I want people to see themselves as leaders, when this happens a student becomes empowered. I see my role as leading leaders. My first focus is to lead the person to use their ingenuity with the Waterhole Rituals. The Waterhole Ritual takes ingenuity for them to work. Discovering the leader within is as rewarding to the people in the course as it is for me. When people achieve a connection and working bond with their horse, it is as life enhancing for the horse as it is for the human. The student needs to apply the program as it suits them by choosing the ritual that will develop a stronger connection and dance with their horse. They discover how to communicate with their horse through a program that they develop for themselves. My part is to inspire and share a method that is a step by step process, that requires a venue where fences do not play a part in being able to help control the horse. This helps to guide the person to make the right choice in how to respond to their horse. I give a person a philosophy that will also empower their choice to guide them and give them rules to follow that horses appreciate and understand. This paves the way to a magical connection with their horse. At first, it is hard on my students to get lost in the journey. It takes them and me about two weeks to successfully get onto the same page together with a horse in Sharing Territory. I find that this is the most important tool I have as a teacher to start creating a bond with the horse like horses have with each other, and to guide the students to the leader within. I also need this bonding time to get to know the class and to hook up everyone with their horse, so the other rituals do not get perceived as pointless and predator like. I want the bond to be as deep as the bond that horses share with one another. Training a horse does not build loyalty and magic or the dance, however focusing on the connection does.
I have a new student and colt in training. Amanda Myers and Lucero, who I call Morning Star because that is the English translation of his name. I took Morning Star in for training using the Waterhole Rituals to develop a working bond so I could share my experiences with the Insider Circle Coaching Club. I needed a horse to help me guide the class. By working with a new horse, it opens my memory to the finer details in how to guide my students. Morning Star is a yearling colt already weaned, and in his case, this is a good thing both for his mother and for him. Morning Star’s mother was very lenient in how she was raising him. This permissive behavior was causing Morning Star to push his mom about; way too much. He was developing into a bit of a bully with her and he did not even know that he was turning into an uncaring colt with little feeling for others. This caused Morning Star to be very forward thinking. Morning Star was beginning to believe that he could control every thing in life. He was growing way too big with his ego. He had never considered his mothers feelings. He had developed an attitude that life needed to listen to him.
He is a happy, pleasant natured colt but not well enough developed to be in charge of the world, especially when he thinks that his feelings should come first with no consideration for others. This warped sense of how life needed to fit in with him was not showing up as a bad thing because he likes people and had a likable personality. But the truth of it was that just beneath the surface when he needed to be respectful for others, there was no consideration. As a cute, sweet colt he was causing people to caterer to his needs, growing his inability to have any feelings for horses or humans other his own. This was the attitude of Morning Star had when he arrived at my ranch Dances with Horses. He took the move well and settled right in.
There was no way I could sit in a chair Sharing Space with him because his is a very gregarious colt and wanted to be right up there with me controlling the action. He wanted to be in my lap and treat me like he did his mom, which was rough. He had no respect for the reed. I had to take off my jacket and shake it like you would a rug to get the dirt out of it. This worked. But in a minute, he returned and grabbed the jacket in his mouth. He did not try to take it from me but held onto it. I took my two fingers, put them into the side of his mouth, and pried his mouth open. He let go and I then said “good boy” and gave him a leaf. Along the paddocks, we have fruitless mulberry trees and the horses love these leaves. It is a great tool for me and a treat for the horses. Soon Morning Star learned that he would be moved away from me if he did not show some respect for my space and that to get a leaf he could not have the jacket in his mouth, so he started to leave it alone more than hold onto it. When he forgot I would drive him away by shaking the jacket aggressively at him, moving into his space to help him to connect with his herding instinct. I wanted to film all of this for you but when we went out the next day with the camera he had already learned not to bite or crowd, so then we made the video for the Inner Circle Group to show how to start Sharing Space with a horse and colt.
Big Tip: On the subject of Leading from Behind do not go behind the horse to drive him forward if he is standing still but rather approach the horse from the side of his head, belly, or hip. The object is to turn your horse around and get him to walk way from you, this way putting the horse into a submissive position and you into a dominant position behind him. What happens to people who try to approach the horse directly from behind is that the horse will try to face them. Once the horse is walking you can be in any position from just behind the cinch line or at his hip or as much as 12 feet behind him or directly behind at a safe distance. As long as you influence your horse to move forward from a driving request rather than Companion Walking or following you are Leading from Behind.
Another way to start Leading from Behind is to walk after your horse when his is walking on this own and when he stops ask him to go forward in a very gentle but effective way and just follow until he thinks of stopping and urge him on again. You want him to go very slowly at first. You want the horse to enjoy the process.
I'm loving this journey through the Waterhole Rituals with my students because I am learning so much too. Thank you.