated of your life you spent with horses and to read about your experience with wild horses was just overwhelming. And so as for now I’m studying everything you write on your blog with great attention reading it over and over again, watching your videos and those of the other great trainers in the “Path of the HOrse”and trying to practise with Clarence nearly everyday to increase our bond and every day with her is a gift for me.
What can we already do? She always turns towards me when I arrive and comes over to say hello (no begging for treats), we share a lot of territory, I can lead her from behind, freely or with a rope, she stands when I stand, gives all four legs, follows me, we do companion walk in the arena (outside on the pastures everything is more difficult, but when we share territory she’s always grazing near me), sometimes grooming at liberty . It’s not easy to distract her from eating.
Well, I hope I’ve not writen to much, but I think I’ve touched every point you need to know. So I hope, you include us in your program, I’m so much looking forward to.
My very best wishes and always thank you.
Andrea

Maureen Wallace - 7 years ago Reply

Here is the information you require.
I own a horse and a pony.
My horse is 17.1h Hanoverian. I’ve been doing dressage with him when I have the time and have always supported the classical natural training. His name is Loewenhart…a big chestnut with a heart that’s even bigger. When I got him at 2 yrs old, I did all of my own training using the John Lyons and Lynda Tellington Jones methods. They worked well and getting on his back for the first time just before he turned 3 years was no big deal. It was just the next step for him and he took it calmly without any fuss.
He walks with me willingly without a lead line and rarely challenges my decisions.
The pony is a new member of our family. I bought her for my granddaughter who is just starting her equestrian journey. She is a 12h Welsh girl. She is 10 years old, very sweet natured but a bit on the sassy side and often challenges my decisions. For the past couple of weeks, I have been doing the ground work that worked with Loewen and she is really starting to listen. I would also like to work your ground exercises with her and see if working with a pony is different than working with a horse. I doubt it but we’ll see.
Thank you for your help and guidance.

Kerrie Stepnick - 7 years ago Reply

A brief introduction of your experience with horses

I’m 53, and spent the first 16-17 years of my life on a horse every day. Also I trained my own western pleasure, barrel racing and reining horses, winning events. I took a 37 year hiatus, broken this year when we acquired two rescue horses. This has been astonishing, to find out how “natural horsemanship” has totally renewed the horse world. I’ve been working with the coming four year old gelding now(when we bought him they said he was much younger, and was too wild to look at his teeth) since February, and he has come along extremely well – we are best friends.

Your interest in my Method – what attracts you to it

Briefly, the miracles! This little gelding went from wanting no human contact, to now working totally at liberty with me. He walks, trots, stops, backs, circles me, dances, and other things without so much as a rope. When we do ride, he is a happy boy, just full of brio but also extremely alert to me. I credit this with the bond through the waterhole rituals.

Our history if we have one

I was in your previous “in a box” course.

The name of your horse(s) and his (their) personal training background(s)

Capricho is this little guy I mention above. Someone had roped him and put a saddle on him, but evidently abused him. It took me three weeks to hand feed him a carrot. One day I went into his pen with a halter, whispered to him what I hoped he would let me do and just stood quietly in the center. First he ran frantically, avoiding eye contact. Quite suddenly after maybe three minutes he stopped, turned, and faced me. He walked forward tentatively, stepped up to me, and let me halter him (I had just patiently stood there). Since that time, he puts his head into the halter. He whinnies to me when I come out of the house. It seems he accepts me as his leader – I think I could get him to climb a ladder. He is also really jealous and possessive. We bought two other geldings which whom I intend to start waterhole rituals, also have two mares who will be primarily broodmares.

Mary House - 7 years ago Reply

More info for you – I am 62, I started riding when I was 5, then had a break of about 20years when married and had children. After they left home and I had a better financial state I started to4ide agani. I had always known that I couldnt just be a casual rider once back with horses, it had to be all or nothing. for several years I was involved in the ‘normal’ ridingclub/dressage/eventing scene. Then I purchased a crazy connemara pony, she went toh ors heaven at 31 earlier this year after being with me for over 20 years, finally I could ride her bareback and bridleless, a dream since childhood of racing down a beach on a pny -not that we did that, but the freedom of being on her back with no restrictions was great. When she was retired I bought an Andulasian mare, a very sensitive soul, who has taught me much in the ‘being with your horse’. She is also retired and my current mare Sasha is also andulasian but crossed with warmblood. a super sensitive soul, who has come into my life to teach me much. Durinig my learning curve with Sasha I came across your book and love it, I have some of your dvds, and was lucky enough to meet one of your students while on a course in New Zealand, we had both travelled from Australia to partake in a craniosacral course.
Sasha is currently 8 we spend a lot of time together hanging out, allowing the time of day to pass, she is working on line with softness almost with a thought from me. Our riding is still pretty basic, we have started going on trails, I havent been involved in traditional ridng for a long time, prefering a more natural approach.

Katja Behrens - 7 years ago Reply

My addition to my first comment… :

I started riding with 9 years in a conventional school in which I didn’t learn anything great for 4 years.
Most I learned I think from riding bareback ponies in our holidays and I always wanted to have this freedom with horses but never really found the guidance to do that.
With 24 or so I bought myself a horse which was a schoolhorse and so sensitive that she just flipped after a certain time and started to bite and kick. She changed with the new environment I was able to provide and we had good times riding out-she was quite wild and unpredictable at times but I loved her- just couldn’t find a good communication in the school, where she was always kind of stiff and difficult – even though it got much better with riding bitless.- I used the bitless bridle from Meroth. Then she had an accident and after several more years I gave her away to a person who just wanted to breed with her.
Since then I did horse sharing and sometimes I had a few dressage lessons. I always wanted to learn this light riding and pure communication but there was nobody who could teach me – and also I didn’t have the money to really go for it. Actually I never got the idea of classical dressage riding before, that comes all up the last years and I am absolutely fascinated by these training methods.
Your method mirrors the steps I am doing inside myself. This idea of freedom and perfect communication and trust which I was looking for and the readiness to receive that now. Your method is a jewel and is so much needed in our times and I like that you make it easy for people to access these secrets. I admire the willingness to give time and this honest kind of love for the horses. I feel I have learned so much already from you in these few month I know your work and will get stronger in true leadership on the level of mind and heart. I think that what you are able to give and teach is truly priceless!
The horse I am riding is Saracen and he did a lot of showjumping and hunting with his owner. He is also a great dressage horse and very sensible and sensitive.

Angela Green - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn, my last reply didn’t have all the information you require so more details below:

Indi, Polo and I would love to pursue our learning by adding the Uberstreichen exercises to our programme. We were in the In A Box Programme during the spring/summer and had just a great time. We continue daily, some days more progress than others of course but we are having fun. We are sharing territory every day, leading from behind, companion walking and trotting ( a few steps of canter when heading towards the carrots!), go trot and come up.

Horses have been in life for only 5 years and I was fortunate to be introduced to a talented natural horsewoman as soon as I got my first horse. From then I have been fascinated by the horse/human connection and pursue this learning/understanding as part of my personal growth and development. My riding experience is simply that of enjoying the countryside at leisure with Indi and some western riding lessons/clinics.

I don’t have much history on my horses prior to them joining me. Indi is a 12 yr old 15.1 coloured TBxcob, and Polo is a 17 yr old, 12 hand welsh section A. Both have been my companions for 4 years. We are lucky to all live together here at home and get to spend lots of time just being and practicing the Rituals. I haven’t ridden Indi for the time we have spent practicing the Rituals and haven’t missed it so far. Polo isn’t ridden and enjoys his Rituals and simply hanging out in the fields with his friend. We are ready now to learn more on how to get fitter using the liberty work as we are not riding out, maybe we could have personal coaching from you, I’ll contact you regarding this if that’s ok.

I have Naked Liberty and your WR DVD. I listen repeatedly to our telephone sessions from the programme as they help to keep us motivated and moving forwards.

We look forward to this new phase of learning and growing. THANK YOU!!!

Ritambhara Tyson - 7 years ago Reply

Carolyn, I wrote to you last week but maybe didn’t include enough about my experience with horse. I got my first horse, Chinook, at 30, and he is now 27, so that lets you know my age. I had loved horses my whole life, but never had the opportunity to have my own horse until I was an adult. I always found people who had horses as a child and went riding every chance I got. I got Chinook as a weanling and spent 2 wonderful years just being with him, unfortunately I didn’t have your rituals then and he became pretty spoiled as you can imagine. But the bond was solid and over the years I found natural horsemanship thru Ray Hunt and did some clinics with Harry Whitney , who really helped me create better boundaries. Chinook as done everything I’ve asked of him. I taught him to drive and had a two wheeled cart that we drove into town to get coffee occasionally. He was always a perfect gentleman for the little kids who wanted to sit on him,( I remember being one of them when I was little and a horse came by, so I never pass up a chance to share my horse with little children. )
Now I have a 4 year old icelandic, Sonny, and I want to do things right by him. One of the things I never knew to work on with Chinook was to ask him to carry himself correctly, we were just pleasure riders, never in shows. So he is built downhill and never developed the ability to get off his forehand. I absolutely loved the story of your life and your abilities with horses and trust your way with them. I think the Uber excersises are just the thing I need to help Sonny carry himself correctly from the start. He is way more balanced in his conformation to start with than Chinook ever was.
I don’t consider myself a good rider as I haven’t ridden very many different horses as an adult, but I feel quite confident on the ground with them, and Sonny is pretty respectful(I didn’t want to make that mistake again!)

I’ll send pictures if I can figure out how to do it on this site.

Thank you, Ritambhara

mitzi - 7 years ago Reply

Connie,
Thanks for sharing this beautiful story…I look forward to the next excerpt !! I ,too ,believe that all is possible w/ our equine partners by having the bond and relationship that the WHR’s enable us to have.
Carolyn !
I do so want to do the Uberstreichens w/ my Friesian gelding Dikales …we were in your last WRIC group..I so miss our calls !
I responded in your last blog posting ..but here is a little more detail:
I have been in love w/ horses ever since I could remember…I lived,breathed and dreamed of them..even to the point of believing that I was one. I took riding lessons as a young girl and continued until my teen yrs…then I took a hiatus..I sometimes wonder why that happened…but the horse called me back and I found myself found myself face to face w/ the most gentle loving soul, yrs. later when I lived in France…I was at the museum of the Horse in Chantilly,France and it was a most beautiful place which was built as an ode to Equines back in the 16th century…there was a place in the museum where there were large box stalls w/ various breeds of horses and there was this huge, powerful yet gentle soul( I think he was either a Percheron or a Bretonne) that beckoned me over..his name was COCO and I got lost in his gaze ..it was if he was saying “come back,come back to us..you have much to learn and we have much to teach you.”
Well, it was as if he was a savior to me ..I started riding again taking Dressage lessons in an ancient stable on the outskirts of Paris ..being taught by older cavalry officers in their 80’s ,teaching the “old” school way of dressage..not like the “puppetry” & unatural rolkur as we so sadly often see today.
Anyways for my 40th birthday after moving back to America …I was found by Dikales, my Friesian gelding. I did NH w/ him ..but something was still missing ..until I found out about your blog late last year..I read Naked Liberty, bought your DVD’s and was thrilled to be a part of the Insiders Circle…since then things have changed..We spend time together,play together,dance together, have had some bridleless sessions. and just be together..BE as ONE..I can feel it:)
I do feel My boy is very ready for the Uberstreichens..and sometimes I feel when I groom him and hit that “just right” spot..he shows me how it this can be done, he softly bends at the poll and brings his head in towards his chest as if saying…OOOH that feels so good!” I’m sorry if this got long….
Thank you so much again Carolyn for offering this opportunity !!

Karin Kozlowski - 7 years ago Reply

Hello, Carolyn,

The only question that I had not answered was probably the most important one: What about your method interests me?

As I said earlier, about one year into Parelli exercises with Roscoe, everything came to a head. Roscoe had remained dominant, pushy, nippy, and basically disinterested in being “trained.” One day he bit me in the backside really hard, drawing some blood. I call that day my wakeup call; I knew I had to step back and reevaluate. That’s the same time that I discovered you, Naked Liberty and the Waterhole Rituals. You are so right when you say that you don’t train a horse before the magnetic bond is in place. It’s made a world of difference in our relationship. Roscoe now looks forward to being with me, even choosing to leave his herd buddies. We both trust each other so much more!

I’ve done quite a bit of research. There are a lot of people doing good things with horses, but the journey that you propose allows the horse the most freedom and dignity. The look on Roscoe’s face has totally changed. So much has changed for us after a relatively short time and without actually having had the additional benefit of participating in your Insider class. I can only imagine how great our relationship and experiences can be as we learn more. I’m hoping that Roscoe and I become as competent at liberty and under saddle as our talents allow.

Karin

Margaret Gaughan - 7 years ago Reply

Hello Carolyn,
I am new to your method and to your blog or any blog, for that matter! I am waiting for the arrival of your Intro to WHR DVD which I recently ordered. Next, I am looking forward to reading your book, Naked Liberty. Since I have found your website, I read from it almost daily – studying past topics as well as your new posts. I have loved horses as far back as my memory goes. I have blocked many events from my childhood, so my memories are not detailed, but I do have wonderful early memories as far as horses go. I grew up in a rural area in the Northeast and was free to roam – I knew all of the spots in my area where I could sneak into a pasture and just watch the ponies and horses that I longed to have one day. And then, magically, one day, I was doing just that, and a kindly old man told me that if my parents would allow it, I could take this little black pony home – he needed a better home – he was not being treated fairly by this man’s grandchildren. He had a sore on his side – from them, he said. He had the most beautiful eyes, sad, but mischievous. Home I ran, begged my mom – she said yes, but “hide him in the barn so your father doesn’t see him”! How do you hide a pony? But I tried. He followed me willingly wherever I went. It all came so naturally. I knew what he needed and he knew what I needed. Well, of course, my dad found him soon enough – he fell in love with him, too. We had so much fun, Frisky and I, running through the fields bareback, just a halter and lead rope – just what the old man had given me when I gleefully took Frisky home. The riding came naturally as well. Fear never entered our relationship. We trusted each other implicitly. One of our neighbors ran a lesson barn. They invited me to join in the barn activities – lessons, little shows – generous of them, yes. Well, that’s when I began to lose the wonderful ‘feel’ I had. There was so much to learn! The tack, the proper way to do everything. My little pony wanted none of it – he would run as fast as he could and then stop quick so my saddle would slide over his neck – me with it! The solution from the barn? A strap that went from the back of the saddle, around my little guy’s tail. So the next time the saddle didn’t go over his neck, but boy did I, because he let go a buck to beat all bucks when that strap pulled his poor little tail – and I don’t blame him one bit – wise fellow! I returned all the borrowed equipment and went back to bareback – we rode like that until he was gone. I was led to believe that we were doing it all wrong – at least that’s what the ‘experts’ told me. Unfortunately, despite being able to look back now and see we were doing it all right, at the time, I believed the experts – I had no other guidance. After Frisky was gone, I slowly retreated from the world of horses. I couldn’t identify what was happening at the time – I was too young and unconfident. All I knew was that it didn’t feel right. And so I went through a long part of my life without horses, but always still loving them and longing for them – Taking lessons here and there, trying to recapture that ‘feel’ that I had as a youngster, but always walking away from the barn feeling empty, or worse, like an imposter. Around 40, I started learning about natural horsemanship – “this sounds so much better”, I thought. So I have been reading and studying everything I can get my hands on. One year ago, I found my horse, Shadow Dancer. He is a mischievous, slightly unconfident seven year old arab-quarter horse gelding – a wonderful chestnut with red eyelashes! He has the most beautiful face and eyes! His expressions are priceless. We have been doing only natural horsemanship activities – it is what he knows, as that is how his previous human taught him. We both enjoy them, but I still felt I was missing something and letting him down somehow. During one of my constant voracious internet searches to increase my understanding of horses, I came across your website. “This is it”, I thought! So now, I hope to learn as much as I can of your method. I anxiously await my WHR DVD, your book, and the new WHR materials you are working on as well as the Uberstreichen exercises. I am hopeful that your methods are what I have been yearning for….for so many years. I am so thankful to you for sharing your experiences and knowledge. Thank you so much, Margaret and Shadow

Tonnya - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn, Im not sure that I answered correctly last time I applied, so I will do so now:
My full name is Lynne Tonnya Borghill (called Tonnya). 42 years old. Started riding when I was 10 because the doctors told me it would be beneficial for me as I am born with spinabifida. 3 years in riding school and then my parents moved so I could ride every day. I started competing on my Conemara pony, sold him a few years later as dressage became ‘my thing’ (also jumping was not so good anymore due to my disability). So new horse (gorgeous gelding) and I had him for years and competed in dressage. Only getting married stopped this and he was sold (no money to keep a horse as newly weds). Starting to ride again after my first kidney trasplant in 1996 because it made me realize that I wanted horses in my life more than anything. I shifted to classical dressage, because I was frustrated with the power needed to ride dressage. A few years back I found you on the internet and tried to communicate, but I guess that I wasnt ready 😉 Because it was not until I saw your video out as DVD that I could start learning.
When I first saw your method I instantly knew that this was my missing link. I had been looking (and trying out other things) before like PP and MR. Not at all what I was loking for.
I am attracted to the way you communicate with horses, let them say no, and the way you teach us (your students) to become ‘loved leaders’.
This has a deep effect in every aspect of our lives.
I have read your blog since August 2008 and learned something from every post. Also I was a WRIC box member from your first class. My favourite listening.
I have 3 horses: AnibalXII, a PRE that came to me in May 2008, ridden in a double bridle (yes, 3 years old) and being trained by a spanish man who had one goal – selling him. No need to say that I made some changes.
Your methods have done wonders for us and now I think that he is ready for Überstreichen Exercises. When I need it, he is a little bit ‘naughty’ and makes me laugh (until I say – Ok enough – I am OK now). He is now extremely polite and loves to companion walk. He is also my ‘EFL’ (Equine facilitated Learning) horse. He teaches me every day. If he wants to I might expand this to other people. He will decide.
Greifing – my new kid – 5 years old, North Swedish Coldblood Trotter. He came from the racetracks in Sweden, but ridden a few months. He is a challenge and I still just sit with him and have tried other WHR twice. He is very clever and will be superb, but he has to adapt to a totally new lifestyle and I want to give him the time he (we) need(s). He is extreme big and strong and had learned to use it. But in everyday life we are now making great progress.
My third horse is a 105 cm Pony called Futte. He is extremely charming and knows it ! I havent really used WHR with him. He is kind and naughty at the same time. But I needed to work with Anibal first. But I will work with him also. I think that he would be great with kids – letting them learn the rituals with him. I am looking forward to the WRIC DVD and your Meditation also. Anibal and I are looking forward to the exercises, I think that they will develop our bond even more.

Sandra Madrigal - 7 years ago Reply

Carolyn,

Connie’s story is so wonderful, I am so eager to read the next part! Thank you so much for sharing.
I also have a escape artist in my little 3 horse heard, Gracie the horse I want to do the exercises with. The best moment that shows our bond that I can think of was 5 months ago when I first moved to this new property, we didn’t know until we moved in that one part of the pasture had been left unfenced with a strand of electric tape running through, to make it even more useless, the tape was not electrified because someone had taken the electric box… it took Gracie only 1 walk on that side of the fence to see that this was a easy way out, so she went right under even before the horse transportation company had left, Gracie was out and Phoenix followed her under the tape and heading to visit the new horses all around us looking at them in the neighboring properties and making all kinds of sounds because they wanted to meet the new horses. So here I am on the front of our new property with 2 horses coming from the back of the land and heading to the road, the transport people got in to panic mode, “what are you going to do?!”, “you’ll never catch them!”, “maybe we can chase them in with the cars and block their exit with the trailer!”… and so on… I am just standing there thinking: “okay… when I get them back in, how am I going to fix that fence, it’s about 60 ft of fence”. To everyone’s surprise but mine, Gracie and Phoenix where not heading out to see the other horses, they were not escaping, they came straight to where I was and after we greeted each other they just as easily followed me back into the field where I finally decided to put them in the dog yard which is made with chain link fence until I got someone to fix the horse fence the next day. The people who transported my horses could not believe what they just saw, they could not see horses in that light, they did see something that might have changed their minds about horses that day. It was all very normal to me, since practicing Carolyn’s rituals and actually becoming part of their herd, they look to me for leadership, I know they came to me because they felt uneasy in this new place and they did not want to be by themselves, they wanted me to help them explore the new place. Gracie has since escaped 3 more times always staying right by the house, most times I did not even notice she was gone because she was helping herself out and helping herself in (but neighbors told me she was out), I am not sure what adventures she had on her own but I know our bond is there and she doesn’t go far without me even having the ability to. I have made our fence completely horse proof since her last escape about 2 months ago but it was good to know that given the opportunity my horses would choose to be with me instead of following their own instincs to explore and meet new horses.

I think I provided all the mentioned info for the Uberstreichen exercises in the last post section. I just wanted to let you know that I have no background and very limited knowledge in dressage, I was always interested but stayed away from it once I got to know how most trainers get the horses to perform so perfectly and they do things I would never do to any of my beloved horses, but the relationship in perfect harmony part of dressage has always had my interested, I am very curious to see how someone with your knowledge, experience and sensitivity gets horses to perform at the highest levels of dressage. I want to make sure I am okay to be in the class because I am inexperienced in dressage (but a fast learner) and my horses are young, yet to be ridden.

joncy muselwhite - 7 years ago Reply

Dear Carolyn, I have a not so understanding story to tell you that happened just this past weedend just before a 7 mile trail ride with my buddies. About a month ago my friend took his horse to the amish to have him trained to stretch out for him to get on. They charged him 300 dollars to train his horse to do this and it took about a month. I was just kidding around with him, and told him i could have done it in a few days for nothing.He laughed and said sure you could, so I just had to see how hard it would be to get my horse Littleboy to stretch out. Well i tried just 1day for about 15 to 30 minutes and only got him to step out with only 1 leg. Over the weekend just before we started on our trail ride he showed me how his horse would do it. Curiosity got the best of me so i went to my horse and ask him to stretch. Every time i bumped him on the leg he stretched farther and farther out until he was almost as far as he could go, i told him to stay and walked away and sit down. He never moved until i got up and stepped him back. You should have seen thier faces it was unbelievable. I then told them about Carolyn Resnick and her methods and said its all in trust and understanding of you and the horse. Your methods really do work, so thanks and keep up the good work. Joncy

Evergreen - 7 years ago Reply

I’m not sure where to put this, but I wanted to let you know Carolyn that last night I listened to the call of Klaus Hempfling about the Dressage Disgrace situation. All through the call, I kept thinking, if only more people knew about the Waterhole Rituals, these things would not need to happen. There were times when Klaus talked about some of the intuitive things he does with horses and how hard it was to find this kind of training. And yet, here it is, with your method.
I’m interested in hearing your comments on the future call scheduled with you on this issue.
We are definitely in an age of new consciousness, and it is perfect that we have this opportunity to learn and grow. thank you.

Dyann Johnson - 7 years ago Reply

Carolyn,

This is a more concise response to your request for information to register for your Uberstreichen Exercises class:

Name: Dyann Johnson

My experience with horses:
– started riding 2 years ago, using Natural Horsemanship methods both on the ground and in the saddle with my Icelandic Horse. This year I decided not to ride my horse, but to focus on improving my riding skills by taking lessons on other Icelandics, and focusing on improving the bond with my horse with your Waterhole Rituals

My interest in your Method:
– I always want to see things from the animal’s perspective, which is your point of view, as shown in your book and DVD.
– The practice of pressuring and cornering a flight animal (as taught by most Natural Horsemanship methods) doesn’t feel right to me. Working with a horse at liberty and allowing the horse the right to say no makes much more sense to me.

Our history:
– I signed up for your Waterhole Rituals in a box programme this fall, which unfortunately was cancelled

Name of my horse: Raffin – 8 year old Icelandic gelding

His training background:
– was started at about 6 by the person I bought him from – I don’t know what method was used
– I started with Natural Horsemanship ground work and riding for the following year

Evergreen - 7 years ago Reply

Hello Carolyn,

I posted to your original announcement my interest in being in your winter program, however, if you need my full legal name, it is: Susan Amundson.

I believe I answered the rest of your questions. thank you.

Evergreen

deborah johnson - 7 years ago Reply

* A brief introduction of your experience with horses
My first word was mama, my second, horses! Fury, My Friend Flicka, Roy and Trigger, Black Beauty. This is what I knew could be when I was 3 years old. I knew it. When I escaped an ugly situation at home, I went right to my passion, horses! I started riding when I was 18, trained 5 days a week hunter jumper at La Jolla Farms Stable with Chuck. I trained for the next 4 years, but found that the horses I rode resented my riding them. I could tell. I stopped training because I could feel how the horses felt. Angry? Sad. Shut down. I never lost the dream.
I kept trying to ride over the years. There were always horses to ride, if you could ride. I took lessons, and even trained for nationals. Still, I might as well have been riding a motorcycle. Where was the dream?
I rode for people with money, horses, and no time. Privately owned horses were better, but turned robotic in the saddle. Was it just a dream?
In 2002, a woman I knew got a job care taking a small ranch with 10 geldings. I started helping her with them, and trying to find “relationship” with a horse. They weren’t buying. A good friend had a lovely gelding that needed a partner, and I began riding him, exclusively. At that time, I was hit by a snowboarder while coaching the ski team on the mountain, suffered a back injury and everything stopped. I remembered that riding horses for therapy would help back pain, so I rode to help the pain. The pain of losing my life, the pain of the injury, the pain of loss…horses became my medicine. Shortly after that, I found Bit, Parellii, and began to learn how to think like a horse. I passed level one Parelli in a three day clinic, and continued to take Parelli clinics, even to this day.
Two years later, I met Tony, we moved to Kansas to his farm, and Hawk came into my life, as a coming two year old Arabian colt. Bit was reserved, Hawk was a dominate, extroverted, gifted child. I had to up my savvy just to walk in the pasture with him, but he really didn’t become the horse I could trust until I started the water hole rituals with Carolyn. He sent me to the hospital the first week of the class! lol! He’s a changed horse! He seems so relieved that I finally “get it”.
I bought Eclipse, my Mo. Fox Trotter the weekend before Insiders Circle began. Great timing. She was a level 3 Parelli horse, aloof, and dominate. She runs to me, as do they all, when I walk into the pasture, now. The missing piece I was searching for, was found with the whr’s. Finally.

* Your interest in my Method – what attracts you to it
I don’t think what you do is anything new, but how you teach it, is. I understand a lot more about how to think like a horse. Before, I treated horses like dogs, because that’s what I knew. Parelli helped, but was pretty vague. When I walk into the pasture now, I am a horse. The sprit of the horse has always lived within me, now it is who I am. We speak without words, we are connected without touch, we are one, even when we are apart.
This next phase, the exercises, couldn’t come at a better time. It is the one thing I question under saddle. When I was a child, I knew there was a better way. I had those same concerns with the bit. I felt there was a better way, and then your email came…you are always heaven sent.

* Our history if we have one
I participated in the Insiders Circle class last spring and summer. I consider you a friend, and miss you terribly.

* The name of your horse(s) and his (their) personal training
background(s)
Bit is a quarter horse, and retired to riding. She was part of a rental string, but no one could ride her. She hated another horse at her hq’s. She hated people on her back, and although a kind soul, did not trust humans. Part of it was, she was in pain. We still play on the ground, and have a great relationship. She has back and stifle issues due to being started too early by very large men. She is trained through level 2 and some level 3 Parelli. She has had the benefit of the whr’s. and does some liberty. It’s her heart that has changed. Since whr’s, her heart is open, she trusts me, respects me, and likes me. I quit treating her like a dog.
Hawk is a coming four year old Arabian, very dominate and intelligent. I have given him to a young lady that is moving here this spring. He excels at liberty, and is a poster horse for the whr’s. I wish you could meet him. He will be Kelsey’s endurance horse, and they are totally in love with one another.
Eclipse is a 12 year old Mo. Fox Trotter that I bought the weekend before the Insiders Circle Program started. She was a trained, level three Parelli horse before I bought her. She is well through the whr’s, and we are now under saddle, but I see another hole when it comes to the bit. Something aint’ right, Carolyn. Your newest project couldn’t be more perfect, and the timing couldn’t be better.

Linda j Salinas - 7 years ago Reply

Linda j Salinas and I would like very to sign up for the Uberstreichen class. A friend of mine mentioned the seven water hole rituals to me approx. 7 months ago. I purchased your DVD and to my surprise noticed that you were the same person who wrote Naked Liberty that I had read several years ago. I watched the DVD constantly and put it in to practice with my youngest Russian Arab. The rewards were instant and amazing. I had my name to be in on the next inner circle but it was postponed and you have not had another since.
My attraction to your work was right in sync with my own philosophy regarding the relationship with the horse vs. “what the horse can do for me”.

I have 7 horses. My experience with horses have not always been about riding. Two months before Barbaro broke his foot in the Preakness, my mare broke her P2. It was a spiral break, joint to joint. Trusted Vets and an Orthopedic specialist all agreed to euthanize her, but…….she ask me to give her a chance !!!! I did and she is in my pasture today. That was my introduction into animal communication and since then I have become certified through Carol Gurney’s program (grueling) and now I work with a Vet in Charlotte NC.

I am always interested in anything that benefits human and horses and I feel your training methods feel so right for me and my horses.

Please let me know if you need any more information.

Carolyn Resnick - 7 years ago Reply

Dear Inge,
Just write your full name in the comments section its self if you have not already.

inge - 7 years ago Reply

Hi Carolyn,

i did not answered all questions because less of time. So i do it here as you have asked above.

* Your full name (if it is not part of your site login)
inge
* A brief introduction of your experience with horses
i have for many years icelandic horses and i sold my first horse because i did not have the right “click” the next horse(s) have learned me to be different thinking, and since then i rode and still ride bitless.
i own also a shetty. We play a lot and do lots of groundwork between the playtimes.
* Your interest in my Method – what attracts you to it
what me attracts is the freedom of the horse, the horse can choose if he come to you or not. learn to trust eachother at liberty. Although i did this already before i even heard about you and your rituals. Still learned lots of new things. This makes it even better and more fine tuned.
* Our history if we have one
i follow the insider circle club
* The name of your horse(s) and his (their) personal training background(s)
Leiknir
almost near the same as your rituals mixed with differend methods from all kind of people who i have watched and pick the stuff out which i thought it was usefull for me. for example, KFH, Karen Rohlf, Linda TJ, Chris Irwin, Mark Rahsid etc…etc.
He have some medical problems with his back nerves due to a Rhino infection.
Gabbertje
I got him much later then Leiknir and he had already a history been ridden and driven. I have teached him to feel free again and may have a choise
new play games, and wont be ridden any more. Only in front of a carriage and bitless ofcourse. 🙂
no medical problems

What i hope to learn is some more details which i can use in our training.
To get a better and stronger and happy horse.

Michelle Twohig - 7 years ago Reply

Carolyn,
I’m not sure if I answered these questions adequately in my previous entry (which is at the bottom of your first post about offering your UE for free!). I’ll add some things and summarize others here:

* Your full name (if it is not part of your site login)
Michelle Twohig
* A brief introduction of your experience with horses
I’m now 57 and in the 3rd year of ownership of a coming 6 y.o. gelding named Dodger (see previous post for more details than you probably need) in a small town called North Bend in the Cascade Mountain foothills in Washington State.
* Your interest in my Method – what attracts you to it
I’m just so much more interested in a partnership and relationship with my horse than I am in learning how to control him through gadgetry and forceful means to do my bidding. I just want a horse to play with in the arena in the winter and ride on trails in the summer. No competitions, no grand expectations. After having worked through the Waterhole Rituals with Dodger, he stays alive and alert and willing and partners with me when we’re together. He doesn’t check out like so many horses of others that I watch. I have always wanted the heartstrings of connection you talk about and your method makes it possible. I’ve read Naked Liberty, watched your Waterhole Rituals DVD, listened to all the Insider Circle calls, and your interview with Anna Twinney. All fascinating! And I LOVE your stories about so many things as they occur to you during these calls!!!
* Our history if we have one
I wrote you an email full of questions at the beginning of the Insider Circle because I was trying to understand in my head how every exercise would work with my horse, as he was then, before even starting. You were very gracious and helpful in your reply. I was trying to imagine how my horse would react to each exercise not understanding that it was the cumulative effect of the rituals–the journey–that built the new relationship we would have. I was overthinking the whole thing because I was worried, at the time, about his dominance issues. After he’d been in training awhile, though, his dominance issues were greatly reduced, and I was able to start Sharing Territory with him. That began our brand new relationship.
* The name of your horse(s) and his (their) personal training background(s)
Dodger…orphaned foal, rescued at 2 by the help of a trainer who very gently got him to accept a saddle/rider, then nothing for 3 years while he digressed in dominance and in my ignorance, I made it worse; at 5 this past summer, I took him to a second trainer who started the process of patiently helping him through his dominance and emotional issues while also teaching him how to use his body/feet to his advantage. We’re still working on his skills under saddle. He loves to work outside; he’s very easily bored in an indoor arena. I’ve done all the Waterhole Rituals with him with great success while he was in training this summer and since he’s gotten home. He jumps things now at liberty, dances with me and companion walks…leading from behind has been the best thing for him! We’ve been on some great trail rides together. I can do all the requirements you mentioned in your previous post with him.

Thank you Carolyn, for offering these Uberstreichen Exercises to us! I think Dodger’s at the perfect point to learn from them.

Carolyn Resnick - 7 years ago Reply

Dear Connie,
Thank for sharing your story with everyone. It is these moments that reveal the truth of how our horses really feel. You and Ahasta have come a long way together. It is these kind of moments that we relize in our own lifes how far we have come with our horses. Maybe in the comments section people would like to share a story in a moment of thier lifes that a light pointed the way in their own evolution of connection with their horse. It is events like Connie’s that show use that our horses really are trully bonded and trust us and see that their return to the confined areas in the horse’s mind is their real home. This is always imporntant to me because I know that free open land is the true habitat for horses.
I have read your book ‘Beauty form Brokeness’ and I would like to recommend it to my class, like my book it is a person journey and an amazing read.

Lisa Mayer - 7 years ago Reply

Hey Carolyn —

I wrote earlier but don’t think I provided all the required information.

My experience with horses: I had lessons on an old farm horse when I was seven, then didn’t ride again until my twenties, then not again until my thirties when I took some lessons with my kids, then when I was 50 I gave myself a 26 year young Morgan as a birthday present. (From this you can gather that I’ve had a love affair with horses all my life.) He passed on just shy of 30 years, and we now have the two horses I mentioned in my previous reply: Annie, a seven year old Haflinger, and Cherry, a 17 year old Morab. I have owned and cared for horses now for five years, including six others at the barn.

I have been interested in natural horsemanship and horse ownership since I began this adventure five years ago and have explored the teachings and philosophies of those who share my passion. I stumbled across your website in my research and was immediately drawn to what you had to say. The rest is history — took the quiz, read the blog, bought your book and dvd (intro to WHR) and began the journey. What specifically attracts me? I echo everything that has been said by others before me PLUS this is the first time that I have a glimpse of what is and what can be based on the application of the whr with my horses. Your life, and your life with horses, is nothing short of inspirational and revolutionary.

As an aside, it has been interesting reading what others have written — many starting later like myself with horses, many with life-long experiences. What we all seem to have in common is our interest and commitment to our horses, and to the well-being of horses everywhere.

Thanks for all you do.

Ginny Elliott - 7 years ago Reply

Carolyn, your Method has enriched the trust Oreo and I share and enabled us, also, to remain calm in an otherwise unsettling circumstance. We were participating in a clinic at a farm with several pastures and while we were waiting for the rest of the other participants to gather for the next exercise, we were standing near the fence line. In the other pastures we’d gathered in, the fence’s hot wire had been turned off, but we soon learned this particular fence was HOT! Oreo touched the wire with his nose, drew back faster than lightening, took 2 steps to the side but then stopped. Even the instructor was impressed that he did not leave or flip out; she told me that his regaining of composure showed how much trust he had in me.

Erin Rodriguez - 7 years ago Reply

Oh man!!!! To be continued! I want to hear the rest of it! 😀

sandra davies - 7 years ago Reply

I work at a charity for rescued and retired horses and have found using your method so beneficial with them. Some of the horses are young and I am hoping to start backing them so would love to be able to continue with your methods using your uberstreichen excerises. I have been training horses all my life exploring many methods but mainly using my own instinct. I love the way you are able to put into words what you do so clearly and concisely. Thank you for your wonderful and helpful blog as I also teach it is so good to see how others percieve your information.

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